Elton John, Union Chapel, London
Monday 29 November 2010
It was just Sir Elton and his grand piano for this intimate, power-ballad-laden recital of hits, the odd rarity (including, unexpectedly, "Sixty Years On" and the exquisite rock-stomp "Take Me to the Pilot", both from 1970's Elton John) and songs from his return-to-form album, The Union.
The showman from Pinner, dressed all in black, was in a moderately undemonstrative mood tonight, sticking to the music and keeping crowd engagement to a bare minimum – although he did find time to thank some members of his star-studded audience, namely tennis ace Andy Roddick, Richard Love Actually Curtis and, somewhat improbably, Alex McLeish, the Birmingham City manager, for their charitable support. He also bestowed praise on Ellie Goulding for her recent, winning take on "Your Song". "Well done her," he gushed. And the only pity was that there weren't any duets, because Elton always, evidently, loves a duet – Kiki Dee, George Michael, Nik Kershaw...
However, the 63-year-old vocalist is clearly in a good place, in lean shape and "pumped" from the giddy critical response to The Union, a record made with John's "idol", the gospel and country-rock singer Leon Russell (the 68-year-old Oklahoman wrote the gem "Delta Lady"), who was sadly absent here. The blues- and country-infused album has been described as "easily the best thing either of them has produced for years", and "Gone to Shiloh", their haunting American Civil War lament, worked compellingly well in these holy surroundings. As did the mournful, Randy Newman-esque "When Love Is Dying".
But even these numbers can't really compete with the humbling triple whammy of "Your Song", "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" and the sumptuous "Tiny Dancer". These were followed by a stirring "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (John clearly likes this one), which was only topped by a soaring, freewheeling "Rocket Man".
The gig is available to stream online at www.absoluteradio.co.uk in Full HD. It will also be played out in full on Absolute Radio on Boxing Day at 6pm.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Reader dilemma: 'Our son is 34 with an IQ of 85, and spends all his time in his room. What will happen to him when we're no longer here?'
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
Glastonbury 2015: The best things you missed from Lionel Richie and the Dalai Lama to how beautiful the festival is
The picture of a man crowd surfing in a wheelchair at Glastonbury is brilliant, but it wasn't taken at Glastonbury
Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
Guillaume Tell, Royal Opera House, review: Gang rape and stripping naked of female actor met with boos
Glastonbury 2015: Shocking scenes of rubbish left strewn across campsite as clean-up begins
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS