Performing Arts
© Mike Keenan

Elton John - How wonderful life is while you're in the world!

Elton John, Wikimedia Commons

It's a little bit funny this feeling inside
I'm not one of those who can easily hide I
Don't have much money but boy if I did
I'd buy a big house where we both could live
If I was a sculptor but then again no
Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show
Oh I know it's not much but it's the best I can do
My gift is my song
And this one's for you

... I hope you don't mind
That I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

His gift indeed is his song, and watching the Elton John broadcast of "Million Dollar Piano" live from Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas was a thrill for those of us gathered at the Niagara Square Cineplex Odeon Theatre.

For someone who admits to being 65, he dazzled us with energy and non-stop singing and piano playing for almost two hours, a well-packed series of tunes that included such favourites as Tiny Dancer, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting, Philadelphia Freedom, Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me, I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters, Rocket Man and The Bitch Is Back.

Tiny Dancer

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting

Philadelphia Freedom

He finished the show appropriately with Circle of Life, and in between, sang some lesser known songs such as Indian Sunset, his touching lament for the demise of the North American native Indian.

Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me

Circle Of Life

I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues

Indian Sunset

Before several songs, Elton shared meaningful insights, at one point thanking actress Elizabeth Taylor ( Blue Eyes) for inspiring him "to get off his duff" with her important start of a charity for HIV Aids victims, and a key message was his deep admiration for his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin who at 17, presented Elton with the words to Your Song which started the young singer's rise to stardom.

Elton talked about his pianos; he has five of them scattered about the world for performances each with a name like the two in Las Vegas, his red Nikita and Blossom, an engineering wonder featuring more than 68 LED video screens created by Yamaha.

He introduced his band, which includes Davey Johnstone on guitar, Matt Bissonette on bass, John Mahon on percussion, Nigel Olsson on drums and Kim Bullard on keyboards, with a special appearance by percussionist Ray Cooper and two young cello-playing Croatians along with four back-up soul singers.

Elton boasts 25 platinum and 35 gold albums, 29 consecutive Top 40 hits and more than 250 million records sold worldwide. He is a five-time Grammy® and Grammy Legend award winner, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and received both Academy and Tony Awards for his contributions in The Lion King and Aida. In 1998, he became Sir Elton, after Queen Elizabeth dubbed him a knight. Not bad for someone originally named Reginald Dwight, winning a piano scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music at age 11. Dwight called himself Elton John, after John Baldry and Bluesology saxophonist Elton Dean. Later, he made Elton Hercules John his legal name; Hercules was a childhood nickname.

Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters

Rocket Man

The Bitch Is Back

Your Song

Caesars Palace was the appropriate venue for this performance, a favoured destination for Las Vegas international headliners such as Celine Dion, Shania Twain and Rod Stewart. The Coliseum was packed, and the show featured glitzy light effects and videos, beamed into 40 different countries.

Elton John, Wikimedia Commons   Elton John, Wikimedia Commons   Elton John, Wikimedia Commons   Elton John, Wikimedia Commons   Elton John, Wikimedia Commons

Elton shared how he and Taupin collaborated over the years, "never in the same room", often being sent written lyrics, sometimes by email, whereupon Elton sat at his piano and composed the music.

He cited the New York 9-11 performance as one of his most memorable and thanked the likes of Lech Walesa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and Ryan White, an Indiana teenager with AIDS as his heroes.

He looked a little bulky (he is quite short); his outfits were not exactly flamboyant (his piano was); yet his energy and passion were evident all night long, a great evening of musical entertainment by someone who helps make life wonderful by his very presence in the world!

Elton John, Wikimedia Commons

Sir Elton John:

Elton John Your Song Las Vegas

The Million Dollar Piano Las Vegas: Daniel

Princess Diana Funeral - Elton John - Candle In The Wind
"Candle in the Wind" is a song with music and lyrics by Elton John and Bernie Taupin originally written in 1973. In 1997, John performed a rewritten version of the song as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales. This version of the song was released as a single and reached No. 1 in many countries, proving a much greater success than the original, officially being listed as the second best-selling single of all time.

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