Elton John, Meadowbank, Edinburgh - Classics in the sun
The album slogan emblazoned across the back of Elton John's jacket pointed firmly at the era he was focussing on as his 2016 summer tour rolled into Meadowbank Stadium
‘Madman Across The Water’ harks back to 1971, one year after the city stadium officially opened its doors.
And it’s safe to say Reg, and his music, have stood the test of time much better than the crumbling breeze block that is Meadowbank - arguably one of the drabbest places to see live music (the very fact it’s even used underlines how poorly Edinburgh is served for decent venues).
With a full house, however, and some glorious sunshine, Elton brought the place to life by doing what he does best - giving the fans the songs they want to hear.
Take away three tracks from the new album, and this was a trip back in time, specifically, to 1973 with no fewer than ten of the 25 songs coming from that year, with a slight saunter into the more recent 1980s with a trio of his radio-friendly hits.
And the beauty of it all was he made the songs sound as great as ever.
Sure the gig was minus all the flamboyance and excess of his hey-day, but even stripped back to a simple stage setting with some pretty standard graphics on the big screen behind him, Elton still delivered a rather smashing show.
He started with ‘Funeral For A Friend’ and ended with ‘Crocodile Rock’ and, in between chucked in everything from ’Bennie’ to ‘Rocket Man’ to ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.’
There was a collectively ‘awww’ round the fans sat on the pitch as he launched into ’Your Song’ while the lighters - and their 2016 equivalent, an iphone torch - came out for ‘Candle In The Wind’ ... mercifully the original version rather than the mawkish one he did for Princess Di’s funeral.
Classics? They came one after the other all night long - more than two hours of music that has been the soundtrack of our lives - one touch of the piano and we knew instantly it was ‘Bennie And The Jets’ or ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.’
Everyone, from the dancing stewards to the kid who popped up on stage for a wee boogie, had a ball, and the promises there’d be ‘’one more time’’ from Reg before he signed off sent ‘em all home happy.
Chances are he’ll outlast Meadowbank Stadium ... his music certainly will.
>> Set List: Funeral For A Friend, The Bitch is Back, Bennie & The Jets, I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues, Daniel, Looking Up, Good Heart, Philadelphia Freedom, Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer, Levon, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Have Mercy On The Criminal, Sorry Sems To be The Hardest Word, Your Song, Burn Down The Mission, Sad Songs (Say So Much), Blue Wonderful, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down, All The Girls Love Alice, I’m Still Standing, Your Sister Can’t Tweist (But She Can Rock & Roll), Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting: Encore - Candle In The Wind, Crocodile Rock