Tuesday, 27 March 2007

My Very First Elton John Concert

This is a picture of me holding the tour programme at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on the night of the concert.

Hi everyone! I know it has been over a week and a half since my last blog post, so I thought I'd do another one now. I Will start adding more to my blog a lot more regularly than what I am doing at the moment. Last time, I said that I will tell you about my first Elton John concert and how I was able to go to it, so here I go!

In 1998, I wanted to go to the Elton John and Billy Joel Face To Face concert at the ANZ Stadium in Brisbane, but I didn't end up going. Then in 1999, when my family and I were in the US, in Wyoming, I heard that Elton was performing in Laramie, in memory of Matthew Shepherd (a gay man who was killed in Wyoming), I really wanted to go to that one even though I realise It was for a purpose. I never went to that one either, but this time it was because Laramie was right on the other side of Wyoming, near the northern part of the state.

It all started on Christmas Day in 2001, I think it was around October or November that year that I found out Elton was coming over to Australia for a tour, I really wanted to go and see Elton live. I have been telling my Grandparents and my Mum how much I would really would love to go and see him live, so on Christmas Day that year, my Grandparents came over to have Christmas Lunch and then that afternoon, we were talking and then my Granddad said to my sister, Michelle, that she should write in to Kim & Laurel at 4KQ (a radio station that my Grandparents used to listen to and I still listen to, Kim & Laurel were the breakfast show hosts) and tell them about my disabilities and how much I would love to go and see Elton live as I am a real big fan and ask them if they would be able to send tickets for me!

Well, I didn't think it would happen, but one day in 2002, when we were going to my Grandparents' house (I don't know if it was February or March) and we stopped at the mailbox for Michelle to post a letter. Then one day, I was listening to 4KQ and they were advertising that that weekend was to be Elton John weekend where you get a copy of Elton's album at the time, Songs From The West Coast and tickets to the concert.

About a month before the concert, 4KQ advertised that the first night of Elton's concert (the Wednesday, April 24) was sold out and they the concert people had decided to add a Tuesday night concert, I was so excited, I thought I'd get a chance to see one of the two nights. I started getting very desperate, still hoping. Then on Monday, April 22, 2002, I woke up, turned 4KQ on and still heard them giving away tickets to Elton's concerts, I then continued to get ready for school.

Then, on Tuesday afternoon, I came back home in the taxi (there are a few schools in Brisbane that allowed students with disabilities to be able to get to and from school by taxi if they can't get picked up by their parents), I was surprised to see my Grandparents' car sitting in the driveway, I was wondering if they were just there to visit. I went in the house and said hello to everyone and put my school things in my room. After that, I came out and sat at the table with everyone else to have something to eat for afternoon tea. Before I started eating, Mum showed me an envelope. I tried to read the writing on it, it was a little hard, but I couldn't believe what I was reading, at first I thought it was a joke. Mum then told me to open it, I opened it and pulled out two yellow bits of paper and tried to read one of them.

When I was confused what the paper said, Mum asked me if I knew what it was and I said no, then Mum said "They're Elton John tickets!" My Granddad took a photo of my reaction straight away with his camera, I still smile every time I look at it! Mum told me she was out when she got the call from 4KQ saying that Kim & Laurel would be happy to send tickets for me to see Elton live! I ended up having that Wednesday off school because I was so excited and to celebrate with Mum by going out for lunch!

Me and Mum had dinner before we left and at six o'clock that night, my Grandparents came over as they were taking me and Mum to the concert! It was quite dark when we got to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Before we went in, I got some pictures taken and then we went and got a concert program and sat outside the door to the concert hall to wait, I flipped through the program and tried looking for a set list of all the songs Elton would sing, but couldn't find any ((I was a little disappointed, even the concert programme I got for the 2006 concert didn't have any). Before we went in, some of the ushers came and Mum told them about my vision problem and she went in with the usher to see how I'd be able to get down the steps. I found out that the steps were too narrow for me so the usher took me and Mum (my Grandparents stayed at the door) the long way to the ground floor where we'd be sitting.

As we were walking down to the ground floor, we went down in a lift and when we got to the bottom and walked a little way, the usher said that we were near the backstage area, he pointed to a sign that said Back Stage and to a door and said that was where Elton was, behind that door, but there was a security guard there to stop people going through! I was really excited walking through there! We eventually got to our seats, so we sat down and waited for the show to begin!

