Elton came on stage to rapturous applause, wearing a fantastic white and black tailcoat, one of three resplendent outfits for the show, each with coordinating glasses. Many in the crowd were dressed for the occasion in Elton-style and/or sporting glasses. He was quick to acknowledge this with “You have supported me for 52 years and I love you.” There was much love in the park and broad smiles on faces.
Elton plays the hits, an artist who plays what the crowd want to hear, and for his own obvious enjoyment, with much smiling. A cracking Benny and the Jets began proceedings, instantly showing just how hot the band he tours with is. The current band lineup can be seen here.
The hits flowed, with Elton coming to the front of the stage to acknowledge the applause after most songs. During I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues a security guard danced across the park which set the tone for much more dancing.
Border Song was also recorded by Aretha Frankin, which Elton said “blew us away when she recorded it” saying “her last ever show was a benefit for my Elton John AIDS Foundation. She was ill but was determined to do it. I dedicate this song to the everlasting magic of Aretha Franklin.”
Tiny Dancer brought more crowd dancing. Rocket Man was sung by pretty much the capacity 65,000 crowd and carried a new ending to extend the highlight.the crowd’s excitement. Take Me To The Pilot was the original ‘A’ side to his first hit, more of which later, and was one of many tracks which showed off Elton’s sensational rhythm section of drums and two percussionists to perfect effect.
“From one of my favourite albums, Captain Fantastic, this is one of my favourite songs” he said, before delivering a stunningly beautiful Someone Saved My Life Tonight together with a modern video in the style of the album.
After a mid-set costume change the main man returned with his piano magically moving around the stage, towing a coffin for the instrumental Funeral For A Friend which led into Love Lies Bleeding, two of six tracks from his career-defining 1973 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road double album.
As the sun set across Hyde Park, with the impeccable timing that he and his band showed all evening, Elton dedicated Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me to his dear friend and Live Aid companion George Michael.
This was Elton’s 130th London concert and he knows how to pace a show. On track 17 out of 24 he upped the tempo with a storming run of The Bitch Is Back, I’m Still Standing, Crocodile Rock and closed the main set with Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. During Crocodile Rock Elton demonstrated perfect crowd control, conducting the singalong but not falling into the annoying trap of letting it dominate or drift for too long.
Returning in his third outfit of the night for the first encore track of Cold Heart, currently Number One on the US Billboard Chart, he could have done with Dua Lipa to help the crowd out with her part — everyone knew Elton’s part of course.
Your Song, the original B-Side to the aforementioned Take Me To The Pilot nicely prefaced his iconic closer Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
What a show. What a night. What a man.
Review by Chaz Brooks
Bennie and the Jets
I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
Have Mercy on the Criminal
Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)
Take Me to the Pilot
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Candle in the Wind
Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
Burn Down the Mission
Sad Songs (Say So Much)
Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
The Bitch Is Back
I’m Still Standing
Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Categories: British Summertime (BST Hyde Park), Festivals, Latest, Live Reviews
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