Elton John, the classic music man
By Zhang Rui
November 26, 2012
We should feel honored and blessed to have Sir Elton John performing in China. It presents us with the rare opportunity to witness the live music from a global icon.
The 65-year-old veteran singer pulled off a concert in Beijing on Sunday, his second time greeting his Chinese fans since 2004. He had just performed another concert the Friday night before in Shanghai.
"Bennie and the Jets," "Rocket Man," "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," "Candle in the Wind," "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," "Crocodile Rock," etc., John belted out one classic after another inside Beijing's former Olympic basketball venue, now renamed the MasterCard Center. There are simply too many hits in his 50-year-spanning career and 30 album-filling repertoire for him to pick and choose from.
Elton John has never in his concert wasted a single minute to bring the cheering crowds to pure ecstasy. The drum beats are heavy, the piano is overwhelming, the guitar is strumming wildly, the vocals are stunning and the vibe is just trembling. Although Elton John no longer wears his over-the-top 1970s and 1980s pomp and circumstance costumes any more, the music speaks for itself.
He and his old band members, including Scottish guitarist Davey Johnstone and longtime drummer Nigel Olsson, as well as his new friends and opening act 2Cellos, gave a profoundly powerful and ravishing performance.
It is worth to notice that not one, but two of his backup singers were actually Rose Stone, co-founder of the 1970s soul group Sly and the Family Stone, and Lisa Stone, Rose's daughter - though most Chinese audiences may not know who they are.
The encores were routine but touching: "Your Song" and "The Lion King"- theme "Circle of Life," with the accompanying Disney classic's footage showing on the stage's massive screens. The grand African intro took the beautiful remix of song to its next level. On the other hand, many Chinese were still left disappointed because they thought he would opt to sing another "The Lion King" hit: "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," the Oscar-winning song that once captured the hearts of many in China. But he didn't.
Yet the classics were never absent this night. Elton John, at his age, with such energy, reassured everyone that he is the one and only, the classic icon, the classic man.