Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Elton's Talent Shines Through

Elton John performed in concert in Hong Kong last night
Elton John wowed the crowd last night at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai for over two and half hours.

It started late, just before 8.30pm when the lights dimmed and he appeared on the two screens on either side of the stage and introduced the opening act, two young cellists from Croatia.

And then got the audience going with their renditions of pop tunes like U2's With or Without You. They were using their bows so much that a lot of the horsehair on them was falling off and I wondered if they would be able to continue playing.

Then they were joined by a drummer and finally the rest of the band and John came out in a sparkly number of course, a blue shirt and dark blue jacket that said "Madman" on the back and glittering sleeves, and donning blue-shade glasses.

the 65-year-old said he was excited to be in Hong Kong and hoped to entertain us with his songs which he did one after the other; once in a while he'd get up and grab a glass to drink something, but other than that he was at the piano, playing the keys (as you could see from the video screens) and singing.

John was a consummate performer, playing his heart out in each song and enjoying the limelight. After each song would point to different sections of the audience, or get up and receive flowers from the front.

40 years of Rocket Man and still going strong
Some of the songs included Saturday Night, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Rocket Man (I Think It's Goi ng To Be A Long, Long Time), Candle in the Wind, I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, Nikita, Hey Ahab and many more.

Not once did he look like he broke into a sweat nor did he change his costume; it puts Cantopop singers to shame, who use the time to change outfits to rest. While audiences of Cantopop concerts love the outlandish costumes, it's not about what they're wearing -- it's about the music and being there together with your favourite artist.

The audience members ranged from a baby to white-haired seniors. Yes a baby was there with his parents which was bizarre. Either they could not find a baby sitter or they wanted him to get an early education on Elton John. Many people tried to take pictures with their phones but for the most part came out blurry since it was so dark in there. Recordings were also attempted, but the many ushers stopped them mid-way.

After John introduced his band members, including drummer Nigel Olsson and guitarist Davey Johnstone, both of who have been with John for over 40 years, they played a few more songs and then left the stage.

The audience got shots of the keyboard watching John play
The room was still dark so we knew he'd come back and he reappeared alone, giving high-fives to people in the front, and even signing a few autographs. He then returned to the piano again and belted out Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me, I'm Still Standing, Crocodile Rock, and Circle of Life.

I'm Still Standing is so appropriate for John, who has battled so many issues, including sexuality, drug addiction, and in his mid-60s, still very active in all kinds of charity projects as well as money-making ones.

Interestingly he didn't say anything personal about his family, like partner David Furnish or their son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John. But really, they don't have anything to do with his prolific musical career.

John's connection with Vancouver is the late great Long John Baldry, who invited the then young John who was Reginald Kenneth Dwight to be his keyboardist in the blues singer's band Bluesology in 1966.

It was around that time that Dwight changed his name to Elton from Elton Dean, an English saxophonist, and John, from Long John Baldry. The latter, who was openly gay in the 1960s, also apparently helped Elton John come to terms with his own sexuality.

Baldry was originally from the UK and then moved to Vancouver 1978 and became a Canadian citizen. He died in 2005. The other great artist he inspired was Rod Stewart.

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