Monday, November 3, 2014

'Where It's At'

As the ghosts post Halloween fade away, the blog sneaks out of the Autumn mists. As you can see from the last post, it's been a while since I combed through the Elton world. But as there are so many strands to it  it's difficult to give every layer a good straightening. Between now and the end of the year there'll be yet more delving into the rattle bag to be done. Thanks again to those who continue to seek the blog out for an independent look at the Elton world. I've got some (hopefully) interesting things to look at, as always they'll be off centre to widen the viewpoint of any newbies to the Elton world.

Elton in Madrid on Saturday night.
Before years end I'll have the distinct pleasure of being in Elton's company again. Not something to be sniffed at, whether it be first, umpteenth or last in line. The European leg of the tour started on the Saturday in that wonderfully Iberian named venue the Barclaycard Centre in Madrid. The capitalist global's fingers both long and gripping. The recent tour in North America was a resounding success as per usual. I had the pleasure of listening to a number of recordings from some of the shows over the last while, notably both Vancouver shows, both Los Angeles affairs, Seattle and Denver. The shows were rollicking performances, Elton and the band are currently treading on a fine (on the right side!) line between controlled and carefree. Concentration in maintaining togetherness and confident enough to cut free when the gap arises. Anybody not familiar with an Elton show will still find the songs as they would expect them...but the unexpected shoveled in without throwing everything else off kilter. 

Bilbao, Sunday night.
The current lineup of the band is cutting a groove for itself that's leaving a deep impact in the performance landscape. Nobody from Atlanta to Zurich will have gone home without a permanent aural scar emblazoned on their ear drums. This past month found Elton and the band back in the studio for some, as Davey put it to me on his blog, secret enterprise. In connection with some future Rocket Pictures endeavour no doubt. Mark this point though. When the day comes as, it surely will, Elton and the band return to the studio to record a 'proper' album this blog will ring the bells like a victory rejoice. Anyone who goes to the shows and is then ambivalent as to whether they (band) play on the albums or not has no business trying to find a reference point with me on this matter. Reset the conversation I say.

Early concert goers in Europe will notice the stage setup used in North America hasn't travelled over. But the absence of those lights coming up to Christmas will be easily compensated by the seasonal brightness. The roof will surely be raised, hook or by crook! Last show of the tour in Dublin...bound to be a party. More so now that there will be no remnants of The Diving Board in the setlist. Anyone who has just arrived back from servicing the Mars Explorer will know I am no fan of said album. It's non appearance in the setlist is more than a's essential. 

Firstly, unfamiliar songs are a challenge at an arena show. Carefully chosen though and they can become staples for a long time. Hey Ahab anyone? Unfortunately Oceans Away (a worthy song for sure) is totally unsuitable for an arena band show, it's 'newness' hindering it even more. Home Again looked as if it may have cemented a position in the setlist a la Ahab, but the absence of the girls on backing vocals took away any modicum of impact from early performances, late 2013 being the optimum time for it's performance life. Adding Believe, a very good thing in this bloggers opinion, and making the set a more taut affair will not do any harm to this leg of the tour. On the contrary, the tin says it so it will be the same inside. Even though we know what's coming as regards song lineup, hopefully as Cilla used bawl out, it'll be all 'Surprise, Surprise' on the night!!

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