For those who were fortunate to be at Elton John’s three-night stand in Vancouver this past week, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate my comments.
It’s amazing that Elton can perform a nearly three-hour show — with no intermission and only leaving the stage twice for a few minutes both times — and omit so many hits.
His catalogue is that big. His catalogue is that great.
No “Island Girl,” “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” or “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” — all which hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard chart.
No “Little Jeannie,” “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That” or “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” — all top five hits.
I could easily chose an additional three-hour set of entirely new material ... and the show would still be great.
How many struggling musicians would like to just once have a song as good as “Island Girl?”
Comparatively, if you go see Men Without Hats, it’s a safe bet they’re going to sing “The Safety Dance.”
Elton’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour is heavily weighted from 1970-1976 — the peak of his commercial success — with only four songs on the set post-1980 (“I’m Still Standing,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” “Believe” and “Sad Songs Say So Much”).
Six of the songs were from “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” including my favourite, “All the Girls Love Alice,” the nastiest lyrics of Bernie Taupin’s writing career, but also the most compassionate.
It was 30 years to the month when I last saw an Elton John concert. He was touring, at the time, in support of his “Reg Strikes Back” comeback album.
As a little boy, I always wanted to be able to play the piano as good as Elton — or, at the very least, as good as Billy Joel.
At age 72, Elton still sounds and plays great. And, I entered Rogers Arena an Elton John fan, but left as a Ray Cooper fan. His long-time percussionist not only puts on a show — Ray Cooper is the show.
Even though he’s been a mentor on “American Idol,” won an Oscar for “The Lion King” and featured on the likes of “South Park” and “The Simpsons,” his fan demographic is older. Believe it or not, I was one of the younger fans in attendance.
This is supposedly Elton's farewell tour because he wants to devote more time to his young family. And, I believe him. I don’t think he’s going to pull a Cher and retire multiple times.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he did a permanent residency again in Las Vegas, some one-offs or a shift to full-time recording.
To mark the occasion, Elton put on his most elaborate stage show ever complete with videos, special effects and lighting effects. At many of his dates, he has surprise guests join him on stage, including Taron Egerton, who starred as Elton in the recent biopic “Rocketman.”
Forgive me for going on so long about a Vancouver event ... I’m a fan.
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Something I’m not a huge fan of is country music, but do yourself a favour and watch Ken Burns’ mini-series “Country Music.” It’s fascinating, whether you’re a lukewarm fan like me or a huge fan. You will learn a lot of new things.
James Miller is valley editor for Okanagan Newspaper Group. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.