Sept. 11, 1998
Story and Photo by Phil BonyataWhat can you say about this guy? From the biggest phenomenon of the '70s, to relative musical obscurity in the '80s, to safe Disneyesque hit maker in the early '90s. Where does Elton John fit today? Some might say elder rock statesman, others might say he still writes great pop songs and detractors would probably say he's completely lost it and is simply a parody of his younger self.
Basking in the afterglow of his smash hit, the reworded "Candle in the Wind", a sappy tribute to princess Di, the portly song smith ran out onto the stage and slowly circled his piano and threw a bouquet of roses to the ladies, and a few guys, in the first few rows. Last week Elton John graced the stage of the newly built Kohl Center in Madison. Decked out like a stripped down Liberace in a lime-green, sequined suit Elton opened with the kinetically charged and the toe tappin', finger snappin' "Bennie and the Jets." John dutifully rocked through all his older hits including "Tiny Dancer, " "The Bitch Is Back," and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." On "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" John played with the old rock 'n roll swagger that used to be a staple at any one of his shows in the '70s. Throughout the performance the audience was either sedated or too old to get off their asses and rock.
Elton John might be a cartoon by his own making, but he's still got the balls to kick in some teeth when it's time to really rock.
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