The Metal Files

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Posts Tagged ‘elton john

Elton John Concert Review, Austin, TX October 17, 2013

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I’ve gone on and on about how one of my brothers was such a huge influence on me in the ways of hard rock and metal, but he also influenced me in some non-heavy stuff, the main one being Elton John.  As a kid I can remember sitting with him listening to the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album as much as we did KISS and Jethro Tull or Sabbath.  The music has stayed a part of my life to this day and still listen to Elton quite regularly, sticking mostly to his late 60s/70s stuff.

Elton has been to Austin at least one other time since I have lived here and I am not sure why I missed that show.  Bummer.  When I saw this show announced, I knew I had to go…and I knew I’d pay a hefty price for it.  The show was part of a benefit for the Andy Roddick Foundation and they were only selling show seats for the upper balcony.  I logged in on sale day and couldn’t get a ticket anywhere in the theater.  It sold out so fast and I’m sure that most went to ticket brokers/scalpers.  Not once have I not been able to get a ticket to a show there through normal ticketing.  Then again, this was a big show.  I ended up getting a 2nd row balcony ticket through StubHub for almost double face value and I didn’t care.  This was a show I just had to see.

I got to the venue a little after 9 when they opened the doors for us little people, the ones not in suits and gowns who were there to bid on auction items to benefit the Foundation.  They had the balcony curtained off during the auction until the last few minutes of it.  People were throwing around 1000s of dollars on items like it was nothing.  Good for them.

Andy comes on stage and talks for a minute, plays a 3 minute video about his charity then intros Elton.  They hug, he leaves the stage, Elton bows, sits behind the piano and says, “Hello again, Austin!” and goes right into Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.  It was just him and a piano and it was perfect.  He followed it up with Your Song, another favorite of mine.

I’ll admit to getting choked up when Goodbye Yellow Brick Road started.  Lots of emotions and had me missing my brother once again.

With only having less than 90s minutes to play, his set wasn’t that long but it was a decent cross section of his career.  I would have been fine without Circle of Life and would love to have heard Madman Across the Water, Seen That Movie Too, The One, but oh well.

Elton’s voice sounded great.  A little deeper but still very powerful.  He certainly can’t hit those falsettos nowadays, but hell, he’s 66.  His piano playing was immaculate.  He’s a master.  he played a new song called Home Again from the latest album and it sounded great.  It was cool to hear I’m Still Standing.  I’ve always liked that one a lot.

Before the show I was sitting with some friends at a bar and we were discussing the biggest bands we had ever seen.  Elton would be #2 behind the Stones for me.  Metallica probably #3.

I hate that I waited so long to see him live, but will not hesitate to go again.

Maybe you’ll get a replacement, there’s plenty like me to be found…

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Today I am ecstatic.  I just learned that Elton John is coming to Austin @ The Frank Erwin Center on April 10, 2010.  Tickets are $45-$125, which is pretty cheap all things considered.  I’m definitely going.  Sure, it’s a greatest hits tour, but many of those hits came from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road which has been a lifelong favorite of mine and I’m sure to hear several from that record.  Like seeing Iron Maiden the first time, I’m sure this will be a memorable show.

As I have stated before, my older brother Robert was a big influence on me musically when I was a kid.  he got me into KISS, Alice Cooper, RUSH, Judas Priest, Uriah Heep and yes, Elton John.  Similar to what I wrote about in the Alice Cooper blog a while back, this album takes me back to far simpler times.  Either living in Camelot (yes, that was the name of our neighborhood) or on the farm, this album was listened to a lot by my brother and me.  It always takes me back to those good times.  It still amazes me how music can connect like that.  Even siting here just thinking about the intro to Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding I have goosebumps and am even getting a little choked up.  How un-metal of me!  But facts are facts.  Music gets me emotional…or rather I get myself emotional to music.  However one wants to look at it.

His collaborations with Bernie Taupin have been phenomenal.  On top of that, Elton is a great performer.  Flamboyant, funny, talented.

Seeing Elton live will close my concert circle a little more…you know…that list of bands that you always wanted to see but never got to.  Elton is one of them.  What’s even nicer is that I’ll be able to walk to the show…5 blocks!

Written by The Metal Files

February 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm

How You Gonna See Me Now

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One of my older brothers, Robert, was a pretty big influence on me musically in my pre-teen years.  He was the one who got me into KISS, Priest, RUSH, Uriah Heep, The Stones, The Who and thankfully Alice Cooper.

Now, I’m not the biggest Cooper fan in the world even though I own pretty much everything up to and including Constrictor.  But some of his albums are very special to me…especially From The Inside.  This seems to be one that alot of Cooper fans love to hate.  For me it’s brilliant.  Sure it got slick production and had songwriting credits from Bernie Taupin (Elton John) and guitar work from Steve Lukather (Toto).  Philip Bailey even adds a cameo falsetto on the album albeit uncredited.

Throughout the late 70s and early 80s I spun this album a lot.  I know every lick and sound on this album by heart.  I can recite it in my sleep.  When we lived on the farm, Thomas would come over from time to time and hang out and we’d spin this one.  I remember he especially liked the closing track “Inmates (We’re All Crazy)’.

There’s not a stinker on here.  As a kid I didn’t get some of the references on this album like this from “Nurse Rosetta”:

I’m suddenly twice my size
My pants are all wet inside

C’mon.  I was under 12 years old, I had no clue.  haha.

In case you didn’t know and have been living under a rock, this is a concept album about living in a mental institution.  Sure, a bit cliche for Cooper but it worked.  I really like “Millie and Billie”, “For Veronica’s Sake” and especially “Jackknife Johnny”, “How You Gonna See Me Now” and “The Quiet Room”.  Cooper really displays the sadness and depression of the characters in these songs. 

And of course when I spin this on CD now, it really takes me back to those days in the late 70s and early 80s…far simpler times.  I mean really, what worries did I have when I was 10 or 11?  Not too many.  Mostly just worried about my brother and the trouble he was getting into.  That really did take a toll on me at a young age.  I looked up to him a lot and watched him go down some pretty bad paths.  Unfortunately I couldn’t help him although I wanted to.  I felt it was my job.  But there was nothing I could do, especially being 6 years younger than him.  I was his bratty little brother and with the things he was getting into, we weren’t as close as we were when we were both younger.

I will say that even today I am surprised that he’s still alive.  I had to learn at a young age that I couldn’t live his life for him…a life lesson for me.  A difficult lesson when it’s about someone that you love and looked up to.

So again, when I listen to this album and think about the time when I first heard it (I was 8 and he was 14), those were good times…sunny days…but really the beginnings of some dark years ahead.