Saturday, April 8, 2017

Nigel on Playing Ewood Park

EXCITEMENT has been building about Elton John bringing his band to Blackburn Rovers Ewood Park ground this summer from the moment news broke about the open air concert.

But sitting with Nigel Olsson, a man who has shared over 2,000 live shows with Elton and who has been his drummer since 1970, you feel that the band are equally excited about this history making concert.

“We are honoured to be able to do what we do,” he said. “Eventually we are going to have to calm down a bit but to play places we’ve never played before in front of people who may never have seen us before is an absolute joy.”

In recent years Elton John has made a point of playing unusual venues such as football stadia in towns and cities which are not always on the frontline when it comes to major tours

“We like to do firsts, plus I think the boss wants to play every city on earth,” he laughed. “But we’re having a blast doing what we do and the audience knows that and give it back. It’s brilliant to be out there.”

Having worked with Sir Elton for so long, Nigel is in a unique position to comment on one of the great entertainers.

“He is a very driven person, he knows exactly what he wants,” said Nigel. “He’s also one of the kindest people I have ever known and it shows in the music.

“I also think that he has the kids it’s a whole different deal He has become a lot more calm and he ‘s really enjoying what he’s doing. As we all do.”

Enjoyment and blessed are words which crop up frequently in our conversation. Having been at the top for so long it would be easy to understand if a little complacency had crept into the band’s approach. But nothing could be further than the truth.

“Honestly I feel like I’m a young kid still even though I’m about 100 years old now,” said Nigel. “To get the energy from the audiences is a very important part of how we play. It’s that feedback and them letting us know ‘this is what we came to see’’ which we feed off and we give them that energy back.

“We’re old guys now and but we’ll still do more than two hours every night.

“It’s my passion, it’s always been my passion, If in this horrific world we live in nowadays, if we can make one person smile or be happy for just a moment in the time we have, that’s job done.”

Fans going to Ewood Park in June can expect a show packed with hits spanning Sir Elton’s career.

“If we played all the songs people know we’d be up there for days,” said Nigel. “But we have to pick out the ones we hope that people enjoy.”

Nigel and guitarist Davey Johnstone have notched up over 5,000 shows with Sir Elton so his answer about rehearsing is perhaps understandable.

“I don’t practice at all these days,” he said. “We hardly ever rehearse. When we start a tour we may do a 15 minute soundcheck but we are all on the same wavelength, we all know exactly what we’re doing.

“Ultimately we want to do as much as we can musically to put on a great show and allow people to leave with a smile on their faces and to everyone who is coming to see us in Blackburn I can’t say enough how blessed we are to have you guys out there.”

- Lancanshire Telegraph

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