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Review: Elton John kicks off new leg of 'Wonderful Crazy Night Tour' in Savannah

  • Spotted photo by Thomas Reimer. See more photos at spotted.savannahnow.com.
 

Review: Elton John kicks off new leg of 'Wonderful Crazy Night Tour' in Savannah

22 Sep 2016

When you’re one of the most famous and successful solo artists of all time, selling more than 250 million records worldwide and earning 38 gold and 27 platinum or multi-platinum albums, where do you go to kick off the East Coast leg of your new tour? Well, if you are Sir Elton John, you kick things off in Savannah.

See Spotted photos of Elton John in Savannah.

Elton John and his band took the stage at  Martin Luther King Jr. Arena at 8:05 p.m. on Wednesday night and ended their nonstop, sweat-inducing set at 10:45 p.m. No opening act was needed and the closing song was just as energetic as the first. The set list included a mind-blowing 26 songs ranging from some of his most popular hits from his five-decade career to a few newer tracks from his latest album and the title of his worldwide tour, “Wonderful Crazy Night.” The new album is John’s 33rd studio album and his stop in Savannah came the day after the piano virtuoso told a British news source he may retire from making new music and touring. So, fans who turned out last night for the sold-out show may have very well witnessed the last Savannah stop for the 69-year old celebrity.

Yes, he’s 69 years old. And whatever magic tonic or celebrity secret he has to maintain his youth, it’s working. His voice was flawless, his patience with every note was immaculate and his energy was infectious. And for someone who has been described as a dramatic diva in the press, Sir Elton was anything but rude. He was gracious, soft spoken and even took time during the show to autograph memorabilia handed up to the front of the stage.

John started off the set with “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” which is also the opening track on his “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album. The 13-minute opening started with John’s signature, powerful piano solo. About 2 minutes into the song, he finally lifted his sunglass-covered eyes to the audience to see the crowd was in complete enjoyment. The star’s face lit up with a big smile before he returned to his intensity on the keys. He continued in that upbeat energy throughout the entire 2 hour and 45 minute marathon of music and his joy in the performance was obvious.

The tempo picked up with the next four songs, “The Bitch is Back,” a jazzy, upbeat version of “Bennie and the Jets,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” and the soulful tune “Daniel.”

John was more than generous with his fans, taking time to stand after a few songs to walk around the entire stage and smile and wave. He said, “I’m happy to be back in this wonderful city.”

Then he played a few songs from his new album, “Looking Up,” and the song that he said is his favorite from his new album, “Good Heart.” The songs were slower ballads and more thoughtful, giving the audience a chance to sit, listen and catch their breath for his next round of classics like “Rocket Man,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Levon” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

Other highlights for the evening included the crowd-rousing “Burn Down the Mission,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” “All the Girls Love Alice,” “I’m Still Standing” and “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting).”

John also played a new powerful, soulful ballad, “Blue Wonderful,” and dedicated the song to his friends from Atlanta in the audience. He also  pulled out some songs like “Have Mercy on the Criminal” and “Dixie Lilly” that he said he hasn’t played live in many years.

While he gives a mind-boggling, nonstop show full of energy, it was apparent his seasoned band of some of the top artists in the industry have obviously been drinking from the same fountain of youth John has tapped into.

Davey Johnstone joined John on guitar and gave the audience a powerful performance. The British rocker has enjoyed a long career with John, playing more than 2,000 shows with him as well as collaborating on major projects with superstars like John Lennon, Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Nicks, Alice Cooper, Eric Clapton and B. B. King.
Kim Bullard from Atlanta played keyboards, John Mahon performed on drums and vocals and Matt Bissonette joined the group on bass guitar and vocals.

Ray Cooper, introduced by John as a legend of British rock, took the stage on one of the three percussion sets. Cooper is known as a virtuoso percussionist and has worked with greats like George Harrison and Billy Joel and played percussion on The Rolling Stones’ 1974  album, “It’s Only Rock ’n Roll.” 

And Nigel Olsson, one of John’s original bandmates from 1969, played drums and performed backing vocals. He also performed on his signature DW drum kit created just for him, The Olsson Aviator Mark 1.

Encore songs included “Candle in the Wind” and “Crocodile Rock,” and John told the crowd, in a very heartfelt moment, “I’ve been doing what I love for a long time because of you guys out there … You send me so much love to the stage, and I want to thank you for all your love.”

If you are a fan of Elton John and missed the show, it would be worth your time and money to try to catch a future show before the tour heads overseas. He also plans a run of shows in Las Vegas this year. Despite the fact John obviously loves performing music and has a seemingly tireless spirit during his concerts, it might not be a surprise if he celebrates his 70th birthday in March by announcing his retirement.

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