Elton John live review Rocket Man reaches the stars on last ever trip

With an incredible band, a Taron Egerton duet and Aretha-style gospel fervour plus an about-turn on Brexit Eltons farewell tour is wonderfully over the top

As his Rocketman biopic is keen to demonstrate, Elton Johns life has been defined by excess too much drink, too much coke, too much love so its appropriate that his final tour is, in a bit of millennial slang that he would surely approve of, extra: Farewell Yellow Brick Road is three years long, with about 300 dates. Before retiring to spend more time with his young sons, his last ever show will be at Londons O2 Arena on 16 December 2020, finishing a 19-date final leg in the UK and Ireland. This then is a little taster, as he pops into Cardiff, Dublin and, here, Sussexs county cricket ground.


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This is a man for whom a three-minute pop song wont do if it could be four, or six, or an 11-minute suite about the devastation of a breakup, as the proggy Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding is here tonight. He plays for nearly three hours, energy constantly high, finishing almost every song by getting off his piano stool and gesturing Come on! at the audience like a Watford striker who just delivered a 30-yard screamer. There are three outfits, variously featuring glittery cats, a Gucci brooch so large that it could crown a child monarch, and rose-tinted, heart-shaped spectacles. The bad cold that saw him cancel a Verona date a fortnight ago has clearly been banished.

Three hours of high energy Elton at Hove. Photograph: Ben Gibson/Rocket Entertainment

There are notes he can no longer reach, cold or not: that magical magaziiine in Bennie and the Jets, or the chorus of Tiny Dancer, which is taken by percussionist John Mahon with Elton harmonising. The tradeoff is that his deeper register has taken on rich, worn colours that dont come across in the earlier recordings.

Introducing Border Song, he says he was flattered whenever anyone covered his songs in those early days It could have been the Chipmunks or Ken Dodd, I didnt care but this one was taken on by Aretha Franklin, and theres something of her to his delivery at times: a sensuality mixed with gospel fervour, that comes across most strongly in a blistering version of Levon. Beginning respectfully enough, it builds into quarter of an hour of wild piano and guitar soloing, bringing in bursts of Saturday Nights Alright for Fighting and the Beatles Day Tripper. Elton frequently lifts a finger aloft as another hand pounds away, like a preacher giving you the alternative to the flames below. Theres also a little of Jerry Lee Lewis in the emphatic slams of the piano lid that round off the barnstormers in his set.

He calls his band the best hes ever worked with, and they are indeed a powerhouse outfit. John Jorgensen gets a string of kitsch guitars twin-necked, blue glitter, one with the cover of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road painted on it to unite rocknroll energy with beautiful details, such as the electric acoustic solo that closes out Rocket Man. Seventy-year-old drummer Nigel Olsson, who looks as if he could be the cricket clubs treasurer, is spry and metronomic. Almost stealing the show though is percussionist Ray Cooper, who shakes his tambourine as if summoning sexy wood sprites in a fruity Cirque de Soleil show. His contributions on Indian Sunset are pure theatre, bringing its rambling tale of Native American bloodshed they dont write them like that any more, and perhaps for a reason to life with huge martial drums.

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Elton John and Taron Egerton perform duet – video

There are big-screen visuals throughout, and while Rocket Mans look like a broadband advert, most are very good: drag-queen catfights for The Bitch is Back, neo-Soul Train dancing for Philadelphia Freedom. Theres a gallery of inspirations for Border Song: Pussy Riot, Peter Tatchell, Princess Diana. I Guess Thats Why They Call It the Blues is paired with Martin Parr seaside shots, ending on a union jack mug a moment of patriotism that is repeated later, with Elton having unexpectedly modulated his stance on Brexit. In Verona he was castigating stupid, imperialist English idiots who voted us out; he now says we voted to go out, so we must go out, and scotches talk of a second referendum: We need to heal to talk to each other. The notorious bitch of old has softened, with Dont Let the Sun Go Down on Me movingly dedicated to the Dwights: his half brothers and their families.

Perhaps its a result of the stocktaking that happened for his forthcoming memoir, and of course Rocketman. The films star, Taron Egerton, is brought out to duet on Your Song, and the eerie sight of young and old Eltons shows just how far he has come: a man who took American forms rocknroll, blues, gospel and gave them an eccentric English theatre, resulting in something that is still unmatched. He has earned heart, brains and courage in spades, but it still feels too soon for the end of this yellow brick road.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific

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