NO one could ever accuse Elton John of shirking.
Star rating: ****
For over two hours tonight he performed virtually non-stop as part of a year-long world tour, following hot on the stack-heels of last year’s expedition celebrating the 40th anniversary of classic album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
He began with a salvo from that opus, including prog-pop epic Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, Bennie and The Jets and a perfunctory Candle In The Wind. No one needs to hear that overplayed schlock again, least of all Elton. He looked far more driven on Yellow Brick deep-cut All The Girls Love Alice, and visibly hit his stride during the jubilant Philadelphia Freedom.
When particularly enthused he broke out that signature O-mouthed rock face – the one where he looks like he’s caught his privates in the piano lid – and flashed endearing little smiles at the crowd.
Despite his superstar status, in those fleeting moments he still resembled the shy, chubby, music-loving kid from Pinner. Even an old pro like Elton can’t fake that humanity.
Though his upper-register is long gone – Levon was virtually unrecognisable – his reduced vocal range added weathered tenderness to Tiny Dancer and a solo Your Song.
But as an entertainer, the man is indefatigable. His marathon climaxed with – what else? - a gaudy tumult of rockers including The Bitch Is Back, Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting and Crocodile Rock. Age shall not wither his showbiz spirit.