The Rocket Man dazzles in front of a sold-out Singapore Indoor Stadium.
With the rain pouring down, traffic around the Singapore Indoor Stadium at a standstill, Brewerkz unable to seat everyone looking for a pre-show drink and the tour shirts at the merchandise stand inexplicably omitting the Singapore date, the evening could not have started in a more negative fashion. By the end of it, all that would be forgotten.
The concert was opened by 2Cellos, the Croatian duo that shot to fame with their classical rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”, who are part of Sir Elton John’s band on this tour. They played their well-known number before unleashing U2’s “With or Without You”, Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. And then Sir Elton took to the stage.
Decked out in a flamboyant, rhinestone-studded coat which appeared to have a motif of a Hindu goddess on the back, he opened with “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”, and the audience knew it was in for one heck of a show. Hit after hit followed: “Tiny Dancer”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and “Candle in the Wind” raised hairs, “Sacrifice”, “Daniel” and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" made the crowd sway from side to side and “Rocket Man” drew rapturous applause as it turned into a nearly 10 minute-long piano odyssey. By the time Sir Elton played the first notes of “Crocodile Rock” more than two hours later, few were left in their seats with fans dancing wherever they could find space. The stadium ushers had their work cut out for them.
Sir Elton left the stage, but he wasn’t done of course. His encore produced “Your Song” and a medley of his Lion King classics, “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. The kind of songs that make you want to embrace the person sitting next to you; whether they’re up for it or not.
It’s been 42 years since Sir Elton released his debut album, Empty Sky, but his enduring love for the stage is clear for all to see. His love for his fans is even more apparent. He rose from his grand piano after each and every song, bowing to all quadrants of the stadium and taking time to wave to those sitting behind him in the rear-view seats. His voice is as powerful as it's ever been and he’s lost none of his energy. At one point, he leapt off his piano bench to prance across the front of the stage. At another, he responded to a standing ovation by stepping up onto the piano before dismounting with agility that defied his 64 years.
He had the audience spellbound throughout. Even his friend Kevin Spacey, in town for the Singapore Repertory Theatre’s presentation of Richard III, had his phone out to record the show. Before departing for the final time, Sir Elton walked back and forth, shaking hands and signing anything he could get his hands on, including a handbag.
There was one downside to the show. Once it was over, we had to go back to a world where consummate entertainers, singer-songwriters and showmen like Sir Elton are all too few and far between. They don’t make ‘em like they used to.