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Review: Elton John wows fans of all ages at Civic Center concert

By By Lauren Campbell
George Washington High School
Throughout the course of Elton John’s two-and-a-half hour show Wednesday at the Charleston Civic Center it was clear he was having as much fun as the nearly sold-out audience.
Elton John opened the concert with “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding.”
A simple stage setup allowed the audience to fully focus on John and his magnificent voice.

English singer-songwriter Elton John was back in Charleston after 17 years on Wednesday for a concert at the Charleston Civic Center. The show kicked off this leg of his world tour, which has stops in Virginia Beach, Charlotte and the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival before heading overseas.

Needless to say, his concert was brilliant — not that anyone would ever think it wouldn’t be. Appealing to so many different age ranges, he was able to fit a little bit of everything into his performance without overdoing it. He included old favorites such as “Levon,” “Tiny Dancer” and “Rocket Man” as well as songs from his new album, “The Diving Board,” like “Oceans Away.”

The 67-year-old didn’t have as much glitz and glam as some might think he would, but he still wore his sparkly blue jacket and red-framed sunglasses with orange lenses for the entire show. He definitely hasn’t lost his sense of style after all these years of performing.

The stage wasn’t too complex, either. It was smaller than most concerts, allowing the oval-shaped stadium to sell more seats. At the back of the stage, there was semi-circle of video screens where images were projected and around it a “yellow brick road” (really just a thick yellow outline). The simplicity of it allowed more focus on John’s heavenly voice — something that many concerts with unnecessary extras distract you from.

Sometimes concerts become sad when the artists you’ve listened to for practically forever don’t sound nearly as good as what you were tricked into believing with their auto-tuned recordings. That was not the case with Elton John. He sounded the same, if not better, live than on his records. That’s something many people can’t say about their favorite artists.

He played his piano to perfection every song, and though he was sitting, he rocked out with his outward-facing right leg the entire time he played. It helped keep the crowd’s energy level high, and it even got to a point where he jumped onto his piano.

After every song, he thanked the crowd, making it clear they heard him say “I love what I do” and “I have the most wonderful life.” Knowing that he was having a good time playing made it that much better of a concert.

It was a truly great show.

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