Elton John puts on nearly three-hour show at Blaisdell
• Photo gallery: Elton John in concert
By Dave Dondoneau
The high notes don’t come as easy, or at all, for Elton John anymore.
But at age 62, the Rocket Man showed last night at Blaisdell Arena that he remains rock royalty.
Playing to a packed house, John, looking elegant in tuxedo tails and rose-colored glasses, opened with a 75-minute solo set of his own — just him and his piano — before percussionist Ray Cooper joined him for more than 90 minutes.
To say it was nearly a 3-hour rock concert wouldn’t be entirely accurate. It was more like an evening with Elton John. Classy, elegant, sometimes mesmerizing, sometimes taking the crowd down memory lane with old favorites like “Crocodile Rock,” “Daniel,” Nikita,” “That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” “Rocket Man” and “Your Song.”
Unlike many artists who pass through the Islands, play a few songs and talk little to the audience, John took the time before many of his lesser-known songs to explain the meaning behind them.
By the end of the show, security was ushering the reserved crowd toward the stage so fans could take photos and John could sign autographs and shake hands before the encore.
Before performing “Sixty Years On," John said he couldn't believe he wrote it 40 years ago, and before performing “Weight of the World,” he said it had special meaning to him because he’s now happy in life and that he made it through his wild years.
He was impeccable on the piano, and where he used to hit his high notes in songs like “Rocket Man,” he smoothly sang lower. When it came to “Crocodile Rock,” he let the audience hit the high notes in the “La-La-La-La” singalong.
After opening with “The One,” John proclaimed that Honolulu has long been one of his favorite cities — he’s played here seven times — and said he couldn’t believe he hadn’t performed here in nine years. He said he booked the concert because he was coming to Oahu for a holiday and wanted to perform while he was here.
His final solo song was “Your Song,” dedicated to the audience and all the fans who stuck by and supported him through the years.
Sitting front row for John’s act was Ozzy Osbourne — the Prince of Darkness himself — and his wife Sharon, who are vacationing on Oahu.
About 400 tickets remain for Saturday’s 8 p.m. performance at the Blaisdell Arena. Prices range from $67 to $157 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000.