Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Aberdeen Support Announced, Nigel Talks About Pre Show Nerves

A MORAY singing talent has earned a dream opportunity to perform at Sir Elton John’s forthcoming Aberdeen concert.

Lossie High pupil Stewart McLeod will sing in front of the pop superstar and 450 VIP guests at his AECC gig later this month, after entering a competition to win a support slot.

Just days before his 17th birthday last Sunday, the news that he had been chosen to play for Sir Elton was music to the ears of the young singer

songwriter, who penned his first song at the age of 10.
Stewart’s big break means he will be able to say ‘I’m Still Standing’ to the producers of ‘The Voice’ BBC TV show who rejected him one round before the televised live auditions last year.

“I just couldn’t believe it when I found out, and my friends still don’t believe me,” he said. “I still can’t get my head around it. I’m just amazed, so happy and so grateful. It’s such a big opportunity.

“Not many people can say they’ve got to play for Elton John, one of the biggest pop stars in history and probably the biggest British icon in music. It’s crazy.”

- northern Scot

"It's always nice to come back to England, I get to see my grandkids and my daughter and all the lovely people who come to the show, we have a great time on the tour," said Nigel.

So, are the nerves still there after all of this time?

"Oh absolutely, I shake all day of a concert, people laugh at me because 15 minutes before I go on stage my hands are shaking, and that's since way back. I don't know whether it because I'm frightened of dropping a drumstick or what it is, but its an adrenalin rush," said Nigel.

"It's good to have nerves like that. Once I get on stage it's fine and I look forward to it. Davey and Elton and myself have been together such a long time now. It's still a kick for us looking out in the crowd, seeing the array of people from kids to grannies. We have a great following and it gets better and better all the time, we're very blessed to be still out there and still doing what we do."

Davey agrees: "It's very rewarding. It's something that really only struck me over the last few years. Very few bands get the kind of good fortune like us to still be doing it several decades later."

But as Nigel explains though, there are moments when the shows can become extremely emotional for them, particularly with the passing of former bandmates.

"Every night is different. We get the vibe from the audience that they're having a great time and it gives you a surge, you know, but sometimes it's very emotional to think back and sometimes you get that surge or something happens and you think wow, if Dee was here he'd love that.

"You still want to pick up the phone and say hey Dee, guess what? And then you realise that he's not there anymore. So we've had a lot of sorrow but the joy is getting out there and playing – it's great".

And Davey concurs that they all want to keep the legacy going: "When a band has been as successful as ours, when you get that winning combination, when you realise that its instant kind of magic, there's something about it that makes your skin tingle, it really does. It's quite an amazing feeling – there's a camaraderie that instantly evolves.

"You go out there and you give it hell and I think the audiences appreciate that because they see a different Elton. A lot of people look at him as a man who writes these great ballads and slow songs and beautiful melodies and stuff but they tend to forget about the rock and roll side of things until they see us live and then they realise, 'wow this band really rocks!'

"For example, we played in Honolulu recently, and there were several people there like Mick Fleetwood and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) and Kurt from Metallica and stuff. They want to see us because they say, 'well, you guys inspired us to do what we do.'

"That feels really good, when you get contemporary bands coming to see you work."

So despite having been there, seen it all and got the T shirts, are the band are still a little star-struck themselves? Definitely. Davey reminisces about their time with John Lennon.

"Elton played on one of his records, we'd brought his son Julian over from Britain on the SS France, and we met John at the dockside in New York and handed Julian over to his Dad and the next day we were down at the studios to do a song called Whatever Gets You Through the Night. And Elton made a deal with John, that if this record gets to number one he'd have to come on stage with us.

"John agreed because he thought this record would never get to number one and it did!

"And he had to keep up his side of the bargain, so he travelled with us throughout that year,1974. And then on Thanksgiving Night in Madison Square Gardens he got up on stage, and it was just so, well, everybody was blown away, the band, the audience, the crew – everybody.

"And then after the show, and this was really great – I get a phone call from Elton after the show, and I was with Kiki Dee at that time (we were together for three or four years, she's one of the best people on the planet) and he said John would like to come over and hang out with you is that OK?

"And it was like no, tell him to p*** off! Of course! Are you crazy! So John came over, and I can remember looking through the spy hole on my door and I saw him walking along the corridor, all black in the black flat hat and the black granny shades and I was like 'oh my God, I could quite happily retire now, my life is complete!'

I didn't know at that time in '74 that we would have another 40 years, you know!"

So, while they are clearly all savouring every moment, the band also believe in passing on the baton.

"You get inspiration. We try and help young bands now, because that's what's important, you've got to spread it around', said Davey.

"As long as everybody's having a good time, especially as the world is going crazy, if we can put a smile on people's face then that's our job that's what we have to do", said Nigel. And Elton?

"He's always said this is my last tour, but he can't sit still, he's always rushing off and doing things – it's just him.

"He loves the audience and he loves playing music, and we've just come out of the studio making another album , so I think we're going to be out there a little bit longer!"

- Gloucestershire echo

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