It was a beautiful fall week-end to venture out to visit the kids in Rapid City. We also took a Saturday morning drive over to Devil’s Tower just north of Sundance, WY. The fall leaves were in full color and we had a great time!
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Elton John came to Omaha over the weekend and we went to see his concert. This was the fifth time we have seen him in concert over a span of more than thirty years – and he was every bit as good this time as he was then! The first time we saw him was in 1975 while I was still in college. We drove out to Denver and went with my cousins, Patty and Arlene, to the McNichols Sports Arena where we were treated to a four hour music marathon. The concert began promptly at 8 pm and ended when it was nearly 1 am. Although Elton gave his band a rest, he never left the stage that night except for occasional episodes of piano bench throwing and breaking! The second time we saw Elton John was in Lincoln at the Devaney Sports Center in the early 80′s. We saw him again eight years ago at the Civic Auditorium in Omaha when we took all three kids along. The five of us happened upon an Elton John concert a fourth time in London in 2000 as we walked through Hyde Park. He was giving an outdoor concert in the park so we plopped down on the grass and enjoyed the music. So last Saturday night marked the fifth time we spent an evening with Elton John.
As I listened to all of his familiar songs, I felt almost as if I were spending the evening with an old friend. After all, Elton John had been there for many momentus occasions throughout my lifetime. Thoughts of college take me back to Der Loaf and Stein on “P” Street listening to Bennie and the Jets, Pinball Wizard, Saturday Night’s Alright, Rocket Man, and Crocodile Rock blaring on the jukebox. Our wedding song was Your Song and the recessional was Bitter Fingers, by John and Taupin – of course. Elton John was still there when our kids were small with the soundtrack of Lion King hooking a whole new generation on his powerful vocals and mastery of the piano. And who can forget Elton John at Diana’s funeral comforting the world with his tribute to the princess with Candle in the Wind. Elton John has been pounding out music for the past thirty-eight years!
Even though the music is still the same, a few things about his concerts have changed over the years. When the crowd swayed en masse to a ballad in the 70′s, people held lighters…on Saturday cell phones were waved in the air instead. In the 80′s we had to check our camera at the door as no photography was allowed…on Saturday people were snapping photos with their cell phones and digital cameras. In the 70′s, we watched him smash multiple piano benches dressed in outrageous outfits and flamboyant glasses…on Saturday he didn’t break anything, had no glasses and wore only a mildly outrageous outfit.
On the other hand, there were many similarities between the concerts. Drummer Nigel Olsson was still pounding out the beat as he has from the beginning, as well as long-time band member Davey Johnstone on the guitar and back-up vocals. Also, as with every Elton John concert we have been to, he was a masterful performer who definitely gave us our money’s worth and a night to remember!