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Star Struck: Elton John Live

2008-01-15 13:35
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For instance, it took me some time to recover from the shock of seeing hundreds of people my parents' age wearing luminous red, blue and green devil horns and drinking draft beer.

But I was soon recovering from the new shock: realising just how good a performer, composer and pianist Elton John is. And just how many of his songs I actually like. While they tend to flow into each other musically, they're easily differentiated by their titles, which he repeats with increasing frequency as the longer live version of the track plays out. The 20 minute verson of "Rocket Man" could have done with fewer "Rocket Man"s, frankly.

Still that's a small criticism to raise against a man who brought so much joy to the completely packed Sahara Park Newlands Cricket stadium. I'll never forget the security guards stepping in to control a dancing grandmother who'd crossed the line, or the two girls singing along and doing the lesbian langarm, or the frumpy turquoise bra that got tossed onstage. (Elton thoughtfully passed the underwear on to his aging axe-man. Are there really women out there who still think Elton's straight? The guy wears a flowery jacket, pink sunglasses and writes songs about Marilyn Monroe, girlfriend!)
Whatever your flavour, Elton John is still a real star. He seems to love his band, introducing each member with care and respect. His statesmanlike but personal approach to the stadium full of people got them every time. And every single person was on their feet by the end, finally outnumbering the patient security men and women in luminous yellow bibs.

It was hard to believe that Elton didn't love being on stage. Hell he must... surely he doesn't need the cash? In any case, the difference between a has-been and a living legend has never been more clear to me.

What a great kick off to a world tour. This was a gig so fine, I'm almost willing to forgive him for James Blunt.

- Jean Barker

Elton John isn’t dubbed one of the most important forces in rock and popular music for nothing. He may be 60-something, but he sure knows how to rock a party. He wowed us with unique melodies and his rich tenor voice accompanied by the dazzling piano.

We’ve come to know him for his flamboyant personality and his colourful outfits. So what was he doing dressed down from his usual bizarre glam Liberace fashion, wearing only a red shirt and black suit? Who cares? He still gave the massive Mother city crowd packed into the Sahara Park Newlands Cricket stadium a stunning performance. Although most of his fans are people our parent’s age, we didn’t feel out of place as he shared his musical journey with some of his greatest hits from the past four decades.

The British pop singer performed emotive love-ballads such as the popular "Sacrifice" and "Believe". He also sang other slow jams including "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", infamous Vietnam War ditty "Daniel" and classic pop-rock ballad "Rocket Man" - which he hammered away at for over 20 minutes! Then he pumped up the party by playing more danceable tunes such as "Candlelight", "Circle of Life" and "I'm Still Standing". By this time everyone was up off their seats and dancing the night away.

-Tiisetso Tlelima

Elton John is a strange figure on the music scene - someone whose songs are so famous, who's such a flamboyant part of the celebrity fabric, that he's often easily dismissed as less than he is, musically. And it’s easy to be distracted by appearances.

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