Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sir Elton John - Rock 'n' Roll Royalty

Last Night (Photo Credit Bethel Woods)
Once Michelle's party was cancelled for last night, something told me that I should execute a scramble for pavilion seats to see Sir Elton rock Bethel Woods. It was no easy task to score a fantastic location, right smack in a front section. Ah, but you know what is said about a will and a way. Sold out to 18,000 fans, most on a crowded lawn, it was so worth the effort to have had the privilege of enjoying an amazing show.

No need to tell you about a song catalogue as deep as the sea, right? In three hours, with no intermission, The Man touched on a great representation of his music and repeatedly brought the house down. He lengthened "Rocket Man" to perform unsurpassable instrumentals on piano. His voice is richer than ever. Leaving the silly aspect of flamboyance behind, he wore a gorgeous outfit befitting his style. He engaged the audience with the sheer joy he's currently feeling. Thank G-d he overcame the drug addiction that put him in a stupor, the last time we saw him live. He's beaming... and the crowd felt it.

After 2 1/2 hours of non-stop music, he left the stage for a few minutes, only to return with pen in hand. Then, he walked to the opposite side of the platform and began signing for those in the very front.  He strolled and signed the distance back to his piano, where he did an encore of several more well known songs. We've never, as in not ever, seen anything quite like that.

Always, I've loved guitarist Davey Johnstone, who plays an amazing array of instruments. Dynamite. Drummer Nigel Olsson is still too cute for words, a bigger ham than Sir Elton, himself. In addition, we were treated to The Two Cellos, who are young, enthusiastic Croatian musicians. They soloed with a couple of songs, including MJ's "Smooth Criminal", before joining the band... a perfect fit on many numbers.

All in all, we've been musically satisfied, to say the very least. Elton has adopted a flattering sense of humility and could not have been more gracious. At the end of the entertainment marathon, he looked so happy and lively, as though he could have done a repeat. I'm unable to choose just one highlight, except to say that Joe and I agree it was one of our top five favorite shows, ever. Now, his tour takes him to Saratoga, then Ohio and Canada, after which he'll do a couple of weeks in Vegas, before heading out to fulfill this (link) killer schedule. Maybe he'll hit the Garden next year? I'll be on top of that possibility. 

As we returned to our car, we bumped into a local acquaintance. His comment was spot on:

"What is Bethel Woods going to do next year that could possibly top this?"

And to note: While I cannot speak to activity on the lawn, those who sprang for pavilion seats were there for the show. There were no problems. Everyone was glued... mesmerized. For locals reading, it took us an hour to get home. Not bad at all, and exciting because we had so much to talk about. We were even speaking car-to-car, with other over-the-top fans. "Yay!" to the gift of song.

Addendum..Tuesday 9/6
I've just learned that Sir Elton had his crew choose several fans from the distant lawn to fill reserved front-row seats. This placed the lucky ones in the realm of autographs, as well. Is it any wonder people are still buzzing? As for me, I've always loved his music... now, I find myself exceptionally fond of its creator. What a generous showman, in more ways than one.
What a night!