I wondered who the support act was going to be and was surprised at how good they were. The group was called Supergirlies, two girls who made up words to popular songs in a comedy way! They even suggested that Britney Spears' Baby One More Time and Oops! I Did It Again were done with the same music! That was a real laugh to listen to, but even though I enjoyed them, I really wanted Elton to come on! After the support act went off after a few encores, Elton got introduced to the stage! I was so excited, I wondered what song was going to be first! Then I heard the very beginning of Elton's song from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road called Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding. Mum got me to look at the stage and I was a guy playing the keyboards in darkness! When Elton came on and started waving to the audience before sitting down at the piano to play Love Lies Bleeding, I couldn't help myself, I just couldn't believe my favourite singer was up there on stage, therefore I cried for a little bit while Elton was singing the song!

I was so glad that Mum was there with me so she comforted me while I cried, I stopped before the first song was finished and was excited to hear Elton go in to Bennie And The Jets! Elton then followed that with a song from his then new album Songs From The West Coast called The Ballad Of The Boy In The Red Shoes, which was also done very well! I loved the entire concert, Elton did 4 other songs from that album, I Want Love, This Train Don't Stop There Anymore, Original Sin and The Wasteland! I nearly cried a little again during Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word because I was so happy! The lights were all bright and the sound was fantastic! I remember Elton doing I'm Still Standing and all the lights get turned right up and bright every time he sings "Yeah, yeah, yeah"! I also remember Elton coming stage 2 times for encores; the first time he came on for an encore, he did Pinball Wizard and then came back on again for Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me and Your Song!

I do wish I could tell you everything about that concert, but I don't remember all the details of it like I did 10 months after it! Even Mum enjoyed herself at the concert as well!

Well, I guess that is it for now! Next time, I'm going to talk about my last Elton concert I went to! No, I didn't cry during that one, but I did do a lot of screaming!

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Hi, I'm really sorry that I haven't had any news on here since I started this blog, but this is my first one. There are lots I have to tell you about my most favourite interest of all - Music!

Well, where should I begin? I think I shall tell you about how I became a fan of who I think is one of the best singers in the world - Elton John! I became an Elton John fan back in 1995! It may be strange to think of, but I actually started my love of his music all because of one thing, an advertisement on TV for his Love Songs CD, which had just been released here in Australia! I listened to the bits of songs on the ad and I realised that I wanted the CD so badly! I got that CD that very Christmas and I was very happy!

It was very sad to hear that Princess Diana died in 1997, just two months after Gianni Versace, both were friends of Elton's. I think it was nice the way he did Candle In The Wind just for Diana, now called Candle In The Wind 1997. When they put the funeral on TV, I watched Elton as he sung the new words to Candle In The Wind, I also heard another sound going on along with the piano that sounded like strings, but wasn't, as you don't see any other instruments. I feel there must be something on the piano itself that Elton must use to make all those good accompanying sounds, Elton still does that in his solo performances today with the piano with different sounds.

I was very pleased to hear about the single being released of the song, but I didn't realise it was going to be put on the Something About The Way You Look Tonight single, which doesn't worry me as I love Elton's music anyway. I have to admit, even though I like the studio version with the string arrangement by George Martin, I do prefer the live funeral version, which when the single came out, I thought it would have the live version as well.

Being in Australia, we basically get Elton albums and singles that are exactly like the ones in the UK, even though we don't get some singles that the UK does, which really annoys me. When Peachtree Road got released, I read on the Elton fan club news section that the UK would get the single release of All That I'm Allowed while America got Answer In The Sky, Australia released no single from that album whatsoever. I had another disappointment when the single re-release of Are You Ready For Love came out. No music stores here could get it, and when I tried to order it from the UK, I found out it was deleted (no longer available).

All that proves to me that if you want to be a fan of Elton John; you are best living in either the USA or the UK. Another difference I've noted as well is the fact that in Australia and the UK, 12 of Elton's original albums made it into the remastered CD series called The Classic Years, Australia and the UK got the Classic Years CDs with light covers and a yellow strip down the side with The Classic Years in it. Rather than doing what we (Australia & UK) did, the US released all those albums with slightly darker covers and a nice gold strip down the side with The Classic Years in it. In some ways, I do prefer the US release of all those CDs, but I also like the UK & Australian release of those CDs, just not as much as the US ones. The Classic Years version of Rock Of The Westies was the only album that had different bonus tracks, Australia & the UK got one bonus track, the famous Don't Go Breaking My Heart, while the US got to rare bonus tracks, I don't know the name of them!

Well, I guess I'd better stop here, but I promise I will try and add more to my blog soon, rather than waiting a long time to do it. Next time, I will tell you about my very first Elton John concert I went to and how I got to go to it! Yes, it was exciting, but that will have to wait. Bye for now.
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