Rocketman Hits Toronto

Elton John
September 7, 2005
Last night veteran singer, songwriter, pianist and performer Elton John showed off a little of all these talents on the Air Canada Centre stage for his second of two shows.

Elton started the evening off introducing the crowd to his new album The Peachtree Road. With the backing of an eight-person choir and a full band he presented each song to the crowd knowing most people wouldn't be familiar with the new material.

Though the new tunes were a mix of Gospel; "Answer in the Sky," and "All that I'm Allowed," and even a little bit of country in the Elvis inspired "Porch Swing in Tupelo" each were written with that Elton flair that made them all sound like unforgettable pop tunes.

Chatting candidly with the crowd when introducing the touching tune "My Elusive Drug" he spoke about kicking his sixteen-year drug habit and finally finding the man of his dreams, David Furnish, whom the song was written about, "And he's from here, in Toronto," Elton added with a grin.

After spending the first half an hour or so making the attentive but quiet crowd familiar with his newest recordings the opening bars of his 70's hit "Pinball Wizard" brought the crowd roaring to their feet.

The rest of the two hour and forty-five minute show consisted mostly of his crowd-pleasing, chart toppers from the past few decades. Though he's not quite as flamboyant as he was in the 70's with his platform shoes and oversized glasses and he's not quite as energetic, getting up from his piano after each tune only to take a swig of water and wave at the audience he easily kept the crowd's attention.

Highlights of the night were numerous but included an extended version of "Rocket Man" showcasing the talents of the band and Elton's furious fingers tickling the ebonies and ivories. A dedication to Ray Charles during "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word" a tune Elton recorded with the soul legend before his passing, and high energy soulful renditions of hits like "Philadelphia Freedom", "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and "I'm Still Standing".

Before singing his first encore Sir Elton whipped a Sharpie he'd brought from backstage to grant the first few rows of fans an autograph before busting out with "Crocodile Rock".

But perhaps the most telling moment was during his final encore, stripping his flashy embroidered suit coat and replacing it with a black zip up sweatshirt and sitting alone on the piano without the bright lights or flashing screens or even his backup band he dedicated "Your Song" to his fans here in Toronto.

Even with all the spectacle and energy of the rest of the evening, stripped down to just his piano and the unique, unmistakable sound of his voice, you couldn't keep your eyes off of him. It was the highlight of the night.

Writer: Michelle Garcia

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