Some people are easily pleased.
Me for instance. As a birthday treat I was quite content to sit listening to a chubby 60 year old bloke having a sing-song followed by tea in a motorway services.
Only a select few joined me for the tea, but altogether 9,999 other people joined in the community singing. The community was Glasgow, and the aging warbler was Elton John.
He didn’t have to sing “I’m Still Standing” this weekend. But he did. And he is. In fact I’d go as far as to say that he sounded even better.
“Rocket Man” orbited the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre for a good ten minutes and was by far the best rendition of that 1972 rock classic I have ever heard. The extended instrumental segment they belted out at the end of the song was out of this world. Then, just as I’m thinking it’s going to be a long, long time before I hear anything to better it – along came Crocodile Rock.
Just a couple of the numbers were from his recent album and they blended seamlessly with his classics. I would have been disappointed if he’d not played either “Benny and the Jets” or “Saturday Night”. He gave us both.
His band (too small a name for the other five guys on Elton’s stage) produced solid, perfectly balanced wall of sound. Nigel Olson provided the solid drumming which is at the very heart of rock, and scot Davey Johnstone played rock guitar in a way that left you begging for more. The pair have been with Elton since the seventies, so I guess they’re getting the hang of it by now.
The youngsters of today’s music industry don’t even come close.
However… On the subject of youngsters… Elton invited Glasgow lass Amy McDonald to open the show with five numbers from her soon to be released debut album. Reminiscent of Joan Armatrading and alone on stage with her guitar, she sang effortlessly and beautifully – as she has in the pubs and clubs of her home town for the past couple of years. I guarantee we are going to see and hear a lot more of this wee lassie.
Then at the end of her spot, diminutive on a stage built for one of the world’s greatest, richest and most loved performers, she thanked ten thousand people for listening to her songs and invited us to log on to her “My Space” page to hear more!
Anyone for tea?
We liked Glasgow and its friendly people, but could only linger ‘til mid afternoon on the day after the concert. Then it was the long drive home.
Did I mention Tea? Hunger struck halfway down the M6 so we pulled in to a Motorway Services. But what we discovered was in fact the Best Motorway Services – in the World!!
I absolutely mean it. If ever you are on the M6 you MUST call in at the Tebay Services. In fact, just go up (or down) the M6 especially to visit. Forget the over priced greasy mess usually found in these places. This was fast food at its best. – freshly cooked on the premises. Really, really good. And, under the same management, a fantastic farm shop/delicatessen and gift shop.
All in all it was a great weekend.
Edited 10/07/2013 to update links