The Metal Files

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Archive for October 2022

Elton John, San Antonio, TX, October 29, 2022

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Concert season is upon us and everyone is on tour, including Elton John; but his run is coming to an end. He said “that’s it, I’m done and want to spend time with my family” and rightfully so. He’s 75.

My love for Elton’s music goes back about as far as I can remember thanks to my brother Robert (RIP) who was a big fan and used to spin Goodbye Yellow Brick Road all of the time when we were kids. He was 6 years older than me and really influenced my musical tastes at a very young age. He died in 2012 and I miss him more and more in recent years.

When tickets went on sale for this show seemingly years ago, I didn’t want to wait until the last minute nor did I want to be in the stands, so I paid the price and got pretty decent floor seats, but I did poor planning on getting a date for the show. Fortunately at the last minute my friend Stephanie accepted my offer and drove up from the valley to accompany me for the show.

She was running behind schedule because of traffic etc and we decided it was best just to meet up in San Antonio and head to the show from there. As we got close to the Alamodome, traffic was stacked up trying to find parking. To be honest it was a total shitshow. We were able to find a lot a few blocks away from the venue but it was a pain in the ass just trying to get to it. Once parked, we got our stuff together and walked to the venue. The line to get into the floor area was ridiculously long and by the time we got to our seats, Elton was just starting. I was relieved to just get in there on time.

I had watched some recent vids of the show on YouTube recently and to be honest the show seemed a bit dry and by the numbers…in person that ended up not being the case.

He opened the show with Bennie and the Jets and Philadelphia Freedom (I never cared for that song). His voice sounded great and the band was on fire. I didn’t realize that Nigel Olsson and Davey Johnstone were still in the band which is pretty impressive, especially Nigel who had been there since 1969! The set just kept getting better throughout the night and he told a great story about Border Song that Aretha Franklin had covered in 1972:

Even though I had known the setlist already, it was great seeing/hearing Have Mercy on the Criminal from 1973’s Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player LP. It’s a great tune. It was just hit after hit and the whole show I had my brother on my mind. Music can be a bit emotional for me and Someone Saved My Life Tonight hit me pretty hard. There are a few lyrics in that one that punch me in the gut.

Then came Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, which opens the Yellow Brick Road album. So many memories and a wave of emptions came over me, but I maintained. Then Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word was played 2 songs later. This may be one of my all-time favorite non-metal songs ever. It was followed up with Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me and for whatever reason I always think of the live version with George Michael and the part where he says, “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Elton John!”:

He blasted through more hits and I really couldn’t believe how great his voice still sounded. Sure, he can’t hit those falsettos anymore, but he’s still incredible. Crocodile Rock (awful song) and Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting closed out the main set of 20 f’n songs.

For the encore they played the PNAU remix of Elton and Dua Lipa doing Cold Heart (a mix of several different songs), Your Song and finally Goodbye Yellow Brick Road…that was when I really couldn’t hold back from shedding a few tears for my brother. At the end of the song Elton walked onto a lift and walked out through an opening in the brick wall and that was that.

As I stated earlier, the band was on fire but I noticed that Nigel wasn’t doing a lot of his signature licks in some of the songs. For me some of that minutia needs to be there, but hey, he’s also in his 70s so I guess he gets a pass. Dave Johnstone, on the other hand, was absolutely badass.

Overall the show was 10/10 and while there were certainly other songs I would love to have heard, I have no real complaints.

Upon leaving, I had trouble finding our parking lot which took some extra time and was a bit frustrating but eventually we got there and I took Stephanie back to her car and I headed back to Austin. My friends Kyle and Dave were also there and we were texting before and after the show. They were headed to our favorite watering hole in Austin right after and I wasn’t going to get there until about 1:20AM. I was super hungry as I hadn’t eaten since lunch so I had him order some food ahead of my arrival as they were getting there before me and it was waiting for me when I arrived. I pretty much inhaled it and we all shared our thoughts about the show. A good time was had by all. Also, I hope I never have to see another big show at the Alamodome ever again.

Thank you, Elton (and Bernie), for the lifetime of quality music that will stick with me until my last day.

Written by The Metal Files

October 31, 2022 at 8:30 am

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