There he was, up on stage, just him and his piano. He was so far away, but it was Elton - it didn’t matter how little he appeared, I was thrilled to be there.
He played to a packed house of 6,600; a smaller venue for him, I’m sure. The crowd at Centre 200 was typically Canadian – polite and appreciative. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of standing ovations and loud applause, but nothing too overt. Elton was also appreciative – standing between songs and bowing to the different sections of the arena.
He was on stage for over two and half hours. Just him and his piano. He doesn’t just play his piano, he plays!!!!!!! There were lots of long musical intros to songs where we saw his hands dance across the keys on the big screen. On and on and on – my hands get tired after a couple of hours holding my camera, I can’t imagine his after a night on stage.
And the songs. He played them all – some new, lots of oldies, and some I hadn’t heard before. Rocket Man, Daniel, Candle in the Wind, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, Bennie and the Jets, Circle of Life, they were all in there.
While there was lots of singing and piano playing, there wasn’t a lot of conversation with the audience. I expected more witty banter, but while he introduced a few songs with stories, some just a line or two, mostly he sang and played.
As he introduced The Ballad of the Boy in Red Shoes, he spoke of the AIDS epidemic. He spoke of his friend, Ryan White, who contracted the disease in the early 1980s through a blood transfusion. He spoke of the US government’s lack of involvement in the disease up to that point. “Fuck ‘em,” he said. He reminded the audience of the local AIDS organization, AIDS Coalition of Cape Breton, and encouraged us to support it.
As he neared the end of the show, Elton talked about forgiveness and being kind to one another, of living together in peace. Then he closed the show with Circle of Life and Can You Feel the Love Tonight? We sure could feel the love, Elton – it was fantastic, I hope you could feel it from the audience, we loved it.