Review: Elton John in Fort Worth

When Elton John stepped onstage of the big but charmless auditorium that is the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena on Saturday, the near-sellout crowd went crazy. But it would be another half-hour before he played or sang a note. Instead, he introduced his co-headliners for the evening, Leon Russell. And thus began a rollicking and nostalgic marathon of music.

Russell, whose snowy mane and white Resistol made him look like Gandalf interpreted through a western idiom, banged out some piano-based acoustic bluesy folk songs given an acid-electric background — think “Layla.” Or for that matter, Elton himself. Russell has the same nasally wail that Willie Nelson has perfected, and took to five songs in his 20-minute set — including his signature “A Song for You” to a respectful, sometimes enthusiastic audience – before Sir E emerged. Then things went wild.

Elton kicked off, appropriately enough, with “Saturday Night’s All Right for Fighting,” and proceeded through 40 minutes of his classics: “Philadelphia Freedom,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “I’m Still Standing,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” and most impressively, a The Who-length (18-minute by my count) extended version of “Rocket Man” that generated several applause lines. (Watch video below.)

In the current AGE (by which I mean, of course, After the Gaga Era), the two badly placed screens and retro graphics were old-fashioned, even quaint, but not bad. In fact, the images took me back to my early youth during the bicentennial, when Elton reigned alongside The Captain and Tennille and The Carpenters. (Indeed: He is still standing.) It conjured the great ’70s era of what we thought flamboyance and showmanship was — only there were also great lyrics.

There were some great lyrics, too, when Russell joined him for another set off their new T-Bone Burnett-produced album, The Union, which has some beautiful melodies and rockabilly soul, but old or new stuff one thing’s clear: Elton still has it. Sure, he couldn’t hit the highest notes of the register (he didn’t even attempt the “no, no, no, no” on “Rocket Man”), but he looks good (if heavier) and sounds even better than he deserved to. The bitch is back? Damn, seems like he never left.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

FREE STUFF: Wanna see Elton John and Leon Russell in Fort Worth? We got tickets

In case you missed the announcement on the DV’s Facebook page, we are giving away a pair of tickets everyday this week to the Elton John and Leon Russell show. The two perform Nov. 13 at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena.

The two collaborated on the just-released album The Union, which was produced by Oscar-winner T. Bone Burnett. In the album, John delves into roots rock with Americana icon Russell. Now they are on the road together and the show makes its way here next weekend. In the video below, they discuss the making of the album.

To win your tickets, email “Elton John” in the subject line to Tickets for your chance to see the legends live. Good luck!

—  Rich Lopez

Concert Notice: Elton John and Leon Russell coming to Fort Worth in November

I was a little caught off guard when I saw the headline, “Elton John and Leon Russell to play Fort Worth Convention center Nov. 13″ online over at PegasusNews.com. I mean, it’s not a pairing that immediately springs to mind when you think about performers singing and/or recording together.

But then again, I guess neither was the duo of Elton John and Eminem.

I was also caught off guard because Elton John is coming to Fort Worth in less than two months, and this is the first I’ve heard of it. Not that I am always “in the know” about upcoming concerts. But you’d think an impending concert by someone of Elton John’s prominence would have gotten more publicity sooner than this. Even Rich Lopez, Dallas Voice’s go-to guy on all things musical, didn’t know until I asked him about it on Tuesday.

The concert is part of Elton and Leon’s joint “The Union” tour, and it will include songs from their joint album, also called “The Union,” which is due out Oct. 19. The album was produced by T Bone Burnett and includes “a variety of musical genres, from R&B, soul, gospel, country, pop and rock.”

So anyway, the Elton/Leon concert will be Saturday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena. Tickets go on sale Monday, Sept. 27, and range from $39.50 to $149.50. Get them online at Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Don’t forget those prices don’t include “applicable service charges,” and there is a limit of eight tickets per customer.

—  admin