I was surprised and delighted when Tom, a close friend from high school days who I never see at reunions because he's a year younger, bothered to google my name to find my e-mail address and send me the link to the article below. (He found me at the TCPC website.) Otherwise I would have missed the 60th birthday of my favorite performer!
Tom was one of a group of 6 people who went together to see/hear Elton John on the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road tour in 1974 at the Cleveland Colesium Stadium (demolished several years ago). St. Peggy (my mom) drove us there and back and sat in the car knitting while we listened to the concert. That concert was a week after John Lennon appeared for the last time on stage with Elton John at Madison Square Garden which EJ referred to yesterday. I remember EJ telling us about it that night at the concert. They had covered "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "When I Saw Her Standing There" (Elton sang it without Lennon in Cleveland on that night but was still "fresh" from the experience in NYC with Lennon.)
"Hey, Hey, Johnny" was released on an album just months after our friend Chuck Collinge died of brain cancer--less than a year after Lennon's assisation. It was my mourning song for them both.
Long live Sir Elton who has had quite a life journey getting to 60 but is still achieving grace...as are we all. I liked Elton when he was an outrageous sexually confused in his 20s and 30s, applauded him when he got sober in the 90s, was happy for him when he found a life partner in David Furnish a few years later. I still love him now that he's a sedate 60 year old musical master composing broadway shows and movie scores--not to mention writing/composing and recording a sequal last year to the Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy album with lyricist Bernie Taupin. (Which I accidently stumbled onto him hawking live on the Home Shopping Network last fall.) I've never wanted to go to Las Vegas--until he started performing there! Hey Tom, should we get the gang together to go hear/see The Red Piano sometime before it closes? We could make it the Chuck Collinge memorial concert tour!
Celebration, sadness at Elton John's 60th bash
POSTED: 8:48 a.m. EDT, March 26, 2007
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- British pop singer Elton John celebrated his 60th birthday at Madison Square Garden on Sunday by recalling late Beatle John Lennon and raising his own record for most appearances at the storied New York venue.
Wearing rose-tinted glasses and a black tail coat, John sat at his piano and played more than 30 hit songs from a career spanning four decades. He began with "Sixty Years On," after an introduction by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
John told the elated crowd filled with supporters and friends, including his lyricist partner Bernie Taupin, that the arena was the obvious choice to ring in his birthday, with a record-breaking 60th concert there.
"I knew I had 59 shows here and I said the only place I wanted to be was in New York City at Madison Square Garden," he said, before later thanking the crowd for their "loyalty, love and support" in a three-hour long performance.
He recalled two memorable performances at the arena -- playing after the September 11 attacks, as well as in November, 1974, when John Lennon joined him on stage in what turned out to be Lennon's last concert appearance.
"I have never heard a reception for anyone like that in my life," he said, saying how he still mourned Lennon's death.
"It's too upsetting for me to sing it anywhere else," he told the crowd before singing "Empty Garden," with the lyrics "Oh hey, hey, Johnny can't you come out to play?" -- he and Taupin's tribute song to Lennon following his death.
Taupin joined comedians Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams on stage to sing "Happy Birthday," telling the audience "there is nobody I have more respect and love for than him."
John retorted that without Taupin, "we wouldn't be here tonight, because the words have always come first," before launching into their hit 1973 hit "Daniel."
The crowd swayed and sang along to many of his songs including "Honky Cat," "Bennie and the Jets," "Rocket Man," "Sad Songs Say So Much," and "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues."
John displayed none of the outrageous costumes and wigs that were once his trademark, a penchant that Williams joked made John "a man who used to make Liberace look Amish."
John, born Reginald Dwight, has increasingly been outspoken against homophobia following his December 2005 civil partnership ceremony with David Furnish. He dedicated "Something About The Way You Look Tonight" to Furnish.
The concert ended with, "Your Song," which in 1971 gave John his first hit single in a career that eventually sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.