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Elton Yawn


LobsterLvr

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I went to see Sir Reginald at Madison Square Garden the other night. Maybe I've been spoiled by the latest 'Berries shows, cuz I was B-O-R-E-D! The only song I totally enjoyed was "Bitter Fingers" (from Capt. Fan...which he played almost in its entiiiiirrrrreeeetttttyyyyy.) Does anyone else hate "Bennie and the Jets" as much as I do?? Don't get me wrong, Elton can still sing and play the piano incredibly. But his days of selling out venues like NYC's Garden are coming to an end.

Dave

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Never was really impressed with "Capt. Fantastic", as a whole, although "Writing" was a decent song. I also heard an alternate take of "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" with a short guitar solo---they should have used THAT take instead of the one on the single/album. "Meal Ticket" gets old really quick. "Caribou" and "Rock of the Westies" are better albums by far.

Elton has two problems......one is coming from the fact he is doing "contrived" and "manufactured" compositions......I don't think he's really putting that much emotion into the songs, or using free-flow in the writing process.

Take for example, that "Aida" thing.....Disney gave Elton and Tim Rice a lot of money to re-

write it........and for what reason? The music and Italian lyrics from that Joe Green guy(or was it Pucchini?)were perfectly fine.

The second thing is that he plays Vegas too damn much. Nothing against the city, but the emphasis is playing and performing----NOT songwriting. It's OK for non-writers such as Wayne Newton or Tom Jones.....but for writers, Vegas sucks any kind of creativity out of you.

Elton isn't alone. Paul Anka is doing other people's stuff these days, instead of being the great songwriter he is.

Kind of lost interest in Elton the past few years.

Mostly because the songs just aren't interesting.

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I saw Elton a few years ago after working with him on a milk ad and the show I caught was EXTRAORDINARY! He had drummer Nigel Olsson and guitarist Davey Johnstone on stage with him and performed most of GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD to perfection! It was quite an amazing show. From your review it sounds like he may be sleepwalking through his latest tour, Dave. But I can assure you that Sir Elton still has it in him to wow a crowd if he's in the mood. 🙂

Bernie

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Will have to check into "Peachtree" and "West Coast"......haven't really heard any tracks off either of those.....

But I guess in the late 90s and the early part of this decade, I haven't really eagerly went looking for his music, either. Got a bit turned of a really worn-out version of "Candle in the Wind" I saw on TV, which was pathetic. Not to mention that doing that "Aida" thing.

Kind of turned me off and hey, maybe I wasn't paying attention to the fact that there is new material out. Will have to take your advice and check out both of those albums.

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I never liked "Bennie..." either. I, too, loved his early work. When I first discovered him, he blew me away. He was magnificent live. I hope his shows aren't declining. From what Bernie says, it sounds like it's just his current tour that's not that exciting. He has greatness in him, that's for sure.

🙂 --D

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Although it has been a few years, I had the pleasure of witnessing Elton John perform in concert twice in my lifetime, both times at Madison Square Garden. At the first concert I attended, my friend Bill & I loved his performance...which was a dream come true for me, to finally be able to attend an Elton John concert. For the second concert (two years later), I attended it with my friends...Ron, Connie & Bill. Once again, Bill & I enjoyed Elton's performance, but Ron & Connie complained that his two hour performance was too short. (Connie had just attended a Bruce Springsteen concert, which she said lasted four hours.) Thus, even though four of us attended the same performance, not all of us shared the same opinion. Different strokes for different folks!

Gee, I happen to like the song "Bennie and the Jets". In fact, for the second concert, I recall writing a song parody titled "Billy and Jeff". At the moment, the song line "Connie and Ronnie haven't seen him yet...oh, they're so spaced out...but not Billy and Jeff..." is the only line that I remember. However, I must have it saved somewhere in my records. 🧐

I had not heard about Elton John's recent concert until the weekend of the Raspberries' performance in Atlantic City. At first, I was disappointed that I had not learned about Elton's show earlier. Then I considered that I had already seen Elton twice in concert, my finances had recently been stretched to the limit and it was best that I attend a Raspberries' performance now after waiting all these years. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I now have attended as many Raspberries' concerts as Elton John concerts. Wow, after I had spent all of those years waiting for the improbable event of a Raspberries' concert, it seemed odd that I now had actually attended two Raspberries' performances, all within a two month time period. 😬 Oh well, I guess you should never say never.

Jeff

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  • 17 years later...

Bump... an interesting old thread where Elton takes a bit of a beating. Dave (Lobster) trashed his live show after seeing a him at a concert at the time (2005). C'mon, Dave! This assessment is kind of ironic, considering the way Elton has been packing huge stadiums the past couple decades and beyond: "...his days of selling out venues like NYC's Garden are coming to an end."

