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BACKSTAGE: Elton Yodells his way through Zurich
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Elton’s the big Swiss cheese
27 November 2000 @ 2:18

Concert report by George Matlock

Elton took the normally quiet Swiss by storm on Nov. 24, 2000, at the Hallenstadion in Zurich.

Dismissing earlier voice and playing problems experienced in Germany, Elton provided a faultless performance in 2hours 50 minutes. Yes, you could set your watch by it!

There was all the efficiency of Elton’s performance, he introduced his songs, and there were new variations on several songs, but somehow the soul was not there, nor small talk. It was as though Elton was playing to stereotypes – in fact the Swiss do like a good joke! A few grins and gestures, but no autographs followed the several bouquets offered up on stage.

There was some speculation that Elton had been “impounded” and was unable to leave back to Nice, denting his humour. Zurich has a tight flight curfew from 11pm. I cannot confirm whether in fact private jets are able to use nearby airfields outside of that compliance.

In a truly elegant, rather than gory, blue-grey suit, Elton played the set list which included American Triangle. The show was also televised in a small part by national Swiss TV SDFRS, and that was cut with segments of a report on the life of the Hercules Swiss rep, Bruno Kohli. A great chance to see his lavish Elton collection! And the Hercules t-shirt made a guest appearance on the programme too! Well done Bruno!

Stephan was over from Munich, while Aro Wering, our flying Dutchman, was in Zurich for a week getting ready!

I tried an innovation…SMS text messaging the whole concerts’ developments live to Françoise, now with, in Belgium where it was turned into a report translated from English into French AND uploaded online within 2 minutes of Elton walking off stage! Just as good as Swiss efficiency, and a match for Reuters any day!

Have to admit – it was just another working day for me! But I did hear the songs at least!

After the show, local Zurich TV managed to collar about 10 Elton fans for an interview.

Afterwards, the TV service wanted a song-a-long of Crocodile Rock. Suffice to say, everyone split, except me, Bruno Kohli and Martin Stahli. We sang to heart’s content, and the next day had to endure watching the item every hour on Zurich TV, as it was repeated and interspersed between parts of the real master’s live recording from the stage that night!

Perhaps the only downbeat thing was that security took away the whole ticket, instead of the stub, denying fans a memento. I hope to take this up with the authorities, as it’s simply not fair. What is more, the tickets clearly have a tear area.

I’d like to thank Martin for his hospitality and good humour.

It was a productive night for us, and one which proves it’s always fun to travel to concerts abroad and make new friends. I trust that next time more of my countrymen will make the effort to leave the UK and enjoy a different kind of great show.

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