Sunday, 26 June 2016

Elton John

Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh
Four stars

When a knight of the realm congratulates an entire country for being the only sensible people in what's left of the UK after the EU referendum, it's magnificently seditious stuff. When that knight is Sir Elton John opening the Edinburgh leg of his world tour to promote his recent Wonderful Crazy Night album, it makes it even better.

Especially as an impish Sir Elton and his impeccable band has just ushered in a two and half hour set with the instrumental overture of the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road era Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding. With his nibs sporting a sparkly blue outfit and red shades and following it with The Bitch is Back, such a mash up lays bare the maestro's unbridled raison d'etre of showbiz classicist panache that sits somewhere between Liberace and Mozart.

As he rewinds his way through a fistful of hits that includes Benny and the Jets and Philadelphia Freedom, John's back catalogue also traces its way back to the first flush of rock and roll that sired both him and his canon. There's nothing kitsch here, however, even as he beetles his way across the stage between songs against a backdrop of celestial animated projections that flank a band led by Edinburgh born guitarist Davey Johnstone clearly having the time of their lives.

Not far off seventy now, John hints that he may not be touring for much longer, even as he revels in what evolves into a glorious rock and roll dance party and old time soul revue that unites several generations in what on a sunny night in Meadowbank resembles a garden party where everyone is invited.

The Herald, June 27th 2016

ends

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