'Rocket Man's' last stop in Canadian tour, but not the least

Justin Brake
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Music Review

In a way, Newfoundland scored a hat-trick last week when pop-rock icon Elton John dropped by Mile One Centre for back-to-back performances Thursday and Friday, rounding out a trio of St. John's stopovers by some of the world's most influential musicians this year - following Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen's May performances.

Despite John's diverse fanbase, evident by the 20-to-60-something year-olds in attendance Friday night, suits and ties dominated the sold-out arena - a possible result of the $150 ticket (and some at $100) price.

Sir Elton John waves to fans at Mile One Centre. - Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram

In a way, Newfoundland scored a hat-trick last week when pop-rock icon Elton John dropped by Mile One Centre for back-to-back performances Thursday and Friday, rounding out a trio of St. John's stopovers by some of the world's most influential musicians this year - following Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen's May performances.

Despite John's diverse fanbase, evident by the 20-to-60-something year-olds in attendance Friday night, suits and ties dominated the sold-out arena - a possible result of the $150 ticket (and some at $100) price.

At 8 p.m. sharp the lights went down while thematic orchestral music, accompanied by a standing ovation, glorified "Sir" Elton John's royal entrance.

Sporting a pair of sunglasses with his initials in diamonds on the right lens and a long black sports jacket embroidered with a rainbow-coloured ribbon, a pair of glittery stars on his collar, and a vibrant design on the back reading "Music Power," John sat down at his piano (a Yammy, it's worth noting) and fed the frenzy as he launched into "Your Song."

A sea of flashes emanated from the "no camera, no video" audience and it soon became evident that the event, part of the "Rocket Man Number Ones" tour, would not only consist of the best-known, but also the lesser-known material from the '70s.

For nearly three hours the multiple Grammy Award-winner breezed through more than 25 songs, waving and bowing to the audience between performances.

"It's great to be back," he said, acknowledging it had only been a mere 24 hours since he last stood on the stage. "It's the last night of our (Canadian) tour," he added.

Following "Your Song," John continued with "Sixty Years On" and "The Greatest Discovery," also from his 1970 self-titled sophomoric record.

"Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes," a song about how the American government has "done nothing for people with HIV/AIDS," possessed an ethereal emotive power.

And even without his falsetto range, lost after vocal chord surgery in 1987, John compensated for the high note absence with his electrifying piano performances, such as the extended version of "Rocket Man."

"Tiny Dancer," introduced as a song from the movie "Almost Famous," was a crowd-favourite and was followed by a chain of hits including "Philadelphia Freedom," "Daniel," "Candle In The Wind," and "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues."

In the midst of all that, he introduced "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" as an autobiographical song from an autobiographical album, 1975's "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" and recalled his childhood visit to a local movie theatre where he saw a "handsome cowboy" in a movie, introducing the song "Roy Rogers" from his highest-selling 1973 record "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road".

It wasn't until the final half-hour or so the the crowd finally stayed on its feet.

"Crocodile Rock" sent fans on the floor to the front of the stage where they danced and sang along as John wrapped up his set.

When he returned he signed autographs for about 10 minutes as the restless Mile One crowd stomped its feet while chanting his name.

The night ended nearly three hours later with a simulated orange and yellow flood light sunset during "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" and for the first time in my life I walked out of a show with a piano-induced ringing in my ears.

Ask those who attended, and they just might say it was worth it.

Organizations: Candle In The Wind

Geographic location: Newfoundland, St. John's, Yellow Brick Road

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Recent comments

  • Tanya
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Elton John stayed at the Fairmont in St. John's. One of my family members works there and they said he was a true gentlemen and was very kind & generous to all of the staff.

  • B
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I didn't go and see Elton as I'm not a fan of his, but having said that, I'm very pleased to hear that people who did purchase the tickets thoroughly enjoyed the show. Its true to say you get what you paid for and people who paid top dollar for tickets got their money's worth out of that show. A legend like Elton came to NL and put of an amazing show at the Mile One...hats off to the crew down there, now hopefully we can attract some more big names here. Again, I'm glad to hear that anyone/eveyone who attended had a great time.

    Cheers
    BM

  • Lucy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    We drove in from Corner Brook to see the show. It was awesome. I got goosebumps when he performed Rocket Man. The tickets were well worth the price even with the cost of driving in. It was great for the folks who had the cheaper seats. They turned out to be the best in the house!

    To Cal I believe Sir Elton John stayed at the Fairmont and his crew stayed at the Delta.

  • J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    He stayed at the Fairmont according to Here & Now.

  • N
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I went to see Elton on Friday night, and by far it was the best performance I have ever seen in my entire life !!! It was just Elton and his piano, and you can't get any better than that. He exceeded my expectations :)

    nicole

  • d
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    On the upside you get Elton John. On the downside papermills shut down. The economics of currency value fluctuations can be good and bad. If the Loonie was was valued at what it was worth this time a year and a half ago very slim chance Elton makes a stop in St Johns.

  • Lillian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Got a ticket at last minute. Well worth it, loved the show. It was excellent. Hope he comes back soon.

  • Wells
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    An outstanding performance!!! I saw Thursday night's show and I left Mile 1 feeling that I had watched on of the best concerts ever hosted there.
    As for the cost, I considered it fair for a top notch performer. Go see him in Vegas, his shows there cost $300. Hopefully the fact that both of his shows were sold out will attract more high quality performers.
    Thank you Sir Elton John, at 61 years of age I have to say, you still got it!

  • Fan of the Rocket Man
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I too attended the Friday's nights performance and it also brought tears to my eyes as I have been a fan for many many years! He is the best that Newfoundland has had here and he sounded amazing!! Also, I don't care where he slept as long as he showed up for the show! I would love to get the other Piano Man here - Billy Joel. He definitely didn't disappoint. I know he is known as a diva but he was very gracious at his show and I would go again in a heartbeat!! Seeing him was a dream come true!

  • Cal
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Can someone tell me if it's true that he flew back to Halifax Friday night & flew back to St. John's Saturday because he wanted to stay in a 5 star hotel ?? If that's true I think he should return everybody's admission...don't you think the Delta would be good enough for a nap???

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Okay Mile One, you have proved time and again that you are up to the task of putting off world class shows, and we the fans have proved time and time again that we are willing to pay the price for it. So what are you going to do about it?

  • Cathy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    as far as I know Sir Elton stayed at the fairmont..Personally i dont carewhere he slept, his concert was spectacular...

  • gary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    By far the best concert I have been to, and I have been to a few. LOL. Just blew me away the sound and visual display one person can put off with only a pinao. Elton is by far the best we have experanced here in St. John's. I too left Mile One with piano-induced ringing in my ears. But I will always say that this is a small price to pay for such a excellent concert.
    Keep them comming Mile One, we need to see some more of the top people here in St. John's.

  • Loved the show
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    I attended Friday nights show and I have to say it was absolutely amazing. When he walked onto that stage and sang his first song the tears were streaming down my face, it was an honor just to be in his presence. I have been waiting 15 years to see Elton perform and its definately one night I will never forget.

  • s
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    the concert was awesome.....not impressed with the security guy that rumaged through my purse, and although no cameras were allowed it was double standard to see the security guy standing in front of us taking pictures with his camera!! Sir Elton John is a great performer.....three hours with no itermission......amazing

  • Wells
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    As for him staying in St. John's, to me it's no big deal. He tends to pick a base and travel from there. He stayed in Halifax for over a week while performing in Saint John and Moncton. Even while he performed out west he again picked a base and travelled to each city returning each night to his base. Can't say I blame the guy for doing so. Why should it matter. I'm sure all the crew stayed here. At 61 years old, I'm sure he is old enough to decide what is best for him!!

  • tom
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Its great to see Elton come to NFLD. I hope there will be more big names to follow. I wish St. John's would open up Bowering park to another huge concert like the Brooks and Dunne concert years ago. They ruined the Quidi Vidi site with two expensive softball fields that are hardly ever used when they could be bringing in millions to our economy by holding huge outdoor concerts with 30-40 thousand people attending. Wake up city council ,there is huge potential for profits,employment and tourism in outdoor concerts. Its not all just about cruise ships. Also add a casino to our city and that will draw the tourists as well.

  • Fan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    This my third time seeing Elton, once with the whole band in a crowd of 17 000, once at his Vegas show, and this unique piano show. Elton never disappointed either time, just spectacular each time. I feel lucky to have gotten my tix the day of sale online and not having to resort to scalpers, which are scum imo.
    Now Mile One, AC/DC have a tour on the go, let's see if you can get them here! :)

  • Ken
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Elton John gave a great performance and the audiences responded. Hopefully, other acts of his calibre -- like Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Bob Seger -- will take a look at coming to Newfoundland.

  • Jennifer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    I was so honored to be able to see this concert. Elton John is one of the greatest piano players I've ever seen. His voice is lovely and his songs definitely move you. I could have listened to him all night. Hopefully he will come back for a bigger and better time here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • Tanya
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Elton John stayed at the Fairmont in St. John's. One of my family members works there and they said he was a true gentlemen and was very kind & generous to all of the staff.

  • B
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    I didn't go and see Elton as I'm not a fan of his, but having said that, I'm very pleased to hear that people who did purchase the tickets thoroughly enjoyed the show. Its true to say you get what you paid for and people who paid top dollar for tickets got their money's worth out of that show. A legend like Elton came to NL and put of an amazing show at the Mile One...hats off to the crew down there, now hopefully we can attract some more big names here. Again, I'm glad to hear that anyone/eveyone who attended had a great time.

