After having to cancel his performance due to illness back in November at the Amway Center in Orlando, Elton came back to the land of the Mouse for his re-do show on Monday night! When I am writing a review, I try to be as objective as possible. In this case my friends, I have to be honest to say I am a longtime fangirl of Elton, Bernie Taupin and the band who has been with him forever.
My first experience hearing an Elton tune was on my school bus in 1970 when I was 11 years old. We had a cool bus driver who played the local Top 40 radio station and it seemed like “Your Song” was always playing on my way home from school! I loved that song and thus began my love affair with Elton John’s music. The song has since been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and is one of Rolling Stone’s Top 500 songs of all-time!
Can we talk Elton history for a minute? His albums are classics and were owned by everyone I knew as a teenager in the 70’s! Honky Chateau, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Madman Across the Water, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player are just some of the amazing vinyl records that were on turntables around the globe. Elton kept with the 80’s like everyone else by making videos! “I’m Still Standing” and “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” were in heavy rotation on MTV. 1985’s “That’s What Friends Are For”, with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder, raised money for AIDS research. Elton was part of the history we all watched unfold in the 80’s with the AIDS epidemic, Ryan White, Live Aid and John Lennon.
The 90’s brought him sobriety, The Lion King, the sad duty of performing at Princess Diana’s funeral and the honor of being knighted as Sir Elton John by the Queen of England! The 2000’s brought him acclaim for his Broadway work with Aida and Billy Elliot, The Red Piano residency in Las Vegas and his hit “I Want Love” from the album “Songs from the West Coast”. The Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour is bittersweet for us all as it brings the finale of Elton performing live but let’s not sing a sad song just yet. Let’s hear some of his amazing catalog of music in person one more time!
Opening with the story of that quintessential rock band “Bennie & the Jets”, Elton was met with thunderous applause by the audience at the Amway Center. Elton apologized to the audience for having to reschedule the show and talks about doing as many hits as possible in a two-hour show. He delivers with that “Almost Famous” movie scene bus sing-along hit “Tiny Dancer”. “Philadelphia Freedom” and “Rocket Man” soon follow. The crowd is giving a standing ovation after EVERY song! Elton shares about his life and his most personal song with “Someone Saved my Life Tonight”. “Levon” takes on a life of its own with a 12-minute jam showing off this great band, most of them have been with Elton a very long time. The production of “Funeral for a Friend/Loves Lies Bleeding” is impressive with great lighting and sound effects.
Elton then opens up to the audience about getting sober and how his life changed, establishing the Elton John AIDS Foundation and that he continues to lead the fight against the still deadly disease. Elton has his official autobiography coming out in October and I am sure that there will be much more in-depth discussion about his life that will make for a great read. More hits like “Crocodile Rock” follow with the audience trading lines with Elton, enjoying every moment of the songs of their youth and life.
The encore takes us back to where it all started for Elton in the U.S. with “Your Song” which he tells us is OUR SONG! He says “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” as he leaves riding up into the stage to the most important phase of his life, his family. If you are an Elton fan, this is a not to miss chance to see him one more time! For Florida fans, he is playing Tampa in November and has many dates around the world! Thank you for all the music Sir Elton!
Photos by Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post