Sir Elton John performed in Singapore on 1 December (and will perform again on the 2 December) for his All the Hits tour, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of his landmark album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. The Brit has travelled to our sunny shores many times before — his most recent visit was in 2011 — and being a bit of an Elton John fan, I was excited to finally catch him live performing a selection of his best songs. Although he may not be as energetic as he was in his younger years, his stamina was something to behold — he played all the songs on piano along with singing.
As a perfomer John definitely didn't disappoint. By the end of his 150 minute set, which contained a mix of faster-paced and slower, more contemplative songs, he had most of the 5,000-strong crowd on their feet. He powered through a set-list of 24 classic songs and his energy and verve put younger performers (and their disappointingly short concerts) to shame. He may not have gotten to the '80s and beyond when it came to song selection — fans of The Lion King may have left unappeased — because of his long list of hits, but the songs he selected were mostly crowd favourites. Here are some great moments from the concert.
When he tickled the ivories to perfection
Millenials, take note: When Elton John plays the piano, he really plays. No half-hearted, basic bitch strumming. The classically-trained John is clearly a pop pianist extraordinaire. Whether it was the instrumental seque into his mega hit Rocket Man or him on the piano solo for The One, his heartfelt and technically-accomplished artistry was certainly compelling. Despite being backed by a group of seasoned professionals, we felt that John was at his best when it was just him and his Yamaha.
When he sang his heart out despite nursing a cold
John is a consummate professional and if he hadn't told us about his nasty cold (or spoken in a slightly nasal tone) we would have been none the wiser about his illness. He started his set at 8:15 — just 15 minutes past the scheduled start time; practically unheard of for a big performer — and went on and on like the Energizer Bunny of pop. He still has a powerful voice that didn't falter through the night — he was clearly at ease with his vocal range and signature style and had no problem tackling more ambitious hits like Your Song and Philadelphia Freedom.
When he got his fans excited (and they just couldn't hide it)
We were 'lucky' enough to be seated behind a group of super enthusiastic American fans who were clearly not witnessing their first Elton John concert. Fuelled by beer, they danced like no one was watching, sang along to his songs, cheered for their favourites and even chimed in with George Michael's parts when John performed Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me. Behind us, a minor incident occured when one disgruntled lady asked a group behind her not to sing so loudly — they were warbling out of tune — as they had ruined her experience of Your Song. Cue hilarity. Their response: It's a concert. It was also nice to see his variety of fans — they ranged from middle-aged folk to grey-haired ladies who probably hadn't partied that hard in years (and looked more exhausted than Sir Elton himself when they left the venue.)
When he roused the crowd to their feet
It took the audience a while to get truly warmed up, but by the time John broke out into his crowd-pleasers like The Bitch is Back, I'm Still Standing and Crocodile Rock, resistance was futile. People were dancing in the aisles, upfront and even in their seats. Whether you had a front row view and could enjoy the large screen display in all its glory, or were stuck way up there in the cheap seats, everyone could feel the love last night. Such was Elton John's prowess as a performer.
Elton John's second performance is on 2 December, 8pm at The Star Theatre. Purchase your tickets here.