Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nigel on Working with Elton

Elton John kicks off the Apple Music Festival on Sunday – in the same venue in which he first performed live with his North East drummer an incredible 46 years ago.


Nigel Olsson, who cut his musical teeth in and around Sunderland in the 60s, has been a stalwart of Elton John’s band for decades and memories will come flooding back when he takes to the stage of London’s Roundhouse.

It was back in 1970 that he first performed live with Elton – and the venue was the Roundhouse and as support to The Who.

Today Nigel, who returns to the North East in December with Elton for a show at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcatle, lifts the lid on working with the larger than life singer songwriter.

“We have moodies now and again but it doesn’t affect us as we’ve been through it before,” softy spoken Nigel, now 67, tells me backstage before a gig.

“He’ll get over it, he’ll be fine tomorrow. It’s amazing, really. It’s family. We all have our good days and bad days, OK days. Fantastic, wonderful days.

“As long as we make people smile and we do something to give back what they give to us, our job is done. It’s an amazing life and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Elton John and his band are at the Metro Radio Arena on December 3 as part of their Wonderful Crazy Tour series of shows, following on from the release of the Wonderful Crazy Night album.

They have already performed a series of summer shows, and are the first headline act at the Apple Music Festival 2016, which also sees the likes of the 1975, Bastille, Robbie Williams, Britney Spears and Calivin Harris putting on shows, which you can watch if you are subscribed to Apple Music.

Elton has hinted December’s Newcastle concert could be his last in the city. “You never know. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t think it’s any time soon. That would be a question for him! I’ll ask him,” laughs Nigel.

“It’s been a life of just total blessed moments, and I’m still very blessed to be around and to see it evolved to what it is now,” says Nigel, whose family are of Swedish origin but who settled in Sunderland when he was a teenager.

“We still pack arenas, we pack outdoors and festivals. It’s unreal that we are still on top of the whole thing. To be part of this musical history, basically.

“The key is we feed off the audience. They give it to us and we give it back. It’s a joyful life to have and we’ll keep going for as long as we can do it.”

It was back in 1970 when Elton and Nigel first played the Roundhouse –their first live gig together. “We were supporting The Who,” he recalls.

“I got to play Keith Moon’s drums. That was it for me – I’d made it finally.”

- Chronicle live

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