Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Elton John Eden Project

Word is that it's been over 30 years since Elton last crossed the Tamar into Cornwall. I guess there just hasn't been anywhere big enough for this stadium filling maestro to fill. But the lure of the enchanting surroundings of the Eden Project has finally tempted him. The comparatively tiny 6000 capacity of Eden must be like playing a pub gig to Sir Elton!

Despite the fact many of us were disappointed not to see Elton run out in massive flares, platforms, a giant wig and an oversized pair of specs, when he comes out onto the stage with a bow and waves to the excited crowd, the applause is rapturous.

Not many artists would kick off a set with a long sprawling instrumental album track, but the first part of Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding breaks us in slowly, and is a fitting start, bearing in mind this tour is on the back of the 40th anniversary of the release of the classic double album - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding being the epic 11 minute opener of that classic album. Tonight's set leans heavily on that album, and in fact the majority of the set is from the 70's, that most prolific decade for this prolific artist. So many great songs to choose from, he does not disappoint.

After the epic but perhaps less familiar opener, Elton looks out sideways from his piano and grins at the crowd (as if to get ready for this!) and as he he slowly plonks the first few chords of Bennie And The Jets, we all know this is going to be an unforgettable night. Elton's voice sounds great (ok, he gets a little help on some of the high notes from the rest of his band) and of course the piano playing is faultless.

Elton continues the onslaught of Yellow Brick Road classics with Candle In The Wind and All The Girls Love Alice. Tiny Dancer and Daniel are definite highlights of the early part of the set, everyone has their own personal favourites, but as Elton and his (very impressive) band trot out classic after classic, it becomes more and more apparent that pretty much every song played is a favourite with this crowd tonight!

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is accompanied by an encapsulating 3D psychedelic video, and in fact , the whole set is embellished by some great backdrops and videos, just in case the flashing coloured biomes weren't enough of a distraction.

These aren't just a bunch of songs. Each one pulls us into it's own little world, spins us around a bit and joyfully spits us out into the next one. None less so than Rocket Man, whos poignant brilliance resonates around the arena, as just the sound of Elton and his piano fills the air during the first couple of verses before he launches into the chorus.

Elton mixes it up a bit tonight, the sublime simplicity of Your Song sits comfortably next to the multiple key changes of long standing live favourite Burn Down The Mission. We then get a few ballads in a row, including the wonderfully melancholic Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, followed by the ever powerful Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me. Sadly we don't get a cameo from George Michael midway through ;-)

Elton then picks up the pace a bit with The Bitch Is Back and I'm Still Standing. And the night is finished off by dipping into Yellow Brick Road once more for a couple of Elton's more straight out rock n' roll belters, Your Sister Can't Twist But She Can Rock 'n Roll and obvious crowd pleasing set finisher, Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting.

Elton and his band have truly entertained us for well over two hours here tonight and walk off to thunderous applause, they return for a singalong of Crocodile Rock before disappearing for good.

A fantastic performance from a true living legend.