“I remember when rock was young”, that’s how it goes right? It’s not just a lyric we’ll hear on this balmy evening resting beside Cork City Marina, it’s a statement that Elton John (and the large majority of his audience tonight) can attest to with conviction. At 70 years of age, Elton has brought his Wonderful Crazy Night tour to the Marquee. Walking calmly to the stage, he waves out to the 4,000 fans as if it was nothing and opens the night with ‘The Bitch is Back’. The band playing with an ease that only comes having played with each other for so long. Irrespective of age, the entire tent takes the cue to screaming the words ‘Bitch’ back at the musical legend as it’s emblazoned twenty feet tall on a screen behind the pianist.
Some of the musicians alongside Elton have been with him since the very beginning and despite being a renowned showman he allows plenty of room for those around him to flaunt their ability. The early rendition of ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues’ which rolls into ‘Take Me To The Pilot’ is a highlight of the night.
Throughout, Elton breaks up the music for brief moments of interaction with the crowd. The most poignant of which comes before ‘I Want Love’ dedicated to the victims of terror attacks; the tragedies in England have had a profound effect on many artists and he is no different, ‘praying for a safer world for our children’ – the screen behind lights up with the message, “We Love You – BER LDN MCR PAR ORL NCE STO”.
Having made it about halfway into the set, the remainder of this concert is composed entirely of classic tracks; ‘Tiny Dancer’, ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Your Song’ all follow, one after another. Elton’s voice in recent years has received its criticisms, his passion for performance too – despite one or two small differences – we see no evidence of that. Of course, 54 years in the game will take its toll on anyone and there’s no doubt in our mind that his entire ‘being’ is ran as any business would be – that’s not to say we don’t think he doesn’t enjoy his job.
Towards the end of the night, Elton takes a moment to honour George Michael; having famously performed ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ as a duet, he tell us it was unbearable following his death. Having exhausted his back catalogue, Elton leaves the stage and returns for one encore, ‘Candle In The Wind’. He makes his thanks, takes a bow, compliments the Cork crowd and abandons the stage.