Elton John charms, thrills fans with Asheville show
Superstar rocker charms, thrills Asheville fans
There were plenty of similar stories Tuesday night, as fans streamed into the Civic Center arena, where John and Leon Russell performed.
Glenda and Bruce Starr made the drive from Marion. “This is her birthday present,” he said. To get tickets, they first joined the singer's Rocket Club fan group. “I have loved Elton John since I was a teen,” she said. “He is a part of my life.”
Cecilia Smith, now of Asheville, originally from Mexico City, is another longtime fan. She grabbed two tickets — one for herself, one for a daughter, but they wound up sitting in different spots in the Civic Center. “They were a little expensive, but still affordable,” she said.
Popular downtown street musician Bobby Sax was stationed in front of the Civic Center arena, ready to play a few Elton John hits for the passing crowd. He remained hopeful that someone might pass him a spare ticket. “He's one of my all-time favorite artists,” he said.
Inside the arena, the beloved pop legend didn't disappoint his fans, treating them to a night of his greatest hits. Music veteran Leon Russell opened the show. The two performers have lately been touring together, and earlier this year, released a new recording, “The Union.”
This was Elton John's second visit to Asheville. In 1998, he played solo, but this time, the star was backed by a five-piece band.
The sold-out crowd waited in anticipation for Sir Elton John's latest show here, surrounded by colorful balloons that filled the arena halls. A fog-like haze hung over the arena. Two huge projection screens provided up-close views of the stage.
Some fans carried vinyl 12-inch albums, perhaps in hope of getting them signed.
John soon followed — backed by a five-piece band including two drummers — turning out one hit tune after another: “Philadelphia Freedom.” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” A long sweet take on “Rocket Man.” After most songs he jumped to his feet and waved to the crowd. At one point, he wandered the stage pointing at fans in every corner of the room.
Many fans, intimate with his music, sang along to the well-known tunes.
After almost an hour, Russell returned to join John in playing tunes from their new album, “The Union.”
As for the economic impact of the show, it was felt far beyond the confines of the Civic Center.
Downtown was filled with traffic Tuesday night, both for John's concert and the sold-out Kiss Country Guitar Jam with Rodney Atkins and Gretchen Wilson a few blocks away at The Orange Peel music venue.
Crowds began arriving early, filling restaurants, pubs and parking lots around downtown.
Nov. 16, 2010 - Asheville Civic CenterSaturday Night's Alright for Fighting
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
Bennie and the Jets
I'm Still Standing
If It Wasn't for Bad (with Leon Russell)
Hey Ahab (with Leon Russell)
Gone to Shiloh (with Leon Russell)
Jimmy Rogers' Dream (with Leon Russell)
Monkey Suit (with Leon Russell)
The Best Part of the Day (with Leon Russell)
A Dream Come True (with Leon Russell)
When Love Is Dying (with Leon Russell)
Hearts Have Turned to Stone (with Leon Russell)
Never Too Old (To Hold Someone) (with Leon Russell)
In the Hands of Angels (with Leon Russell)
Burn Down the Mission
I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
Candle in the Wind
Piano Improvisations/Take Me to the Pilot
Sad Songs (Say So Much)
The Bitch Is Back