|da www.liverpoolecho.co.uk del 16 ottobre 2009
Sir Elton John talks about his Liverpool auntie and Wirral drummer
Jade Wright talks to Sir Elton John about his mammoth Red Piano tour
knew that Sir Elton John loved Liverpool. We knew he had a Scouse
Auntie – he dedicated his Summer Pops show to her. But the news his
drummer, Nigel Olson, is from the Wirral came as a surprise. Even to
“Turns out he was born in Wallasey, so I guess he supports Tranmere,” laughs Sir Elton. “Or Everton.”
Nigel will be back playing alongside Elton when the Red Piano tour returns for its final fling at the ECHO Arena this month.
still playing better than ever, and singing better than ever,”
says Elton. “It’s one of the best bands you will ever hear.
couldn’t survive without those people and my sanity wouldn’t have
survived without them either. We’ve been through an incredible ride
together. You live an insane kind of life, you have an insane schedule,
you’re on the road, you have to have your own little family with you.”
Red Piano tour has been around the world since we saw it in Liverpool
last year. At first it was for 75 shows over three years in Las Vegas
but it was extended. Elton finally closed his six year Las Vegas run in
April this year, and plans to take it for one last trip around the
world before finally drawing it to a close this month.
an iconic stage performance in Sir Elton’s career, although he
always swore he’d never play Las Vegas.
the thing with Las Vegas is, it’s where musicians go to die,” he
laughs. “It’s like when you’re at the end of your career you go and
play Vegas. I like to take a risk, so I wanted to do a show that no-one
had seen before, there had never been a real rock and roll show in
Vegas since Elvis Presley.”
And that red piano?
“I was fed up with playing a black piano,” he says, simply.
thought let’s have something different – let’s have a red piano and
that will set the tone of the show. So we started with the red piano
and the idea kind of spiralled from there. It was a chance to be
reflective about my career, in a fun way.
“I gave David
LaChapelle (Red Piano tour designer) a set list of songs – he picked
the ones he thought he could do the best films of, ones that tell a
story, and visually I just let him go ahead and do what he wanted to do.
“Some of the
images I’d forgotten completely about and you sit there going, oh
my God, did I actually wear that? Did I do that?
always dressed up to get on stage. I think there’s that part. I just
couldn’t go on stage with what I was wearing from the street. There’s
part of that British kind of pantomime, whatever it is, heritage thing
that we have in England. Performers like Mick Jagger and David Bowie
and Rod Stewart and Freddie Mercury, we come from that and we all
“I changed so much – the looks, the costumes, everything. I’m not as
flamboyant as I used to be but this show does give me the chance to
revisit my past. I’m now wearing the glasses that I sell in my own gift
“I’ve had a long career, there’s going to be a lot of
changes but, until you see them put in a montage like that, you don’t
realise what you’ve actually done.
it’s a nice chance, without being cheesy, to look back at my
career and say yeah, this is what I’d done up to now.”
The set showcases Elton’s songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin.
been writing with Bernie Taupin for 38 years,” he explains. “It seems
like five minutes ago since we were kids and the way we actually write
songs together hasn’t changed at all.
“He writes the lyrics
and then I go away and I write the melody and we’re never in the same
room at the same time – that’s never changed. “There are a lot of
enquiries about what does this song mean, what does that song mean?
had more enquiries than any other song that we ever wrote and it’s
because, when Bernie wrote the song, in long hand, I looked at the
paper and I thought this is too long. And I hadn’t ever read the lyric
but I just crossed the last verse out and the last verse explained the
The centrepiece of the show is Elton’s homage to Marilyn Monroe – Candle In The Wind.
exactly like the photographs and the footage of Marilyn,” he explains.
“It’s nice to be able to do that one on my own because it’s such a sad
song and a very emotional song and, of course, it’s tied in with what I
did with Princess Diana as well.
“I didn’t want to do it with
a band, I wanted to do it just me and her and that way the song works.
Because the song has been done so many times – this way, I think, it
really gets the meaning of the song, which is closing the door at the
end and she says goodbye.”
As well as the hits, Elton also peppers the show with anecdotes.
talk to the audience a great deal more. There’s so much going on on
stage, you have to bring the focus back to yourself. It allows you to
have conversations and tell the audience about the songs and how they
were written and be funny.
“I’m the most famous poof in the world, and I love it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
wouldn’t want to live my life hiding, running away, having something I
was ashamed of. I didn’t ask to be this way but it just came out like
that and that’s the case and all these people say, you can change from
being gay to, to being straight. Bull****.”
And with a smile, he adds: “I’m very happy with who I am.”