Well I’ll start out by saying it was my Birthday weekend and to be heading to a beautiful coastal town to see the legendary Elton John sure is a memory I wont soon forget.
Upon driving into Wollongong it’s quite clear to see that Elton fever had hit the town. The streets were flooded with people having afternoon drinks and looking their best. The coastal air was filled with the collective excitement of the thousands of concert goers. Starting out the night were acoustic duo Busby Marou. They provided a chilled out soundtrack to the start of the evening.
The time had finally come for Elton John to take the stage. The sun went down almost in sync with his appearance as the stage lights lit up the band then he appeared to huge cheers from the crowd. He wasted no time getting straight into the music starting out with “the bitch is back” then following on with a crowd favourite “bennie and the jets”.
He genuinely looked happy to be on stage to the adoring Wollongong crowd and would come out from behind the piano to acknowledge thousands in attendance between songs. More familiar crowd favourites would then follow including “I guess that’s why they call it the blues” and “Daniel”. A few more songs in then I finally got to hear my absolute favourite Elton John song live “tiny dancer”. Memories of the film Almost Famous came flooding back to me along with the indescribable emotion you get when an artist performs your favourite song by them.
Following on Elton would show off his piano skills with the band having left the stage he would guide us through a solo version of the Australian classic “Waltzing Matilda”. Allowing Elton to rest his vocals as the audience took on vocal duties. This was a captivating moment as he was alone on stage and paying homage to the land he was in by playing an Australian classic. The band would then re-join him onstage for more hits including “Rocket Man”, “Sorry seems to be the hardest Word” and “Your Song”.
“Don’t let the sun go down on me” included a backdrop featuring an image of George Michael. A beautiful tribute to a talented songwriter gone too soon. That was then followed up by the classic “I’m still standing” which literally got everyone up and dancing. This man really knows how to get an entire crowd moving and with only a few song left he made you feel more like it was a Saturday night then a Sunday. Finishing the set with the highly appropriate “crocodile rock”, “your sister can’t twist” and then “Saturday nights alright for fighting”. He then thanked the crowd and even signed some autographs for people in the front row as he left the stage. With the audience not willing to leave the arena just yet as they cheered and awaited an encore.
Elton John returned to the stage to play us an encore and gave us his iconic song “candle in the wind”. The light of thousands of phones lit up the outdoor arena as if to emulate candles in the wind. It was truly beautiful to hear Elton perform this song live and a moment I became lost in, truly unforgettable. As Elton took his final bows to huge cheers and applause from the enamoured crowd it wasn’t long before they were cheering again as his helicopter took to the sky and the rocket man left Wollongong.
Walking away from the venue I couldn’t help but smile along with the thousands of others on the streets of Wollongong that were definitely feeling the Elton love tonight.
(Photo Gallery and Review by Christian Ross)
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