It’s still a YEAR away!
Crikey, talk about planning ahead. Reggie’s not coming until January … I’m already bursting with excitement.
Way back when I was in Year 11 at school in 1982, we were bundled into the car in Umina and taken on a mystery trip. Almost 2 hours later we were in the Knee of Syd, still with no idea what was going on. Then we saw the billboard outside the place where we’d parked, which turned out to be Moore Park, outside the old Hordern Pavillion next to the SCG. It was a giant poster of the man in the Electric Boots and the Mohair Suit. Yep, I’m talking about Reginald Kenneth Dwight, more commonly known these days as Elton Hercules John.
We’d never been to a really big concert like this before, but as the realisation set in that EJ was actually going to play live for us, we knew we were in for something special. Elton was a ‘go to’ at our place, with nobody ever objecting to his vinyls getting an endless spin, a bit different to the other different and eclectic tastes in the family which included AC/DC, Nana Mouskouri, Australian Crawl or Cliff Richard just to name a few. We knew all the words to the big hits and couldn’t wait to hear Rocket Man and Bennie & the Jets. We were begging the man behind the piano to tell us that Saturday Night was indeed Alright For Fighting. He didn’t let us down. Opening the show with enough smog from the smoke machine to get in trouble with the EPA, he played the 11 minute masterpiece Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding, a memory that I’ll take to my grave. I vowed then that if he were ever to come back to Oz, I’d be there.
Well, I honoured that commitment a few more times. Me and a few uni friends headed to the Ent Cent. in 1984 or the Too Low For Zero concert set, and he brought the house down again as he pulled out all the classics with a smattering of the new tunes. His lead guitarist Davey, the ageless one, never seemed to get sick of sliding his fingers up and down the frets as we all sang ‘I think it’s gonna be a long, long time … ♫’.
Then in 1987 he did the tour to top all tours. With none other than the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra providing extra backing, he dusted off a lot of the oldies from the late 60s and early 70s. I slept out overnight outside the box office at Grace Brothers in Bondi Junction to be one of the first to grab tickets. Crazy, maybe. Worth every cent and hour spent lying on the concrete, you bet. It’d be worth it to YouTube the live version of the song ‘Tonight’ with the MSO if you haven’t experienced it. Then he rocked the joint in the second half of the show with the Orchestra doing a fine job to keep up. Best Concert, Ever.
Now The Bitch is (coming) Back to the Land Down Under for one last time. Of course, we’re going. Twice actually, once in Sydney to get us primed, and then to the Bathurst show, where we’ve paid an arm and a leg for our seats (pretty) close to the front. I don’t think I’ll be lucky enough to actually thank ol’ Elty in person for all the joy he’s brought me/us for 50 years, but I’m gonna make some noise in the audience that’s for sure. Could we be lucky enough to hear ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ again? … there’s a rumour it’s in the set, so here’s hoping. Next January, wow, that’s far away.