tunerev: The Red Piano by Elton John
This year, it was Vegas and Elton John at the Coliseum at Cesar’s Palace. A shorter trip for my wife and I, but a longer trip for our traveling companions….but, again, well worth the air miles. This wasn’t just a concert, but a multi-media event. Elton and his band were fronting a huge screen, which showed a video or photographic collage for each piece played. David LaChappelle, a somewhat surrealistic photographer and film director, designed the set and the movies.
It was Vegas, it was Elton, it was OTT…and it was a lot of fun. Including Elton talking about Celine Dion (“God, I miss that skinny bitch”) to Cher and Bette Midler, who also have shows at Cesar’s (“they could both beat me up”). Sometimes the videos would get in the way of the show, but attention always came back to Elton.
Set list (and yes, geek friends, I wrote it on my Blackberry during the concert, to the chagrin of my companions) for the approx. 100 minute show.
- Bennie and the Jets:: the crew came out, uncovered the red Steinway piano, the band came out and then Elton…to his first of many standing O’s. An excellent way to start (from the Album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) *Lyrics*
- Philadelphia Freedom:: yes, Margaret, this was the second song! Complete with launching empire state buildings. (released as a single) *Lyrics*
- Believe:: the only song I did not instantly recognize. Margaret said it was due to a lacking in my education. (from Made in England) *Lyrics*
- Daniel:: Elton explained there was confusion about this song, mainly because Bernie Taupin wrote a final verse which was not used in the released song. The video shows a young man, who turns into a soldier, who turns into a wounded soldier and then army grave markings. (from Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player) *Lyrics*
- Rocket Man:: coincidentally, my son (who still wants to be an astronaut) calls me with a homework problem during this of all songs!. Featuring a video where my wife recognized Justin Timberlake in the background video as the young Elton, trying to make it through the crowds and temptations to get on the stage, and Pee Wee Herman as his manager (is that a message or what?) (from the album Honky Chateau) *Lyrics*
- I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues:: where the old man shows he can still play (from Too Low for Zero) *Lyrics*
- Someone Saved My Life Tonight:: one of my faves, off of my favorite Elton album, with a surreal video of an Elton putting down two pillows, one inside an over for his head and one outside the over for his knees, and the angel that danced what could have been. (from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy) *Lyrics*
- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road:: the classic (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) *Lyrics*
- Tiny Dancer:: (from Madman Across the Water) *Lyrics*
- Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me:: interesting background video of a love-hate relationship danced out why the live Elton is superimposed on an old-time television screen (from Caribou) *Lyrics*
- Candle in the Wind:: Marilyn montage in the background (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) *Lyrics*
- Pinball Wizard:: complete with white and red beach balls being bounced around the audience like pinballs! (from the Tommy soundtrack) *Lyrics*
- Bitch is Back:: what could be more Vegas and more appropo that Pamela Anderson dancing around a stripper pole during this number? Add in oversized inflatable legs and boobs, and you’ve got the hit of the night. (from Caribou) *Lyrics*
- I’m Still Standing:: (from Too Low for Zero) *Lyrics*
- Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting:: the folks in the first two rows got to crowd around the red piano on stage and dance. And, yes, we were jealous. (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) *Lyrics*
- Funeral for a Friend:: okay, so they didn’t really play this, but while they were setting up the large LOVE letters for the final number, the keyboardist played the opening bits…and I was hoping for the whole thing plus Love Lies Bleeding..but, then again, no.
- Your Song:: no band, just Elton, the letters for LOVE and the Red Piano. A fitting end. (from the album Elton John) *Lyrics*
We hollered for an encore. But this was Vegas, and a set show. It’s hard to pick a list of songs from someone with as big a repertoire as Elton, but they did a commendable job and the execution was excellent.