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Cancellations and Expectations

On Friday and Saturday nights, Elton was to play Auckland, new-zealand, but both dates were cancelled because of torrential rain and flash flooding. Thousands were already at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday evening when they heard the news. Some didn’t realise how dire the situation had become and thought the show should go on. They had to be evacuated, and a state of emergency was issued.

Elton was at the venue and ready to go on, but kept getting conflicting weather reports. He shared the attendees’ frustration and disappointment, but understood that their safety was paramount.

Auckland Transport helped arrange special event buses on Friday. Akltransport previously received flack for suggesting that fans use their own cars rather than public transit. Trains were unavailable because of rail service upgrades, so the agency figured that buses would be too busy.

So Elton and his band could only bring their show to one city in New Zealand. In Christchurch, he acknowledged the earthquake in 2011 and two mosque shootings in 2019. He said this is a beautiful and resilient city that has ”gone through hell” over the last few years.

Before this, Elton wrapped up his tour of Australia. He made waves, but that had to do with his plane, not his performance. Last Sunday, his private-jet landed at Sydney Airport at 12:44 a.m., which is an hour past curfew. The Federal Department of Infrastructure explained that this was because of ”traffic constraints,” so the exemption was not specifically granted to Elton.

In Brisbane, his last stop in Australia prior to New Zealand, Elton admitted that performing live was what he loved most. But he now plans to spend his time with family and in the recording studio. Elton thanked the audience for their loyalty, and pointed out concertgoers who were decked out in special outfits. ”There must be six Dodger Stadium outfits,” he estimated.

When Elton played Dodger Stadium in November, Cidny Bullens was in attendance. Cidny–who was then ”Cindy”–was a backing vocalist when Elton appeared at the venue in Los Angeles, California, for two shows in 1975.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Grammy Awards saluted Paul Simon–which included a videotaped message from Elton. There’s another tribute which will be taped next month. This time around, it’s the Beach Boys. So far, Elton hasn’t been mentioned as one of the participants, but we’d be surprised not to at least see him on video. After all, in 1988, when the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it was Elton who did the honours.

Elton was also among the entertainers at the 2001 All-Star-Tribute to Brian Wilson.

Elton could well be among those taking part in King Charles‘ coronation in May. Among the celebrations will be a concert on the seventh. Other names which have cropped up include Rod Stewart, the Spice Girls, and Brian May.

We’d imagine Elton has contributed to Bernie-Taupin’s memoirs, to be released in September. It’s called Scattershot: Life, Music, Elton & Me.

Perhaps Bernie, who ”won’t regurgitate” what’s been written before, will share more details when he appears on his friend Chris Hillman‘s SiriusXM show, Burrito-Stand (date tba).

Do you remember when Telford Priory students in Shropshire, England, came up with a remote rendition of an EJ classic? Elton appreciated the performance of I’m Still Standing, and promised to send along concert tickets. He has done just that, and the now ex-pupils will be in attendance when he plays Birmingham, England, on 10 June.

Heather Headley will be reprising another evergreen, Your Song, which she once did for Elton. This was at the Kennedy-Center in Washington, DC, where he was honoured in 2004. Other selections are to come from The Lion King and Aida. The 10 February event at New York City’s Carnegie Hall will feature the New York Pops as well.

And don’t forget that you can now listen to the podcast of the exclusive George Matlock interview with Kiki Dee.


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