CANBERRA turned on a perfect night, a big crowd and a lots of lurve for Elton John’s “Rocket Man” 40th anniversary visit to Canberra Stadium last night.
The veteran, English performer sang and played a dazzling, unrelenting parade of hit after hit for more than two tireless hours – some predictable, (“Rocket Man”, Crocodile Rock”, “Candle in the Wind”, “Daniel”, “Benny and the Jets”), some less so.
The show was a polished, well-staged experience enhanced by an immaculate sound system and two giant video side screens for the benefit of patrons in the faraway grandstand, that provided close shots of Elton’s piano work and intimate vision from behind and across the large ensemble on stage.
Supporting Elton were a quartet of soulful female singers, the heartthrob opening duo Cello2Cello and his extraordinarily well-drilled band, still featuring the mercurial lead guitar licks from 40-year-member Davey Johnstone and the tireless drumming of Nigel Olsson (who has been with the Elton John Band since 1969).
But the star was a bright, animated Elton John, resplendent in his sparkling blue “Fantastic” long coat and an unrelenting enthusiasm to entertain. His voice was clear and strong, his piano playing energetic and never more so than in the band-only performance of the instrumentally complex opus “Love Lives Bleeding”, which showcased the musical dexterity of every player.
As a music reviewer and fan, I have had the good fortune of seeing, probably, too many Elton John concerts over the past 40 years and in other cities, and would rate the quality and quantity of last night’s show as (apart from his double act with Billy Joel) one of the best he’s produced.
Photos by Silas Brown.