Monday, November 28, 2011

Elton John Live (Still) and 2 Cellos rock the house

Perhaps surprisingly last night was the first time I have seen Elton John Live. I have never been a fan of arenas, so this time when the opportunity arose to see him in the Lyric Theatre in Sydney I went along.

The advantage of the new theatres is that there are no bad seats.We could clearly hear and see everything during the nearly 3 hour show.

Elton is an enormous talent and has been doing shows for a long time. he is now 64 years old so it was understandable that he was a little slow on the one occasion he climbed on and then off the piano. Even the costumes have mellowed over the years with the band dressed simply in black and white and Elton Himself limiting himself to a purple shirt under a black long jacket with some sparkling embroidry.

The thing that has not changed over the years are the music and his talent. What took centre stage last night was the great songs, his love of performing and the audiences love of the songs and the singer.

On stage non-stop for about two and a quarter hours Elton managed to do his immense catalog justice including songs from most of his earlier albums plus a couple of tracks from his more recent collaboration with Leon Russel. His band included Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsen from the early 70's and a pair of Croatian cellists who also played for twenty minutes as the opening act.

Looking back at all the Elton John Albums (I have 39) it took a while to settle on one to recommend. In the end I selected Honky Chateau from 1972. Not just my first Elton John Album this was in fact my first full priced album. Back in the day when albums had two sides this started off with "Honky Cat" on Side one and finished with "Hercules" on side two. other notable tracks include "Rocket Man" and "I think I'm Going To Kill Myself" (with it's tap dance solo)

Listening to the album again this morning the whole album hangs together and the overall quality is even more amazing as these Albums were being produced at almost two a year. This Album was followed by "Don't Shoot Me" and the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" in quick time in what was a golden period for Elton's music. All of them (plus the earlier albums) deserve a listen but be sure to check out "Honky Chateau" one more time.

 If you have ever wondered what the AC/DC anthem "Highway to Hell" would sound like on two electric cellos now you can find out. The Two Croatian gentlemen picture on the cover of this album opened for Elton John with what can only be described as a stunning performance of "Smooth Criminal"

I'm pretty sure they were doing the version by Alien Ant Farm not the Michael Jackson version as their performance conveyed not just energy but real menace. The continued with cover versions of U2  and then a version of  "Smells Like Teen Spirit" before finishing up with "Highway to Hell"

So if you are looking for something a little twisted this may be something to check out.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I have a copy of this album as well. It is a good one.