ELTON JOHN & RAY COOPER AT THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE 28th JANUARY 2011
The day started with a bonus, Elton being interviewed by Chris Evans on Radio 2 just before I caught the train to London.
This was my first time at the Royal Opera House and I have to say it is a superb venue. The arena floor is quite small and the auditorium is on several levels. I had a great seat, where I was almost looking over Elton's shoulder.
Elton started off with Sixty Years On and afterwards mentioned his recent surprise and said the audience was probably in shock. He then performed a superb version of The Greatest Discovery. For the remainder of his solo set Elton was in good spirits. This part of the show was about five songs shorter than recent shows but I doubt if anyone present was disappointed as the quality of performance made up for it. Elton was in great voice (no mention of being unwell 2 days earlier) especially with a superb Your Song.
When Funeral For A Friend started, the excitement grew with the arrival of Ray Cooper taking the show to a new level. Once Ray was on stage I watched him more than Elton, he stole the show with his cool masterly performance. It was great to hear the likes of Indian Sunset, I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself, Better Off Dead and Crazy Water.
The set included three songs from The Union, and personally I loved these with the pureness of Eltonís voice and the musicianship of Ray on Gone To Shiloh. These live versions were so superior to the album.
After Crazy Water, Elton and Ray took their bows and left the stage and Elton returned to end a great night with Candle In The Wind. Before the final song Elton praised Ray andcommented on the time it takes to set up all his instruments especially the giant gong.
Elton laughed as he said he had just asked Ray why he had not used the gong at all tonight and Ray said he had forgotten to use it. It proves he can make mistakes but I donít think anyone but Elton had noticed.
I last saw Elton and Ray together in 1979 and have waited 32 years to see the pairing again. To be honest, I was getting a little bored with the Greatest Hits tour, but this show blew me away. It was like becoming a fan all over again. It certainly was a fantastic show, I would even say one of the best I have seen since I first had the pleasure in 1976.
Sixty Years On
The Greatest Discovery
When Love Is Dying
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
Never Too Old (To Hold Somebody)
Funeral For A Friend / Tonight
Better Off Dead
Gone to Shiloh
I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Take Me To The Pilot
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Bennie And The
Candle In The Wind