(Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI - 10/13/01)
Entering from stage right, Reg Dwight brought the sold-out venue to its feet in an instant. The stubby man from Pinner, England stood smiling at the tip of the stage, his hands clasped together, his pink and black suit sparkling in the spot lights. His smile and following waves of gratitude spoke volumes for his continual love for his fans. Seating himself behind his piano, Mr. Dwight (aka Elton John) first ensured his fingers were supple, made eye contact with the ever ready Davey Johnstone, before setting sail for the evening on the back of the luscious 'Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding.'
With the new album, Songs From The West Coast still very fresh in stores, you might have expected Elton to delve in pretty quickly, but he decided to veer away for the opening few songs instead. 'Bennie and the Jets' and 'Philadelphia Freedom' were some of the next tracks, before the first taste of Songs … was proffered in the shape of 'Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes' and 'Wasteland.'
During the incredible near three hour set, Elton spoke of his love for the United States, especially with regard the tragedies of September 11th and such, of how much he always appreciated the audiences applause (of which he suddenly got quite a bit more), and of how good it felt to record a new album that took him back to his old days of writing songs. Then, as if to prove the point he went straight into oldies such as an extended version of 'Rocket Man,' 'Daniel,' and even 'Roy Rogers,' before culminating the segment with the new track 'Mansfield'
As the show progressed, Eltons voice just seemed to get better and better, the songs more CD like and less distorted concert-like. 'Meal Ticket,' 'Birds,' 'Country Comfort,' 'Take Me To The Pilot,' 'Holiday Inn,' 'American Triangle,' 'Levon,' 'I'm Still Standing,' and the classic 'Your Song' were all introduced before the end of the night, proving the incredible musical depth to which this man can delve.
For the encores we got sparklingly fresh renditions of 'The Bitch is Back,' 'Saturday Night's (Alright For Fighting),' 'Believe,' and the rousing 'Crocodile Rock' before the man himself finally left the stage for the last time. Elton is a musical genius to be sure, a ringmaster of the highest caliber, and an entertaining enigma. With shows like these each and every year, it's no wonder that he's a sell-out wherever he goes and is beloved by one and all the world over.
Review and Photograph by Russell A. Trunk
From The Fans:
"Hey ! This was my take on Elton's show: Elton gave an awesome show and almost signed my program, but he couldn't quite reach me, as he sure did stretch to try ! He played for about three hours non-stop. We really enjoyed our 3rd and 6th row seats to the side, right by his piano. The two young boys - aged ten or so - were awfully cute Elton lookalikes, with big green glasses and silver hats - so cleverly done. I only hope that Elton did see them ! That Piano Man burst into the Rocket Man that we all know him so well as he danced on the piano and sang his new song for NYC - 'Beautiful', by the way - and the 'Star Spangled Banner. Many oldies but goldies, and more from the new CD, which I've heard is real nice and have yet to run out and get ! Spirits soared despite our feelings about the recent tradegies ! He did a bit more than just a great job ! Elton, we love ya !"