Elton John has joined Celine Dion and Rod Stewart as an alternating headliner at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
When he last played there played The Red Piano. This time, it's The Million Dollar Piano. The instrument in question is enhanced with video, lights and is really big. Last time he was in residence there, John played 241 shows over five years. Aside from some inflatable phallic symbols (bananas) and inflatable female breasts, the mean stage décor then was a very large video screen, all designed by David LaChapelle.
This time there's just four set pieces. There are huge scrolls on either side of the piano and a statue sitting on either side of the stage. Filling the rest of the space are a series of arches and a chandelier. It's a lot of stuff and, unless you are sitting with a dead center view of the stage, the scrolls are liable to obstruct your vision. People sitting to the sides probably has to content themselves with watching the show on the screens suspended from the ceiling on either side of the state.
Sir Elton has a terrific band and backup singers. Among the latter is Rose Stone, a founder of the group Sly and the Family Stone. Drummer Nigel Olsson and lead guitarist Davey Johnstone are longtime John sidemen. There are also Stepjan Hauser and Luka Sulic, Croation musicians who, in their own act, are billed as 2Cellos.
The show runs two hours and, except for a few moments when he changes his jacket, the star is onstage throughout.
He opens with "The Bitch Is Back and, over the course of the evening, shings "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Your Song," "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues," "Levon," "Rocket Man," "Benny and the Jets," "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" and some lesser-known tunes like a track from his most recent album, a collaboration with Leon Russell, and the six-minute long "Indian Summer."
He spoke often of the work of his lyricist Bernie Taupin and, in front of a montage of photos of her, spoke of the activism of Elizabeth Taylor. In tribute to the movie star he sang "Blue Eyes," lovely despite the fact she was well-known for her violet eyes.
John ended with "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King and "I'm Still Standing."
John ended with "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King" and "I'm Still Standing."
The night I saw the show, the audience was made up pretty much entirely of fans of the singer. They cheered, shouted, stomped and sang along loudly and constantly.
Elton John is still an outstanding performer who has earned the love lavished on him by his audiences. And, as long as the scenery doesn't block your view, it's a show well worth seeing.
John will be back at Caesars in February. Tickets for his show range from $55 to $500. For tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.com.