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Elton John World News: Live from Ashton Gate, Bristol

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Live report by George Matlock, eltonjohnworld editor

Saturday 12 June 2004 @ 6:41 - GMT

If just like me you are a fan, you surely have felt it hard to be at home unable to attend an Elton gig. Thankfully George, my great pal and editor of eltonjohnworld.com decided to share his enthusiasm with me and all fans around the world, by sending mobile sms "live" during the Bristol City FC Ashton Gate Stadium show tonight. Here is textually what I received from him:

Elton John in Ashton Gate, BristolDavey Johnstone opens for Elton with The Bitch is Back at 8pm.
Clive Franks, Elton's sound engineer, complains to me that its colder with Bristol Channel breeze as me and Anchalee take our seats front row.
Elton is resplendent in black with silver square pattern across the front of his jacket. He acknowledges Bristol and wades into Levon from Madman Across the Water.

Next up: Bennie and the Jets.

Clive Franks said before the show that its the first band gig in 3 weeks after touring solo. We should then expect a different song list. While Elton plays Daniel, I get a hug from a Derbyshire fan I have not seen in years.

Elton wears a gold necklace with some words. Anyone know what it reads! Eltons voice is on good form as he keeps the hits coming. He then sings Someone Saved My Life Tonight.

Eltons gone for a 2-colour attire suit, the jacket betraying a very long dark blue shirt beneath. Elton introduces Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes saying that unfortunately USA was led by President Reagan who for 8 years did nothing about AIDS.

The next song is Philadelphia Freedom. There are more than 22,000 people in the stadium. Most spectators on this football pitch are on their feet except the front 2 rows! Oh well, like Stockholm last week!

He then plays I Guess thats What They Call It The Blues. I begin to wonder whether Elton has forgotten to pay tribute to blues and soul man Ray Charles who died on June 10. He thanks the Scissor Sisters for their support, saying thats unusual that he has a support band but says that he likes them so much!

At 9pm, he plays I Want Love followed by Tiny Dancer.

Elton drifts into an impromptu and straight into Take Me To The Pilot.

Elton says next song he recorded in March in LA with Ray Charles in what proved to be his last session. "So this is in loving memory of one of the true musical geniuses. This is for Ray" and Elton plays Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.

Then Elton plays 2 solo songs, the first is Sacrifice, the second is Candle in the Wind. Then a sound like an aircraft overhead. Well, we are close to Bristol airport. But surely not interference! So, what is it? Well, the intro to Funeral for a Friend, to be exact, as fast-moving clouds are shown on the large video screens beside the stage. Then Elton goes straight into Love Lies Bleeding. And that is the signal for fans to rush the front of the stage. And yes, I approve of Eltons purple-tinted eyes shades which I can see properly now.

He now introduces his band: John Mahon, Guy Babylon, Bob Birch, Nigel Olsson and Davey Johnstone. "We sent this banjo player to a loony bin for 6 months to detox, then after Honky Chateau, he never looked back." Then Elton says: "We've put this song back (into the setlist) because there is so much negativity about in the world" and he plays Believe.

Then he plays All The Girls Love Alice.

Are You Ready For Love follows with a heavier beat from Nigel! And crowds on Miller Lite beer love it! Then fans scream on I'm Still Standing and we were!

Next is Saturday Night's (Allright For Fighting).

Crocodile Rock, then Elton leaves the stage. The mechanical noises like Billy Joel's Allentown and he comes back for Pinball Wizard encore. There are JEERS front the front for the next song, but fans out back low it, as Elton drives the band into the second encore is Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

Perhaps the only disappointment was that there were no new songs off the new album. The album is scheduled for a late-2004 release. A testimony to how nervous Elton has got about bootlegs.

Elton now leaves the stage and comes back, wearing a track suit sporting the word "Supersoul" on the back. Elton thanks loyal fans and plays solo Your Song. During the song, he is joined on stage by band and the show finishes at 10:30 pm.

A medley from Aida, which used to be a fine intro to the solo shows, ushers us out of the stadium.

Webmaster: thanks a lot George for this gem to me and all fans.

Here is the full songlist from Bristol City FC Ashton Gate, June 11, 2004:

  1. The Bitch Is Back
  2. Levon
  3. Bennie and the Jets
  4. Daniel
  5. Someone Saved My Life Tonight
  6. Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes
  7. Philadelphia Freedom
  8. I Guess That's Why The Call It the Blues
  9. I Want Love
  10. Tiny Dancer
  11. Take Me to the Pilot
  12. Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
  13. Sacrifice (solo)
  14. Candle in the Wind (solo)
  15. Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
  16. Believe
  17. All the Girls Love Alice
  18. Are You Ready for Love
  19. I'm Still Standing
  20. Saturday Night's (Alright for Fighting)
  21. Crocodile
  22. Pinball Wizard (first encore)
  23. Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (2nd encore)
  24. Your Song (finale)

Ray Charles On Our Mind - Friday, June 11 2004 at 05:58:44