Monday, 10 July 2017

Elton John

24th June 2017

Airdrie Excelsior Stadium

“Good Evening, Airdrie” announced Sir Elton, a couple of songs into his show.  “Now, that's something I never thought I'd say”.  Too right, Reg.  When I think about it, it is quite probably a phrase which has never been uttered at a rock concert before.  Ever.  But the good folks of Airdrie took it all in good grace, although I would hazard the audience this evening was probably drawn from all over the country, this being Elton's only Scottish stop on his Wonderful Crazy Night Tour.

Neither Wife nor I were ever huge fans, but sometimes the casual bird catches the worm, as they (don't) say.  We had thought we may pitch up at Airdrie for this gig, if there was nothing decent on TV that evening, even though we were aware only rubbishy seats at the rear and sides were left.

But clearly, a few days before the event, all those exhorbitantly priced VIP Deal tickets which had not shifted, were now being made available for standard prices (without the extras, of course).  So wife and I picked up briefs (not adjacent, admittedly) within the front few rows.

Things got even better for Wife when, with half a dozen or so songs remaining, the first five rows (I was in row six) were invited by the stewards down to the stage front to dance/take pix or generally ogle Sir E.  Hence the decent close-ups she caught with her primitive wee phone.

Elton John - Airdrie 2017

Elton John - Airdrie 2017

Elton John - Airdrie 2017

Anyway – gig review:  well the voice may no longer have the range nor be able to quite wring out the subtleties from Bernie Taupin's lyrics as it once could, but one could not fault Elton and his band's professionalism and musicianship.  Although drummer Nigel Olson's white gloves did appear more than little odd.

Elt effortlessly negotiated the opening few songs; a mixture of hits and less-well known (to me) album tracks, fleshed out with a brace from his new album.  Of these new un's Looking Up was a pleasing up-tempo rocker which went down well, but A Good Heart was probably a touch too introspective to be appreciated first time around.  

But the gig stepped up a gear with Levon from the Madman Across the Water album,  with which Elton decided to show off his piano skills.  This virtuoso work carried on into a solo piano piece which regretfully, incorporated that toe-curlingly bad tune Scotland The Brave.  Never Mind.  A wonderful Rocket Man followed, and before long The Man was again showing off his dexterous digits on the jaunty Burn Down the Mission.

From there the hits just kept on a-flowing, culminating in the closest Elt ever got to heavy metal with Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting.

It appeared to me that EJ had genuinely enjoyed himself this evening, but when he was almost offstage, I clearly saw him gobbing a big greaser onto the floor, which rather shocked me, I have to say.  For it made me wonder if we had, in some way, failed to meet his expectations. 

Although perhaps, I pondered, this was a ritual he performed after each gig – a sort of dog-marking his territory type thing.  Or maybe, like a footballer, a rock 'n' roll star requires to expectorate more than the rest of us.  There may have been absolutely nothing to the business, of course, but the sight did leave a (not, thankfully, literal) bitter taste in the mouth.

But to be fair, the Old Goat did return and sing his beautiful song for Marilyn.

Davey Johnstone

Elt came to the front of the stage and signed programmes, CDs and albums at the end of the gig.
(Greaser not pioctured).

Set list

The Bitch is Back
Bennie and the Jets
I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues
Take Me To the Pilot
Looking Up
A Good Heart
Philadelphia Freedom
I Want Love
Tiny Dancer
Piano solo – including Scotland The Brave
Rocket Man
Have Mercy on the Criminal
Your Song
Burn Down the Mission
Sad Songs (Say So Much)
Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me
I'm Still Standing
Crocodile Rock
Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n' Roll) 
Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting

Candle in the Wind


  1. Strange one this. I had VIP tickets to this event in Ardrie, & have to say that Elton & his band walked off the stage at the end without any indication it was over; Elton then returned himself, sung one more, then walked off again, end of concert. I never saw him sign anything, & he obviously couldn't get away any faster (had a police escort from the stadium within 5 minutes of leaving the stage) & for the money I spent, we were left feeling robbed; the first time I'd ever been to an outdoor concert where it finished & it was still daylight. To say I was disappointed, is an understatement, having previously seen him to t great solo show years before. This hasn't stopped me getting tickets for SSE Hydro gig, just hope he makes this one memorable as it's his final tour, hope so.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
      This was the first time I has seen EJ, so have nothing to compare it with. But we certainly enjoyed the show, and I thought it rather considerate of the man to spend 5 minutes or so signing stuff. (He did, honest - see the pix).
      And I hadn't thought about it, but you are correct, it did feel odd leaving the venue whilst was it was still light.
      We have no plans to do the Hydro gig, unless we get lucky again with the unsold VIPs.

      Best wishes. Ian