Also, Bernie: You did a milk mustache ad with Elton. I went looking for it and found it on eBay. Nice shoot! Love the all-white objects behind Elton. His polka-dot suit really pops. Did he play any songs for you?  

116-Elton_John.jpg

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This was quite an extraordinary day for me, LC.

Famous celebrity photographer David LaChapelle shot this photo in Los Angeles in 2000. Elton was in town recording what would become his "Songs from the West Coast" album. It was my idea to have an all-white set: room, piano, glass of milk with Elton wearing a very brightly colored outfit. My copywriting partner supplied the headline tying the Elton John hit song title to the ad's message about osteoporosis. David added some extra touches like the white cake, chandelier and cow sculptures.

The day we were scheduled to shoot, Elton's people called to let us know he worked late in the studio the night before and would need to postpone a day, so we wrapped and came back the next day. That day, another call came that Elton just simply couldn't make it, "Let's try tomorrow," they said. Keep in mind, these postponements cost lots of money. We had a full crew and a rented studio with a fully-built set ready for action. Not to mention a truckload of lighting and camera equipment, stylists, makeup artists, etc. Everyone was getting paid to sit around and do nothing. These were expensive photoshoots costing hundreds of thousands of dollars!

At this point, David—who is a good friend of Elton's—tells me a story about another photoshoot he did with him. MasterCard was sponsoring Elton's tour that year and wanted some publicity shots for an advertising campaign. When Elton came to the set, he only had time to pose for a few frames, saying, "You've got your photos. I have to go now." When the MasterCard advertising manager complained, Elton told her to shove her complaint somewhere—the location I'll keep private, but use your imagination.

On the third day we got devastating news, "Elton is not going to be able to make it." David told me he didn't think Elton was making these decisions himself and we needed to get past his "people." David told me Elton collected Jeff Koons dog sculptures, so he had one of his assistance purchase something at a nearby gallery and send it to Elton with a note that said, "Sorry we couldn't work things out for the photoshoot. If anything in your schedule changes, we're all ready for you."

koons_dog.jpg

Mere moments after Elton received the gift, David's phone rings. It's Elton. "David! Thank you so much for your very thoughtful gift. I didn't know we had a photoshoot scheduled for today. I'll be right over."

Seriously...this happened.

Ever since we started the milk campaign, each celebrity's mustache was created live on the set with a glass brought up to their lips. Real milk on lips. Oh, we added some other dairy products—ice cream, yogurt, cream cheese—to the concoction to allow it to last longer than a real milk mustache so we didn't have to keep applying it too often. But we never added mustaches using Photoshop or any other post-effect.

After hearing David's MasterCard story I just wanted to get a photo of Elton on that set so I'd have an ad. I told David, "Don't worry about the mustache this time. The minute Elton gets here, just get him in front of your camera so I can have an ad to run." He agreed. We'd make it as painless as possible.

Elton arrived. He loved the concept and picked the magenta polka dot outfit himself from a few Gianni Versace combos pre-selected for him to choose from. He got onto set and David started snapping away. Then, all of a sudden...Elton stops and shouts, "Hold on. HOLD ON!"

"Here it comes," I thought. "He's going to tell me where to shove my idea." Instead, Elton asks, "Where's my milk mustache?" True story.

Not only did Elton pose for hundreds of photos. He asks what David was doing for lunch and David told him he was having lunch catered at the studio for the crew. So Elton asks, "Can I join you?"

Elton sits right next to David and I sit directly across from him at the table. Yes. I had lunch with Elton John. It was an off-the-cuff, unguarded, unrehearsed and uncensored Elton...the one that doesn't appear on talk shows. Some of the stories he told had me laughing my ass off. Not only is he a remarkable talent, but he is a sweet, funny, endearing man— who has a genuine knack for telling a story.

Yeah, I worked a job like everyone else. But my job was unlike everyone else's.

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Holy cow! What a great story--thanks for taking the time to go into such detail! You paint some great pictures with words, especially in the frustration of that waiting game. I know some celebs get bad raps, but I'd bet (from my experience) that it's usually "his people" or "her people" who are setting up roadblocks.

That is incredibly cool you had lunch with Elton John. So cool. I hope you told him to keep an eye on the website you had just started, because he'd get all kinds of accolades from EC fans. 

Thanks again for the details! 

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On 9/23/2005 at 10:33 PM, LobsterLvr said:

I went to see Sir Reginald at Madison Square Garden the other night. Maybe I've been spoiled by the latest 'Berries shows, cuz I was B-O-R-E-D! The only song I totally enjoyed was "Bitter Fingers" (from Capt. Fan...which he played almost in its entiiiiirrrrreeeetttttyyyyy.) Does anyone else hate "Bennie and the Jets" as much as I do?? Don't get me wrong, Elton can still sing and play the piano incredibly. But his days of selling out venues like NYC's Garden are coming to an end.

 

Dave

They are ending, He is not touring the US again! and he means it!

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