DD and I have seen some incredible concerts since we started dating eight years ago. We love watching live music together and I often speculate whether our retirement should be spent flying to destination gigs around the world.
Our latest adventure was a little closer to home – we were very kindly given two tickets to Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road concert in Newcastle on Sunday night.
And my mum and sister went too! Although they were sitting in a different part of the arena.
As we settled into our chairs we heard a roar go through the crowd. I wondered if Elton was peeking out from the stage, but no … people started gasping that Richard Wilkins had entered the stadium. I was a bit surprised that Dickie was attracting so much attention until I turned and saw him stride past with two superstars by his side – Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban – just a few metres away from us!
Blimey! Apparently they’d flown to Newie on their private jet. As you do.
Elton put on quite the show for them and the more than 20,000 other concert goers. It was spectacular. I had seen him in the Hunter Valley many years ago and wasn’t completely blown away, but he knocked it out of the park on Sunday night.
His voice was amazing, the staging was incredible and the music was beyond wonderful.
Whenever I love a concert there is always an unpredictable moment when I will cry because I am so viscerally moved by the music. I thought it would be during Tiny Dancer, but no, that was simply awesome, not tear-jerking. The tears started streaming down my face as Elton sang Rocket Man.
I also got a little damp eyed when he started singing his first-ever hit, Your Song, which is 52 years old. Far out!
We started out in seats level with the lighting booth down the front – where Nicole and Keith were sitting – but they were positioned too close together and felt a bit claustrophobic, so we spent the last half of the gig up the back on the grass, watching the sun set dramatically behind the stage.
As Elton sang his last song – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – gold paper confetti cascaded over the stage and a single piece drifted across the stadium to land at our feet.
I feel so privileged to have seen Elton perform on his farewell tour.
Oh how I would have loved to be at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles in August 1970, at the start of Elton’s touring journey, when he played his first US gig.
Neil Diamond introduced Elton to the crowd that night and the performance kicked off with Your Song (unlike what’s shown in the Rocketman movie, Elton didn’t open with Crocodile Rock – because it hadn’t been written yet).
Apparently the crowd were initially underwhelmed, until Elton stood up, kicked away his stool and started pounding the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis.
Drummer Nigel Olsson (who was there that night and also at the gig on Sunday in Newcastle) said: “We looked into the audience and there’s Neil Diamond sitting in the first row. I think Stephen Stills was there. I even think Diana Ross was sitting there. It was packed to the rafters, and we were so nervous about it. But once we cranked it up it was just amazing.”
As the set revved up, Elton progressed to doing handstands on top of his piano. The crowd was completely electrified by his performance and a global superstar was born.
There were no handstands on Sunday, but the atmosphere was still electric.
What a night! What a legend!
Song of the day: Elton John “Rocket Man”