Elton John - Live

2010-03-23 08:12
Elton John Live in Joburg
Gallery: pictures of the piano-man at play in SA

John has drastically toned down the familiar flamboyance of yesteryear, arriving on stage simply wearing black pants, a black silk shirt and a coattail jacket complete with the words "Stardust Kiss" and "Elton John" in bright pink down the front. His trademark glasses were pink-tinted and included his initials encrusted with rhinestones on the bottom right of the right lens. The tour is somewhat different to what we have previously seen from John in South Africa. Elton John (whose birth name is actually Reginald Kenneth Dwight, in case you didn't know) presents a stripped down performance of songs that he "doesn’t normally get to play with the full band".

For the first half of the show he performed solo with the slight accompaniment of strings, care of a backing track. For the second half, long time collaborator, Ray Cooper, made a thunderous entry during "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" on the timpani drums. Cooper facilitated the percussion for the rest of the show including congas, bongos, tambourine, gong, xylophone, cymbals and even a duck whistle, amongst other things. Those expecting to hear a set's worth of familiar hits might have been disappointed as Elton, for the most part, steered clear of any "fan favourites". Instead, he performed two and a half hours' worth of his own personal favourites and songs filled with stories from the archives.

The set was peppered with hits such as "Rocket Man", "Daniel", "Crocodile Rock", "Tiny Dancer", "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word", "Your Song", "I Guess That's Why The Call It The Blues", "Honky Cat" and "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me". And for the encore he played the theme from the Lion King, "The Circle Of Life", rather akwardly letting the audience know that he couldn't come to South Africa and not perform it. Other than that the performance was near flawless. His piano playing seamlessly flits between classical, honky tonk, blues and rock ‘n roll, sometimes even all in one self-gratifying solo. His vocals are pristine and he delivers like a true seasoned professional.

Elton John and Ray Cooper head to Cape Town for two performances at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on March 24th and 25th and the tour rounds up in Port Elizabeth on March 26th at the NMMU Sports Fields.

On a cool autumn eve on Human Rights Day in Johannesburg, Elton John kicked off his "Under African Skies" tour. He casually sauntered on stage, looked 12 000 people in the eye and silently raised his arms proclaiming his arrival.
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