Elton John | First Direct Arena | Leeds | 8 June 2017

Reviewed for The Northern Echo

Sir Elton John - now sufficiently recovered from the potentially deadly virus he contracted when on tour in South America to this week announce a 27 night Las Vegas residency - performed a memorable concert on his return to Leeds Arena this week.

Flamboyantly dressed in red shirt, lilac trousers and matching frock coat with the sobriquet “Fantastic" embroidered across the shoulders it was obvious from his beaming smile Sir Elton was glad to be back on stage doing what he does best.

Perhaps with tongue in cheek, Captain Fantastic opened with The Bitch Is Back, alternating his grins between audience and his stellar band, which included stalwart guitarist Davey Johnstone and drummer Nigel Olsson who have played with him since the early seventies.

Benny and the Jets, a gorgeous version of I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues, Take Me To The Pilot and Daniel followed in a breathless start to the show.

I Want Love, with a MCR/LDN backdrop, was dedicated to the recent victims of terrorism, and there was also an emotional tribute to George Michael during Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me.

The performance was career encompassing and included songs from 1970’s self-titled album right through to last year’s Wonderful Crazy Nights release.

But mostly it was solid gold classics all the way – Your Song, Tiny Dancer, Philadelphia Freedom, Sad Songs, Rocket Man, I’m Still Standing, Crocodile Rock, and Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting. The finale, of course, with the crowd singing and swaying along was an emotional Candle In The Wind.


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