Thursday, August 29, 2013

'Riding Off Into The Sunset'

What a moment. A from the gut, emotionally charged moment. Not for Elton (though I'm sure he slightly differing ones), but for me. This was broadcast on BBC1 on the Thursday night before CATK came out the next day. I had neither heard nor seen any songs from the album up to that point, thank god I hadn't been 'internetised' at the time. The first time you heard a new song was on the radio, or tv or at a show. Kids, ask your parents about this. It's kind of ruined for you now...But I knew it was going to be good. Why? It was Elton singing about himself and Bernie. And the band. And their experiences. And the characters they encountered. Ups, downs, ups and all the ways around. TheY only showed a selection of the songs from the album on the broadcast, but when they got to this one it was awe struckness from me for the next few minutes. This clip doesn't show unfortunately Elton explaining the riff at the start and how it can to be incorporated into being the base of the bookend. To put it simply, this is Elton doing his own 'This Is Your Life'. Singing about himself, how much more of a personal moment can you get. Recycling an old melody shouldn't work, but it does. Because Elton can make anything work. And hammers and nails it with a big sign proclaiming it. 

What have we got here, a jaunty mid tempo melodic journey, hypnotic with Guy's almost sleepy Mellotron hovering. Elton's vocal is precision engineering, his phrases are bang on. Bob is to the forefront too. He becomes part of that melody…listen to when Elton isn’t singing. He plays the line, but leaves still leaves enough space for it to linger and stay in our ears. With Davey's brilliant licks thrown in with perfect taste, the stinging interjections the perfect foil for the aforementioned melody. Slide guitar sweeps that are sweet as the harmonies. Proper harmonies in abundance, tied into the song without any effort. Nigel's tasteful drum line, rowed back in accordingly to allow the song to expand naturally. One listen and it was in my head. The bridge to the chorus is a stunning transition. The chorus, damn how good is that. I mean, the final chorus is as good as, nay as triumphant as the final play out of Curtains on this albums elder brother. Davey's line at the end is a statement. A play out of an era. Elton's mix of his unique style and a proper r'n'r ended here. Did we know it? No, but then again when the Curtains sometimes fall, we may not see the drapes in front of our eyes until reality kicks back in. When that broadcast was over, I instantly replayed it God knows how many times. I'm so glad I did, because recent history is the same as ancient history. The past is solidified, the lyrics of the song tell us that with great insightfullness. But the memory lingers...and that like history can't be changed either.

It's very hard to watch that clip now in 2013. Two of them have left us. Two people who put heart and soul into their calling. That clip shows and emphasises how lucky we were they got that call.They both may have stopped and gone on to better things, but as The Grateful Dead said once, the music never stopped...

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