Yesterday, I went to the first ever open air concert staged in the Great Yorkshire Show Grounds in Harrogate. My wife and I went to see Elton John, he was brilliant, performing more than two hours of his back catalogue including the majority of his biggest hits and some of his other more select album choices. I wasn’t sure about attending the event as I like his music but I didn’t know what to expect really – I am more of a dance music fan. As it was the first concert of its size in Harrogate, I was interested to see if he and it could pull in the crowds, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, Elton had been ill the week before with a respiratory illness and he even had to cancel three gigs which was worrying but then he appeared the day before at the Queen’s Jubilee in London.
I could try and write a full music review of the gig but it seems we weren’t the only people in attendance as I came across this review from Dave Simpson of The Guardian. He is its music critic and puts it far better than I could when he describes the scene:
Away from the showbiz and flag-waving of the Mall, this 180-minute marathon is about Elton the musician, exploring his labyrinthine back catalogue. There are songs from 1970s touchstone albums Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Madman Across the Water, unexpected gems (Hey Ahab, from 2010’s critically heralded, so-so-selling album with hero Leon Russell), and classics including a perfect Tiny Dancer and a Rocket Man that now sounds wistful for his days of being “high as a kite”.
Candle in the Wind, famously performed at Princess Diana’s funeral, is played without introduction, the song returning to its original position as moving lament for Marilyn Monroe.
I really enjoyed it all, apart from the expensive sandwiches on sale at £6.80 (what’s that all about?). In my opinion Elton certainly still has the (Sorry Elton) x-factor as a musician. How he still does it so well after such a long career is beyond me but he does and he is still a musical genius. However, the real stand out moment that had me aghast was right at the end in the encore when he decided to share his very clear footballing opinion. I don’t want to misquote the great man, so I will let Dave Simpson quote him he states:
The one moment of controversy is comical, when the former Watford FC chairman debates the England team selections, branding new manager Roy Hodgson a “twat”.
It was Elton’s way of clearly demonstrating his displeasure at the fact Rio had been omitted from the England squad for Euro 2012. He also called Hodgson boring and made it clear he felt Kelly wasn’t anywwhere near as good as Rio. Now I am a Liverpool fan and so I should really side with Kelly but I have to admit, I agree with him. Rio is a far more experienced player and would be much better at a tournament of this nature – we could do with his experience. Despite the reports I don’t think this decision is down to footballing reasons at all that said we should back the guy to at least win us one game. I am not holding out much hope though.
I have to say Elton has gone up in my estimations, he is a brilliant musician and I seem to agree with him on football terms too. So I think I will have to drop him a line and join him for a beer as we both have new babies too.