Sir Elton John concert review from Magic Summer Live at Hatfield House

PUBLISHED: 21:59 25 July 2011

Sir Elton John

Sir Elton John

Casey Gutteridge 07525246273

HEAVY downpours didn’t deter thousands from descending on Hatfield House for Magic Summer Live, which was headlined by music legend Sir Elton John.

SIR Elton John is a man who needs no introduction.

Which is possibly just as well, for there was no all-singing, all-dancing fanfare you might expect to welcome one of the music industry’s biggest names on to the stage.

Instead, Elton and his band suddenly appeared and cracked straight on with the opening number, Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.

Not to worry, though. We didn’t need to be told the man we had all come to see was ready to entertain the 20,000 or so who had braved the heavy showers.

Most, I suspect, were just happy to fold away their soggy chairs and dance the rest of the set away.

Those aspirations had to wait, though. For after Saturday Night, Elton chose his next two songs from one of his lesser-known albums, Madman Across the Water – which the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles and Albums reliably informs me only reached number 41 in the charts back in 1972.

The songs – while showing off Elton’s unquestionable talent on the piano – were as dreary as the weather.

For me, it felt like the crowd was left standing around, waiting for the classics. The songs we all know and love. The hits we had all come to see Elton belt out.

ELTON JOHN SET LIST

Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

Levon

Madman Across The Water

Tiny Dancer

Philadelphia Freedom

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Sacrifice

Rocket Man

I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues

Hey Ahab

Gone to Shiloh

Sad Songs (Say So Much)

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Are You Ready For Love

Bennie And The Jets

The Bitch Is Back

Crocodile Rock

Your Song (encore)

But while we had to wait for those, it proved to be worth the wait.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Sacrifice – incredibly Elton’s first solo number one 19 years after his first hit – Rocket Man (albeit a version that seemed to last forever), I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues – these were the songs we wanted to hear.

But it didn’t last, as the set then took another bizarre twist, including newer material in the form of Gone to Shiloh, a song penned by Elton’s long-term writing partner Bernie Taupin about the American Civil War.

Thankfully it wasn’t long before we were back to classic Elton, and the hits were soon flowing thick and fast again.

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me and Are You Ready for Love came and went, and by the time we reached the last number in the set, Crocodile Rock, the audience (well, certainly where I was standing) was dancing, bopping and waving arms without a care in the world.

As Elton exited the stage, the crowd bayed for more – and he didn’t disappoint as he returned to perform one of my all-time favourites, Your Song.

It may have been his first-ever hit 40 years ago, and Elton may now be on the verge of 65, but in less than five minutes he proved to Ellie Goulding (who released the song last year) that his original will always be the superior version.

The song ended, the crowd still wanted more, but that was that.

Elton left the stage and within minutes a helicopter was rising into the night sky above Hatfield House.

He had disappeared as quickly as he had appeared.

Problems with the event organisation aside, Elton delivered what we had been promised – a Magic-al performance.

While I’d have liked to have seen more of the classics instead of the lesser-known in his repertoire – I’m Still Standing and Candle in the Wind, as opposed to Madman and Gone to Shiloh next time, please – these are, perhaps, minor quibbles.

Because in those two hours, Elton fully demonstrated the talent he is.


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