The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

April 11, 2013

Saturday night with ‘The Rocketman’ Elton John

By B.J. Drye, Editor
CNHI

Thursday, April 11, 2013 — The Grateful Dead had its Deadheads.

Jimmy Buffett has his Parrotheads.

I guess Elton John has his … Eltonites?

Whatever you call them, they were out in full force Saturday night in Winston-Salem.

I found out that Saturday night’s all right for … partying.

Outside before the show people were lined up and comparing concert stories, telling of where they had traveled to see their favorite musician.

Half the fun was the experience leading up to it. My mom and dad’s favorite Elton song is “Crocodile Rock.” So in honor of their anniversary, and since I wanted to see himmyself, I thought I’d buy them tickets to the concert. Well, dad decided he didn’t want to go, so Mom and I ventured to Winston for another chance to be “in with the band.”

Showing her frugal side, Mom decided to go with a small drink instead of a large to save a buck. Well, when they don’t have lids for small cups and will not give you a large cup without buying another drink, saving a buck ends up costing you another $5.

The lid is essential since at our last outing she spilled a drink on the guy in the next seat. She wanted to make sure no spillage this time around. This time we had a father with his young daughter, so we thought that was pretty cool. We saw lots of people my age or younger, which proves that Elton’s music transcends the generations.

It was a taste of America to say for sure. There were people of all walks of life there and many sights, such as big glasses, light-up glasses, young girls in cocktail dresses, cocktail concession stands, men dressed in white suits and dancing of all kinds, to say the least.

In addition to the many familiar songs from Elton, people-watching was also a fun part.

I did not dance, but I do wish I could play the piano like Elton, or at least play altogether. But, then again, I wish I could talk like Morgan Freeman.

The 66-year-old Elton performed more than 20 songs in a show that lasted around two and half hours.

I’ve been to a few concerts, but this one was unlike any other and I have to say it is now my favorite.

It’s hard to believe that I would put it ahead of Willie, Merle and Ray or B.J. Thomas or George Jones, but I guess this truly was my first rock concert with a big name.

Some people might think it would be boring to see a man play a piano, but he does so much more than merely tickle the ivories. He had the crowd rocking and standing for the majority of the night, which makes it a little hard to see when you can’t stand the whole night — or if you’re like a man near me who was in a wheelchair and had his view obstructed for most of the show.

But the rocking was also maintained through the work of Elton’s band, which included a drummer (one of his original bandmates), a keyboardist, guitarist and four ladies, one of whom was in Sly and the Family Stone.

I know we will never see someone of his status perform at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center, but with the great facility we have to offer there, it seems like some promoters would at least want to come to our area with some big names.  

We are a great county to visit.

B.J. Drye is editor of The Stanly News & Press. Send comments or story ideas to bj@stanlynewspress.com or PO Box 488, Albemarle, NC 28002.