After more than 200 shows and four years in Las Vegas, Elton John is taking his Red Piano on the road – and first stop was Birmingham.
The show has been running at Caesars Palace in Vegas to packed houses since 2004, but now the singer has embarked on a short European tour of select venues, including the NIA.
The Red Piano is a career overview of four decades, reminding everyone of just what an amazing musical life Sir Elton, aka Reg Dwight, has had.
For more than two hours the huge back catalogue of hits kept on coming, from Tiny Dancer to Rocket Man, via I’m Still Standing, Candle In The Wind, Crocodile Rock and Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.
Although he has sung them hundreds of times, he still managed to make them sound fresh and as if he meant every word.
There is plenty to look at too. Elton’s Yamaha glossy red grand piano stands in front of the largest video screen I have ever seen at a concert, which totally dominates the stage.
The visual part of the show was designed by photographer David LaChapelle, who put together a video montage with the theme of love. Some of the films worked better than others.
Elton describes the show as “bright, brash and colourful”, although he is not quite as garish as he used to be. He left behind the ostrich feathers and cartoon costumes – remember when he dressed as Donald Duck and the Statue of Liberty? – though he couldn’t resist a few sequins, satin shirts and embroidered jackets.
He is not pop’s most energetic performer, but he still put a great deal into the show, especially for a man of 61. Occasionally he stood up and came out from behind the piano to join his band on the rest of the huge stage.
By the end, he had the NIA on its feet too.
If you’re quick, you can get tickets to catch Elton when he’s next in town. He returns to the NIA on December 16.