REVIEW – Elton John, Newcastle Metro Arena

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RESPLENDENT in a red diamante-studded suit, Elton John took his seat at the piano for a tour-de-force of his hits.

His entrance seemed rather subdued for a superstar of his calibre, but Elton let the music speak for itself.

It was refreshing to go to a gig where the crowd peacefully swayed in their seats and where the artist didn’t rely on acrobatics and pyrotechnics to wow the masses.

Instead, Elton worked his way through his enormous back catalogue.

All the classics were there: Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, Crocodile Rock, Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, I Guess That’s Why the Call it the Blues and Daniel to name a few – and the audience lapped it up.

They’d paid good money to be there – Elton John tickets aren’t the cheapest on the market – but he more than gave them their money’s worth.

The musicianship was faultless from the main man and his band. The crowd did have some boos though: Elton announced mid-gig that one of his musicians was from Sunderland.

The rest of the night, however, saw the crowd soak up the sound of the voice that’s earned Elton his millions.

Anthemic Candle in the Wind was as emotive as you would expect and created a real atmosphere in the cavernous arena.

Sacrifice too was beautifully performed with passion – a perfectly crafted piece of pop at its best.

Though he must have played these songs literally thousands of times, Elton imbued them with a freshness that shows why he’s become one of the country’s greatest modern day musicians.

And how else does rock royalty reward fans for decades of loyalty? Elton took a break in the proceedings to spend a good five minutes signing autographs on items thrust at him from the front rows.

It was a bit of a lull for those of us in the cheap seats. But this was Elton John, I wasn’t going to argue with him.

Katy Wheeler