    Cheers
    BM

  • Lucy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    We drove in from Corner Brook to see the show. It was awesome. I got goosebumps when he performed Rocket Man. The tickets were well worth the price even with the cost of driving in. It was great for the folks who had the cheaper seats. They turned out to be the best in the house!

    To Cal I believe Sir Elton John stayed at the Fairmont and his crew stayed at the Delta.

  • J
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    He stayed at the Fairmont according to Here & Now.

  • N
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    I went to see Elton on Friday night, and by far it was the best performance I have ever seen in my entire life !!! It was just Elton and his piano, and you can't get any better than that. He exceeded my expectations :)

    nicole

  • d
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    On the upside you get Elton John. On the downside papermills shut down. The economics of currency value fluctuations can be good and bad. If the Loonie was was valued at what it was worth this time a year and a half ago very slim chance Elton makes a stop in St Johns.

  • Lillian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Got a ticket at last minute. Well worth it, loved the show. It was excellent. Hope he comes back soon.

  • Wells
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    An outstanding performance!!! I saw Thursday night's show and I left Mile 1 feeling that I had watched on of the best concerts ever hosted there.
    As for the cost, I considered it fair for a top notch performer. Go see him in Vegas, his shows there cost $300. Hopefully the fact that both of his shows were sold out will attract more high quality performers.
    Thank you Sir Elton John, at 61 years of age I have to say, you still got it!

  • Fan of the Rocket Man
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    I too attended the Friday's nights performance and it also brought tears to my eyes as I have been a fan for many many years! He is the best that Newfoundland has had here and he sounded amazing!! Also, I don't care where he slept as long as he showed up for the show! I would love to get the other Piano Man here - Billy Joel. He definitely didn't disappoint. I know he is known as a diva but he was very gracious at his show and I would go again in a heartbeat!! Seeing him was a dream come true!

  • Cal
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Can someone tell me if it's true that he flew back to Halifax Friday night & flew back to St. John's Saturday because he wanted to stay in a 5 star hotel ?? If that's true I think he should return everybody's admission...don't you think the Delta would be good enough for a nap???

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Okay Mile One, you have proved time and again that you are up to the task of putting off world class shows, and we the fans have proved time and time again that we are willing to pay the price for it. So what are you going to do about it?

  • Cathy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    as far as I know Sir Elton stayed at the fairmont..Personally i dont carewhere he slept, his concert was spectacular...

  • gary
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    By far the best concert I have been to, and I have been to a few. LOL. Just blew me away the sound and visual display one person can put off with only a pinao. Elton is by far the best we have experanced here in St. John's. I too left Mile One with piano-induced ringing in my ears. But I will always say that this is a small price to pay for such a excellent concert.
    Keep them comming Mile One, we need to see some more of the top people here in St. John's.

  • Loved the show
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    I attended Friday nights show and I have to say it was absolutely amazing. When he walked onto that stage and sang his first song the tears were streaming down my face, it was an honor just to be in his presence. I have been waiting 15 years to see Elton perform and its definately one night I will never forget.

  • s
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    the concert was awesome.....not impressed with the security guy that rumaged through my purse, and although no cameras were allowed it was double standard to see the security guy standing in front of us taking pictures with his camera!! Sir Elton John is a great performer.....three hours with no itermission......amazing

  • Wells
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    As for him staying in St. John's, to me it's no big deal. He tends to pick a base and travel from there. He stayed in Halifax for over a week while performing in Saint John and Moncton. Even while he performed out west he again picked a base and travelled to each city returning each night to his base. Can't say I blame the guy for doing so. Why should it matter. I'm sure all the crew stayed here. At 61 years old, I'm sure he is old enough to decide what is best for him!!

  • tom
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Its great to see Elton come to NFLD. I hope there will be more big names to follow. I wish St. John's would open up Bowering park to another huge concert like the Brooks and Dunne concert years ago. They ruined the Quidi Vidi site with two expensive softball fields that are hardly ever used when they could be bringing in millions to our economy by holding huge outdoor concerts with 30-40 thousand people attending. Wake up city council ,there is huge potential for profits,employment and tourism in outdoor concerts. Its not all just about cruise ships. Also add a casino to our city and that will draw the tourists as well.

  • Fan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    This my third time seeing Elton, once with the whole band in a crowd of 17 000, once at his Vegas show, and this unique piano show. Elton never disappointed either time, just spectacular each time. I feel lucky to have gotten my tix the day of sale online and not having to resort to scalpers, which are scum imo.
    Now Mile One, AC/DC have a tour on the go, let's see if you can get them here! :)

  • Ken
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Elton John gave a great performance and the audiences responded. Hopefully, other acts of his calibre -- like Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Bob Seger -- will take a look at coming to Newfoundland.

  • Jennifer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    I was so honored to be able to see this concert. Elton John is one of the greatest piano players I've ever seen. His voice is lovely and his songs definitely move you. I could have listened to him all night. Hopefully he will come back for a bigger and better time here in Newfoundland and Labrador.