indice alfabetico - site map  I  immagini  I  articoli  I  elton in italy  I  testi in italiano  I  musicians & co.  I  concerti  I  discografia
forum  I  news   I  biografia  I  early days  I  friends I links  I  aggiornamenti  I  newsletter  I  contatti  I  varie  I  raritą  I  home

Yamaha 125th

Your Song
Tiny Dancer
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
Rocket Man

Per il concerto speciale in occasione del 125° anniversario della Yamaha da tenere al Disneyland’s Hyperion Theater, ad  Anaheim, California c'erano delle ottime premesse: trasmissione in diretta via web, orchestra di 60 elementi condotta da James Newton Howard e supervisione musicale di Nathan East.   Si poteva sperare in qualche grandiosa riproposta di brani storici sfruttando questa grande orchestra, ma purtroppo tutte le speranze sono naufragate di fronte a una misera scaletta di cinque canzoni, di cui sole tra accompagnate dall'orchestra con le solite hit e la presenza sempre pił inspiegabile di I Guess ...   L'ennesima grande occasione sprecata.

Paul Purcell    © 2013  Paul Purcell

Where's The Orchestra? Billy Joel once sang...

Elton helped celebrate Yamaha's 125th anniversary by doing an all too infrequent style of show. With the wonderful James Newton Howard at the baton, Elton's concert conductor of choice, we were to be treated to five songs from the greatest songbook of this or any other era. The first two songs, Your Song and Tiny Dancer featured the original Paul Buckmaster arrangemets tastefully and measuredly spruced up by James. As James said himself in the past, the arrangements were intricate parts of the original songs, not after thoughts. So it's with great disappopintment that the sound mix was so poor that we never got to hear them fully realised. Especially when they pulled a master stroke and removed the rhythm section and guitar parts and left a wonderful tight link between the the piano and orchestra in the form of up right bass played by Nathan East, for many years the bass player of Eric Clapton. By doing this, we could (or would have!) hear the great brass announcement that James added on the final verse of Tiny Dancer or the dramatic entrance of the low end of the strings on the first chorus. Sorry Seems To Be featured James' own score, again with embellishments of the original. The woodwinds on the chorus perfectly responding to Elton's vocal. Then as it was a Yamaha event, it was time to showcase the said piano. For which Elton picked two songs that would give both sides of his Nice And Slow repertoire. I Guess That's Why slid along as smooth as the soulful vocal Elton always finds for it. Where earlier Elton and sixty people had held sway, he was now center stage. But the sound had not lessened, nor the intensity of the moment. Then Rocket Man introduced us a new intro in the new year...a stop start vocal with the piano notes left to hang from the rafters of the auditorium. The piano man was making his stand...needless to say his vocal soared to the same lofty heights. Which at the moment is in its best shape for years. Dexterous with a depth and a flexiblity that can wrap itself around the great lyrics. Some final remarks. This is the sort of show Elton should do more of. The sound of Elton and the orchestra without the band caught the moment right. Both parties could exist in their seperate worlds while at the same time work in perfect harmony. We don't hear those arrangemets organically enough, the surge as the space Elton created in his music is filled with a perfectly fitted layer. James Newton Howard knows Elton's music like the baton he holds. Having played all the early arrangemets on the keyboards in the 70's and 80's live not to mention the orchestra tours in days of yore, he can pre-empt any move Elton can make. Possibly even those he hasn't made yet! This show should be toured in this from without delay. I believe that now that from now on every Yamaha showroom from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe will now play a recording of that portion of the show to sell their product...hopefully with the sound corrected!

Brian Gold    © 2013  Brian Gold   

The good and the bad...

Looking appropriately sparkly, and perfectly dressed for the occasion, Elton took the stage and wowed both the audience and the internet audience.
The 60 piece orchestra, lead by James Newton Howard was a perfect accompaniment to Elton's solo performance on the Yamaha Disklavier.
Elton was in fine voice, once described by a reporter as "A voice from Mount Olympus." I couldn't agree more.
Now for the criticisms...
I realize that Yamaha wanted to feature their instrument, but when you have a 60 piece orchestra backing you, for god's sake, turn down the string sound on the Disklavier! It constantly overpowered the actual string section in the orchestra. I don't know if there was also a bass sound coming out of the Disklavier, but it seemed that way. It was also overpowering at times. The piano sound alone would have been more than enough to show off Elton's playing, the Disklavier, and to make full use of the amazing orchestra.
That leads us into the second issue that I had with the concert: If you're going to play only 5 songs, USE THE ORCHESTRA ON ALL FIVE! What a tremendous waste to have an orchestra behind you and use it on only 3 songs! I imagine that this was Yamaha's decision to feature the Disklavier, but in that case, why have the orchestra at all? This was a really poor decision. Elton sounds incredible solo on the piano. We can all agree on that. But this concert was billed as a concert with an orchestra, so why let the orchestra just sit there?!
It's extremely rare to hear Elton make a mistake on the piano, but to make at least 4 (that I remember) during Rocket Man alone? Unheard of! It's not that he was off his game in general, but he did hit more than a couple of wrong notes. Very unusual for a pianist of Elton's caliber. Again there was that problem with the piano/string sound that was coming out of the Disklavier. When Elton was hitting the high notes on the piano, the string sound became unbearable. It was actually annoying and taking away from the performance. I know that the volume on the string sound can be altered in real time. Didn't anybody realize what was happening?
Having said all that, and having been fairly harsh in doing so, let me end by saying that it is always a joy for me to hear Elton play live. He is truly THE artist of not just my generation but those that came before me, and those that followed. I hope that next time he's backed by an orchestra, he'll make full use of it as he has done in the past.
Respectfully submitted,
Brian Gold
Oh... just one more thing... could we someday, maybe hear some different songs? PLEASE???

cliccare sulle immagini per ingrandire
Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John - Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John -  Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John - Yamaha 125th  2013
Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013 Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013 Elton John -Yamaha 125th  2013