Post-Elton

Sometimes at school, there’s a sharing circle where kids talk about their weekend.  With some of them, there’s a feeling of “I did this, I did that.”  The listing of events usually doesn’t move me.  I want to hear about some juicy moment.

Last night’s concert was stunning.  Wanting to tell you the details, I feel myself searching for a list: This happened, and then that, and then the other thing.  This song, then that one.  But right now, those details aren’t coming to me.  What can I say that will give you the juice?  Well.  I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll just trust that something good will come out of my fingers.

The man sat and stood at his piano for two and three-quarter hours.  Just Elton and his band.  No breaks.  Both the tiny figure on the stage and the vibrating human on the big screen were committed to us, determined that we would have an outstandingly good time.

The voice is absolutely unique – resonant, passionate, so beautifully present in every phrase.  The fingers flew over the keys in impossible combos.  And thanks to a close-up view on the screen, we got to see the flying.

Elton wore one long sequined coat and later another one.  I especially liked the floral jacket.  And the glasses … shining in the night.  He often stood and received our applause.  His extended his arms and gave it right back to his 15,000 friends.  It was a love-in.

He’s been making music for us for fifty years.  Last night was his twenty-sixth concert in Toronto.  He said he doesn’t need any more applause.  He wants to stop.  He wants to be with his young sons.  You go do that, my friend.

Onstage he loved Marilyn Monroe throughout Candle in the Wind.  He called out to Daniel.  He sang seemingly forever to Levon while his three drummers traded virtuosities back and forth.  He called out to us fans in Your Song.  And he took off with Rocket Man, treating us with out-of-this-world visuals and a sweet echoing of the title.  Gosh … Elton did just about everything.

Often I looked around the arena and watched the love.  So many times we stood and applauded.  So many times we thanked this humble British fellow who’s filled our lives with music.  Fifty years of contributing to human beings.  Wow.  And yet I know I’ve done the same, just without the public persona, the huge crowds, the fame.  We need to honour both Elton John and the spirit shining bright in each of us.  We make a difference, we human beings, as we stroll the sidewalks of our lives, as we talk to those who come our way.

Someone saved my life last night, and we the audience saved his

Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away
Bye bye

Goodbye Elton.  Thank you

Pre-Elton

Many of the kids in the Grade 5/6 class didn’t know who Elton John was. Oh my. How did I get this old? I showed them a YouTube video of Elton blasting out “Rocketman” in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. He glowed in a sparkling maroon jacket. Not much response from the young ones … and that’s okay.

Maybe ten years ago, Jody and I were ready at 10:00 am for the beginning of ticket sales for Elton in London, Ontario. I think she was on the Internet and me on the phone. We scored precisely zero, and the tickets were gone in seven minutes. What oh what went wrong?

Jody died a few years later, never having heard “Crocodile Rock” live. How sad for my dear wife. I wondered if I would ever hear the man in concert.

About a year ago, I heard that Elton was launching a farewell tour. It was finally time for retirement. “Okay, Bruce, get your rear in gear.” By the time I mobilized my backend, the event was sold out. (Sigh) And then a few months ago, my phone told me that Elton had just added more dates. Finally I seized the moment, and I was heading to Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on October 24, 2019, which happens to be today! So cool.

This afternoon, after muddling through thick traffic on the 401 for nearly three hours, I finally pulled into the Weston UP Express station. A leisurely twenty minutes later in a packed train, I was deposited only a few hundred metres from Elton land.

I’m actually here, and so is my beloved. Together we are fulfilling a dream that’s decades long. It’s 7:53, and dear Elton hopefully will favour us with his passion in seven minutes. Many thousands of human beings are sharing the space with me. Good for us.

There’ll be a “Post-Elton” post coming your way soon. Right now, a little smile has taken up residence on my face.