Live Review: Elton John, Foy Vance

17 December 2015 | 4:47 pm | Tash Loh

"[The crowd would] probably jump off a cliff if he asked them politely enough."

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Our parents' generation truly was blessed. To imagine growing up to hearing talent as timeless and transcendent as Sir Elton John brings shivers to one's spine along with a distant yearning for inexistent days gone by. On his 17th trip to Australia, he mesmerised audiences. It was a dream.

The crooning sounds of a charming Irishman by the name of Foy Vance warms up the crowd first, the sophisticated folk tunes from his guitar turning the thousands-plus stadium into an intimate affair. A highly commendable effort and bonus points for the best moustache of the night.

Elton John's set is minimalistic, save for the gigantic chandelier putting on a rather impressive light display. The real show lies in his incomparable ability to control a crowd — they'd probably jump off a cliff if he asked them politely enough. He's a truly seasoned performer who's earned the place upon the pedestal rightly assigned to him. His opening three tracks revisit his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, celebrating its 42nd anniversary this year. Candle In The Wind and Bennie And The Jets make early appearances. Moving on to explore Madman Across The Water we're overwhelmed by his ridiculously impressive career, with more albums under his belt than sequins on his jacket.

It takes a lot of skill to turn a piano solo into some gnarly rock'n'roll. An extended jam session between the members on stage momentarily transports the stadium to a garage band set-up where a bunch of kids are doing what they love best: making music.

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The house lights come on at almost every interval, John bowing and thanking the crowd between every song. The chandelier makes its first descent for Tiny Dancer. "This song is about love and peace and hope, and God knows in the world we're living in right now we need bucketfuls of it," is the heartstring-tugging introduction to Believe. Your Song is belted out to similar effect.

John could improvise rings around any musician worth half his salt. His hands are truly hypnotising, dancing across the keys elegantly. His songs are truly beautiful. Just pure, organic musical talent.

The audience give up their seats for the epic closing run of songs, the sheer velocity of his performance hitting like a runaway freight train. The show ends with I'm Still Standing, an obvious favourite with the crowd. He takes his well deserved interval and returns for his encore of Crocodile Rock.

He's still got it. It's a real honour to witness such an important part of music history and to experience what live music performance should be all about.