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Elton John World News: Eltoon plays tunes in Saskatoon

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Elton and his "nine-foot black...plank"

Monday 2 September 2002 @ 12:02 - GMT

"(Elton) woke up in the city that never sleeps and tucked Saskatoon to bed with a goodnight kiss it won't soon forget," wrote Cam Fuller's affectionately for The Star Phoenix Saskatoon edition on August 31, 2002.

Commenting on the SaskPlace show of August 30, 2002, Cam said:

"Elton made all the hysteria seem justified with a spectacular concert. There wasn't a song in the two-dozen-plus set list that he didn't seem to pour his heart into. He was never, at any point, just going through the motions -- a sign of not only consummate professionalism but of an artist who simply loves what he's doing.

"The capacity crowd of more than 14,000 arrived early and in a state of high anticipation. The proof: when the house lights dimmed, people started taking pictures of the stage -- and Elton John wasn't even there yet!

"When he did emerge from backstage, John surprised a few with a relatively conservative look. He wore a classy black suit adorned with a line of diamonds on the lapels with a matching design on the back. He wore thin-framed tinted glasses and sported boyishly mussed-up hair.

"He walked around the stage as the crowd roared its welcome, waving and pointing to every corner of the house."

Cam went on to say that Elton served up a heart-felt Your Song.

"He smiled and glanced at the audience during the line "this song's for you." The crowd erupted in applause when John exclaimed "Saskatoon!""

And there was more:

"Tonight it's just me and this nine-foot black . . . plank," Elton said.

"He sat down at the keyboard and continued the bitter-sweet mood with some of his earliest songs like Border Town, The Greatest Discovery and Someone Saved My Life Tonight.

"After every song, the main floor responded with a standing ovation. After a solid 40 minutes of slow ones, John launched into a rousing Honky Cat and showcased his rambunctious, saloon-style playing with an extended jam at the end.

"The big screens captured both his finger work and the exertion on his face as he dug into the tune. After the last note, fans simply exploded to their feet. There was a similar reaction to Rocket Man -- and for good reason; John's version was deeply felt, highlighted by a nifty echo effect on the vocals.

"After Rocket Man, even the upper deck was standing -- a sight that may not have been seen at SaskPlace since AC/DC in 1996. And this was a solo performer.

"The love-in continued, whether the song was energetic, like I'm Still Standing and Philadelphia Freedom, which John belted out in his effectively bassy voice, or slow like the impeccable pop of Tiny Dancer.

"By press time, approximately 20 minutes before the end of the concert, the hits kept coming in a relentless string: Nikita, Candle in the Wind (massive response here), I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues. Saskatoon has finally met its knight in shining armour, and his name is Sir Elton.

[Ed. Thanks Cam "corder". Now that's what we call a balanced concert review!]