Monday, November 26, 2007

Canungra Review

THE Rocket Man, Sir Elton John, last night delivered what must rank as one of the most brilliant displays of musical genius seen on the Gold Coast with a two-hour celebration of his career -- in a Canungra horse paddock.

It was about as far away as you could get from playing before royalty, but the Elysian polo fields were transformed into a $5 million world-class music theatre as 10,000 people from across Queensland and further afield sang the night away to the music legend's greatest hits.

Sir Elton caught many by surprise when he strode out on to the stage 15 minutes early.

The low-key entrance sent the crowd into raptures with a standing ovation.

Sir Elton didn't let the crowd down with his outfit. The man who has sold more than 250 million records graced the stage in a purple shirt and eye-catching black suit that included a massive jukebox embroidered on the back with the words 'Music Magic'.

The front of the suit featured an embroidered image of Sir Elton standing on a rocket keyboard.

After he walked on to the stage, Sir Elton bowed to the crowd, waved and gave them a good look at his outfit, front and back.

He said nothing before taking a sip of water and launching into the opening number, Your Song.

Dressed in sequined tails, the British rock legend treated the rustic Hinterland conditions with humour – at one point, sweeping errant Christmas beetles of his piano with a raucous "get off".

After the song he told the crowd of his excitement at doing his first solo tour of Australia.

"Thank you very much, it's great to be here," he said.

"I thank you all for the loyalty and love you have shown me for so long. Being an old Pommie poof, I love it over here."

"The next song is rather appropriate because it's how old I am."

Sir Elton then burst into a rendition of Sixty Years On.

The concert gave the audience an insight into his musical genius -- there were no backing singers, no band, no electronic mixes, just Sir Elton and a piano.

It was simple and it worked.

The man, believed to be worth $500 million, said little throughout the concert other than to explain what some songs meant.

Sir Elton also made the most of the intimate conditions, stopping to accept flowers from the crowd in between songs and blowing kisses to the audience.

It was a far cry from his earlier career when concerts were music and dance extravaganzas.

The evening was a win for the Gold Coast and surrounding Hinterland, which showed the nation the city is capable of hosting the world's biggest stars.

Elysian polo fields looked a picture and as images of the venue were beamed on the big screen, it was easy to imagine the concert was at a major international city, not a country horse venue.

There were some who complained about the length of lines for food and alcohol, which at times were over 50m long, but the venue worked well.

It was Sir Elton's second performance of an 11-show boutique tour of Australia which includes wineries and a football stadium.

A convoy of 30 trucks transformed the Elysian Fields into a world-class concert arena, including a customised dressing room with couches, drapes and dozens of red roses specifically requested by Sir Elton.

The multimillion-dollar set will be pulled down this morning as Sir Elton continues his tour, which will include performances from the Barossa Valley in South Australia to Townsville in north Queensland.

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