Saturday, March 12, 2011

Concert Review: Elton John Brings The Hits, And An Old Friend Too

Gone are the theatrics, outlandish clothes, and crazy stage antics. What remains is an artist with over 40 years of touring experience and that’s exactly what Elton John displayed Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

As the synthesizers began his introduction song “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”, Elton John took the stage. Dressed in a black suit with tails and minimal sequence accompanying a purple silk shirt, Elton was ready to get down to business. The crowd hopped to their feet for “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)”. Elton impressed early with extended versions of his “Madman Across The Water” trilogy (Levon, Madman Across The Water, and Tiny Dancer). The hits just kept coming with ”Philadelphia Freedom”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and an epic version of ”Rocket Man” that included a gritty piano solo that Jerry Lee Lewis would be proud of.

Next was the big surprise of the evening. Elton proceeded to introduce his piano mentor as Leon Russell took the stage at his own piano situated across from Elton’s piano. The two music icons ran through songs from their 2010 album entitled “The Union”. The mini setlist included the Leon Russell written “If It Wasn’t For Bad”, the up-tempo “Monkey Suit”, and the heartfelt ballad “When Love Is Dying”. After “A Dream Come True”, Leon Russell left the stage to a standing ovation. Elton was ready once again to bring the crowd to their feet and he did not disappoint. The audience swayed to “Sad Songs (Say So Much)” and sang along to “Candle In The Wind” before Elton brought out the big hits of “Bennie and the Jets” and “The Bitch Is Back”. Elton closed his 2 ½ hour set with "Crocodile Rock” as the audience attempt to hit the high notes singing along.

Elton John returned for the encore, circling the stage, slapping hands and signing autographs. He would sit at his piano for once last song of the evening. As he thanked the sold-out audience, he finished with one of his earliest singles from 1970, “Your Song”. A night full of music is all fans could have asked for and Elton John was more than accommodating.

Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)
Madman Across The Water
Tiny Dancer
Philadelphia Freedom
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
Rocket Man
If It Wasn’t For Bad - with Leon Russell
Hey Ahab - with Leon Russell
The Best Part Of The Day - with Leon Russell
Gone To Shiloh - with Leon Russell
Monkey Suit - with Leon Russell
When Love Is Dying - with Leon Russell
Never Too Old (To Hold Somebody) - with Leon Russell
Dream Come True - with Leon Russell
Sand Songs (Say So Much)
Take Me To The Pilot
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Candle In The Wind
Burn Down The Mission
Bennie And The Jets
The Bitch Is Back
Crocodile Rock
Your Song

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