March 13, 2014
American Airlines Center
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Tim Taylor
Photos by Sam McClary
The Bitch Is Back And He's On Fire!
It's been nine years since Sir Elton John last played Dallas, so the fans here were extremely eager to see how the 66-year-old rock n' roll legend was going to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his best album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. What he delivered was a 29-song, almost three hour long set that blew the roof off of the American Airlines Center.
Anyone who has followed Elton John over the years knows that his voice isn't what it once was, but he is still the best in the business on the piano. He wasted no time showing that off, as he and his band got the night started with the epic "Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding," which might be the best concert opener in the history of music. Long time bandmates Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson were flawless during the instrumental part, and when the vocals kicked in, Elton sounded a lot better than I thought he would. To keep that energy flowing, they proceeded to play three more songs off the first side of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, starting with a raucous sing-along during "Bennie and the Jets," and leading into the somber "Candle in the Wind" and Elton's coolest piano song "Grey Seal." He switched albums, and decided to play three in a row from 1972's Madman Across the Water including "Levon," the now infamous "Tiny Dancer," and the obscure "Holiday Inn." At this point, it was clear that this was going to be a great night for the fans of his 70's material.
The rest of the show was a pretty good mix of mega-hits like "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time)" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," 90's gems "The One" and the powerful "Believe," fan favorites "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" and "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," and more obscure songs from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road like "Roy Rogers," "I've Seen That Movie Too," and "All the Girls Love Alice." Elton seemed to be relaxing and enjoying himself as he told stories and sang songs like we were just hanging out in his living room. That cool, laid back vibe made it really enjoyable for both the diehard fans and the casual ones who only knew the radio songs.
The energy level was raised at the end of the set when Elton pulled out the fast-paced rockers to fire up the sold-out crowd who had been sitting down for most of the show. Everyone sang along to "I'm Still Standing" and "The Bitch Is Back," and the old folks in the audience danced like crazy to "Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock N' Roll)" and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." A short encore with 1970's "Your Song" and the classic "Crocodile Rock" brought the show to an end, and everyone left exhausted and satisfied.
I've seen Elton John many times over the years, but this was the greatest setlist I could've ever hoped for; ten songs from his best album and all the hits I grew up on. His vocal ability has most definitely declined, but he doesn't let that slow him down. His amazing band provides a little help when necessary, and Elton powers through it like a true professional. He definitely gave us the absolute best performance he could, and not one person left disappointed. After 45 years of touring the world, Sir Elton John will always be considered one of the very best of all time.