Elton John Plays A Night Of Music History For Melbourne - Noise11.com
Elton John, Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson - Photo By Ros O'Gorman

Elton John, Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson - Photo By Ros O'Gorman

Elton John Plays A Night Of Music History For Melbourne

by Paul Cashmere on December 7, 2011

in Live,News

An Elton John show is not so much as a walk, more of a jog through music history. With a career spanning more than 40 years there is so many songs to get through.

Elton John, Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson - Photo By Ros O'Gorman

Elton John, Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson - Photo By Ros O'Gorman

The Elton John shows reflects his passage of time through arguably the most creative years of Rock Music ever.

I’d forgotten how good a song like ‘Take Me To The Pilot’ was. The same can be said for the complexity of the title track from ‘Madman Across The Water’. Elton performed an epic extended version.

‘Madman Across The Water’ was one of two of his feature albums last night. On the last tour he showcased the ‘Elton John’ (1970) album and on this tour four songs from Madman including the title track, ‘Levon’, ‘Tiny Dancer’ and ‘Holiday Inn’ were brought to life. Elton said Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics for ‘Holiday Inn’ on their first USA tour. It is about staying in cheap hotels where all the rooms looked the same.

The other featured album was the recent and grossing overlooked ‘The Union’ with Leon Russell. It is one of my favourite albums of the past year but was ignored by most of the media. He performed ‘Hey Ahab’, ‘Gone To Shiloh’ and ‘Monkey Suit’. If you missed this album, please go back and discover it. It will be worth it.

‘Rocket Man’ was given the improve treatment. It is no wonder the song has evolved since we first heard it on ‘Honky Chateau’ album in 1972. It is his third most played song. He has played it live 738 times. The jazzed up version of the Elton classic went for maybe 10 minutes. (For the record, the two most played songs ahead of it are ‘Your Song’ (805 times) and ‘Bennie and the Jets’ (739 times).

Elton’s band featured long-term drummer (since 1969) Nigel Olsson and guitarist and the band’s musical director (since 1971) Davey Johnstone. On backing vocals, it was also wonderful to hear Rose Stone from Sly & The Family Stone.

New to the band were Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser from 2Cellos who opened the set with classical interpretations of pop and rock songs from Michael Jackson, U2, Nirvana and AC/DC. Then Elton and the band comes of stage for their 2 3/4 half hour set. Be warned, be early. The action starts at 7:50pm after support from Eran James.

The setlist from Rod Laver Arena for Tuesday, December 6, 2011 was:

(2Cellos)
Smooth Criminal
With Or Without You
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Highway To Hell

(Elton John)
Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973)
I’m Still Standing (from Too Low For Zero, 1983)
Levon (from Madman Across The Water, 1971)
Madman Across The Water (from Madman Across The Water, 1971)
Holiday Inn (from Madman Across The Water, 1971)
Tiny Dancer (from Madman Across The Water, 1971)
Philadelphia Freedom (single, 1975)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973)
Candle In The Wind (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973)
Rocket Man (from Honky Chateau, 1972)
I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues (from Too Low For Zero, 1983)
Hey Ahab (from The Union with Leon Russell, 2010)
Gone To Shiloh (from The Union with Leon Russell, 2010)
Monkey Suit (from The Union with Leon Russell, 2010)
Sacrifice (from Sleeping With The Past, 1989)
Honky Cat (from Honky Chateau, 1972)
Sad Songs (Say So Much) (from Breaking Hearts, 1984)
Daniel (from Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player, 1973)
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word (from Blue Moves, 1976)
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me (from Caribou, 1974)
Take Me To The Pilot Your Song (from Elton John, 1970)
Bennie and the Jets (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973)
The Bitch Is Back (from Caribou, 1974)
Crocodile Rock (from Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player, 1973)

Your Song (from Elton John, 1970)

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