Elton John - Grace Road, Leicester County Cricket Ground, 11/06/16 1

Elton John – Grace Road, Leicester County Cricket Ground, 11/06/16

Security guards, I appreciate that you’re just doing your job, but I’m going to end the show right now unless you SIT THE FUCK DOWN YOU FUCKING PRICKS“.

Elton John has never done things by halves. We know this. We also know that he is prone to sudden outbursts of this kind, but this one still came as rather a surprise. After all, it had already been a magnificent show up to this point, but the truth is, once the security guards had complied with the request, Elton relaxed, and the performance moved from merely magnificent to utterly exceptional. Not for nothing has he been one of the most successful, revered artists in the entertainment world for roughly as long as I have been on this planet.

Support for this evening came from Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance, who performed an impressive, easily palatable set of tunes that could have been penned by Elton himself, culminating in a heartfelt tribute to Prince. This came courtesy of a rousing version of the diminutive late pop icon’s ‘Purple Rain‘. Vance informed us that, although support acts often go home as soon as they have completed their performance, “with Elton, I have always stayed to the very end“. And it’s so easy to see why.

As the opening strains of instrumental ‘Funeral For A Friend‘ broke out, I did wonder whether the oft uttered opinion that “he can no longer sing” held any credence, but we soon learned the truth – Elton’s voice is as strong and powerful as it ever was, and his piano playing skills are second to none. When you see Elton John live in concert though, what you want is the glitz and glam we have become so accustomed to, and, I am happy to report, we received that in spades.

Elton John

Each number came backed with an animated backdrop which reflected the theme of the song being played at any given time – moving blue images (naturally) for ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues‘, picturesque, rural Wizard Of Oz style horizons for ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘, and of course, the word ‘BITCH!’ in flashing neon lights for ‘The Bitch Is Back‘. These served Elton well, and made the evening feel even more spectacular than it already was; it was certainly one of the most striking shows I have witnessed in some time anyway.

Elton acknowledged the achievements of Leicester City Football Club before one song, at which point I realised I was standing next to former Foxes legend Steve Walsh. I thought about interrupting him to shake his hand, but seeing as he was standing on his chair, singing along passionately to ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me‘, I thought better of it and left him in the moment. But this is perhaps the greatest reflection of the appeal of Elton John – sure, you want to dance – and it is, granted, truly a party atmosphere when he plays, but he also has that ability to whisk you away from whatever worries you are dealing with in your life right now, and transport you to a higher plane.

Whisper this bit quietly though – I felt a bit sorry for those security guards…

Photo credit: Paul Reno.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.