Monday, June 29, 2015

A Dandelion(el) Held Them Tight!

I did this related piece exactly one year ago basically setting out why Elton should be a dead cert for Glastonbury. Another year has come and went and the urgency for Elton appear at it is now as frantic as Euro's flying out of an Athens ATM. If the act with no musical portfolio, otherwise known as Mr. Kim Kardashian, is indeed the biggest then all we have to work out next is the biggest what. Though hasn’t the wife won that accolade several years in a row…anyway, the thing is we're running out of the 'classic' acts to fill up the schedule, especially the marquee slots. Some horrendous characters are waiting in the wings and more likely than not will run on to the rocks. The wrong sort. If Pete Doherty can still get 5 star reviews in 2015 then the game is indeed almost up. 

Further down the menu is where the real attractions lie. I was looking forward to seeing Burt Bacharach opening his songbook but unfortunately despite his best efforts (87 and still oozing charm and a classy touch) even he was dragged down by three singers who were a combination of X Factor rejects and part time cabaret support acts. If you're going to do justice to the songs which span a couple of generations then you have to have a real star vocalist. Not just the ability to sing the song but to connect with the audience. Kind of important when you're stepping into the shoes of Dionne, Sandie, Dusty, Cilla, Petula, Aretha, Karen and Gladys to name but a few. 

As I pointed out last year, the ‘legends’ slot is now fast becoming ‘the’ slot to be inserted into. Sunday evening teatime and basically you can grip the crowd (and a sizeable telly audience) and do with them whatever you wish once you’ve seized power. Lionel Richie did exactly that yesterday (even getting security to join in...I bet some folks think a parallel universe now exists) and like Dolly last year is getting all the plaudits. The Who closing out the entire weekend with a tight, no nonsense set are being equally showered with similar platitudes. All rightly well deserved. If both of them hadn’t appeared then the viewing figures would have been down by more than just me. If I were a betting man...which I'm not...I'd lay good money Billy Joel will be doing that exact same slot within the next year or two. If you put the really big acts on, they never fail to deliver. By the way, that FFS hookup has to be one pop’s great latter day masterstrokes…

So what of Elton. Looking down the guest list over the years his glaring absence is now becoming more evident. Filed under the legend that never won an Oscar category. All his contemporaries, not to mention those that came before him and since, have all played there. I’m not sure what the situation is at the moment, whether the organisers aren’t keen or what. If not, get keen I say. If they are, get on the phone and book Elton for Sunday of next year. They can work out the fine details of whether he’ll do the legends slot or the headline slot in due course. Either way as the slow drop of the curtain is now underway it’s critical that he finally take his rightful place on the roll of honour that is the guest list at the festival. In 50 years time when kids of tomorrow ask why everybody from a self proclaimed God right down to the Wombles pitched up but Elton didn’t what are they to be told? For somebody who has done it all, it would be indeed be the final as yet unrealised achievement. 

One thing I’ve noticed is that the crowds at the US festivals seem to be more reserved than at Glastonbury. Lionel Richie did Bonnaroo a few weeks ago but even he was unprepared for the reaction he got on the English farm. He’s put down a marker as to what is expected. If an old pro like him has indeed felt the force then just imagine Elton going there and by the time FFF/LLB has finished the crowd has given him an injection of a boostful additive into his adrenaline. Which logically could or would possibly mean Elton may deliver a defining late career live performance that would be talked about for years. The crowd connecting back with the artist can indeed be the ‘twelfth man’. A setlist that would keep the ballads to a minimum (Your Song of course!) and push the uptempo aspect of the repertoire to the front would be truly magnificent. Like the hammers of hell he would beat them into submission. Hopefully this time next year we’ll be waking up to headlines of musical celebration rather than confrontation…


'Look At Dolly, She Did It Right'

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