PHOTO: ELTON JOHN LEVIS JEANS ADVERSIMENT 1975
Rocket man gives Oshawa a boosthttp://www.thestar.com/news/article/1027941--rocket-man-gives-oshawa-a-boost
Published On Wed Jul 20 2011
Elton John and partner David Furnish appear at the Toronto premiere of the musical Billy Elliott earlier this year. It will be Oshawa's turn to host John in September.STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO
And lawdy mama, the excitement in Oshawa is in overdrive with news of the pop superstar’s concert in just 50 days.
“To have a living legend of the calibre of Elton John coming to Oshawa to do what he does is huge,” gushes Mayor John Henry. “And when he plays Crocodile Rock, it’ll be amazing.”
It’s been almost 40 years of hoppin’ and boppin’ to the song that mentions an “old gold Chevy,” and while the singer/songwriter may not have made the connection to Oshawa, the concert promoter certainly has.
“It’s home of the McLaughlin car,” says Riley O’Connor, referring to the automobile manufacturing company started by Sam McLaughlin in 1907, which became General Motors of Canada. “It’s a city of historical significance and the car manufacturing capital of the country.”
O’Connor, chairman of Live Nation Canada, has been working on bringing the “royalty of rock ’n’ roll” to the city of 152,000 for five years.
“It’s thrilling,” he says of finally booking the “Greatest Hits Live” show at the General Motors Centre on Sept. 9.
Tickets for the roughly 6,400 seats are expected to be snapped up in mere minutes when they go on sale for $91.50 and $151.50 at 10 a.m. Friday.
The concert, one of four stops in Canada on John’s current tour, is part of his game plan to play smaller markets, says O’Connor. The GM Centre was recently ranked 18th in the world for venues with a 5,000- to 10,000-seat capacity by Venues Today magazine.
Sir Elton is just the rocket man to blast the city into a happy place in the wake of last week’s loss of hundreds of jobs at a defunct call centre, says Henry. The event is another sign that Oshawa is open for business and that “we are very much an exciting community.”
He credited the KISS concert in October 2009 for putting the 5-year-old downtown arena on the map as a viable venue “with great sound.” Recent headliners include Alan Jackson, Great Big Sea and Sarah Brightman.
But there was no expectation to see anyone of John’s stature, says O’Connor, 60, who first visited the city to watch junior hockey games as a Montreal teenager.
It’s “absolutely important” to the solo artist to know about the places where he performs, adds the entertainment mogul. With a career spanning five decades and including 35 gold and 25 platinum albums, John has played almost 3,000 concerts worldwide.
Now add the ’Shwa, where they’re already feeling the love tonight.
Lawdy mama, Elton cominghttp://www.metronews.ca/toronto/local/article/922462--lawdy-mama-elton-coming
jacques boissinot/the canadian press
Tickets for Elton John’s concert in Oshawa are expected to be snapped up in minutes when they go on sale Friday.