Elton John climbed the stairs to gain access to the stage for his sold out concert at the Tucson Arena on March 21. He quietly sat on his piano bench and he placed his hands on the piano keys as he looked down. “Funeral For a Friend” was the first song being played. As he familiarized himself to the surroundings, he looked up and around the arena. The reality of the sold out house set in. A smile slowly escaped his lips and he was on.
Few entertainers have accumulated the success that Elton John has. Sir John explained that 2017 was a very special year for him. He was proud to share with the audience that this tour celebrates the 50th anniversary that he and Bernie Taupin have been writing partners. He acknowledged that he would not be here if it wasn’t for Bernie. “Saturday will be my 70th birthday.” Also, this year marks the 20th year his aids foundation has been in existence and they have raised over $400,000,000 for aids research.
There really was not much banter during the two and a half hour show. Elton and his band gave Tucsonans everything that they came to see and hear. That was full versions of songs from the ‘Elton John Songbook.’ There were no medleys. The set encompassed songs from the beginning of his career like “Your Song” through his latest release, Wonderful, Crazy Night.
His five-piece band that included longtime members Nigel Olsson on drums and Davey Johnstone on guitar joined Sir Elton onstage. The video shown during “Rocket Man” seemed to be the most impressive with space in motion. However, the massive chandelier was also a fun background. Homage was paid to George Michael during “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” as George’s image was shown in the background video. He played a snippet of Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee” to honor Chuck Berry.
The multigenerational, wild crowd stood throughout the entire show, dancing and singing. Sir Elton said it best, “It’s been an amazing journey that I never thought would have happened. You’ve bought the records, the cassettes, the CDs, the merchandise, the DVDs but most importantly you’ve bought a ticket to see this show. As much as I love to make records I prefer to playing to you guys any day of the week.”
For a complete set list, please click here.