Archive for April 2010

Left off the set list

April 30, 2010

When Elton John played a show across the street from Lambeau Field back in 2003, most folks thought that was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Two weeks ago, he came back to Green Bay and did it again.

I have no good explanation about why I didn’t go see Elton John the first time. Temporary insanity? Mind you, I’m nowhere near a hardcore Elton John fan, but I wasn’t about about to miss out on a most unexpected second chance to see a legend. So we popped for the mid-price seats and took the binoculars.

A friend told me it would be worth whatever we spent. She was right.

There was no opening act. He started promptly at 8 p.m. — as advertised — and played 25 songs over the next 2 hours, 43 minutes. Picking the highlights is a rather subjective thing. Mine might not be yours. That said, a tour-de-force “Rocket Man” that went almost 14 minutes is right up there.

The lovely Janet kept hoping he’d play “Pinball Wizard.” But no. Why do covers when you have so much of your own material? I kept hoping he’d play “Empty Garden.” But no, he rarely plays that.

Yet for all the hits — and he played plenty — there was nothing from my favorite Elton John record. No complaints, though.

“Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” came out just as I graduated from high school in 1975. It’s all about writing, and that was pretty appealing to a kid who wanted to be a writer.

It’s all about storytelling, too. Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote the 10 songs in the order they appear on the album. Those songs tell their story, a story of how they struggled as they got started in London in the late ’60s.

Yet only one song from that album charted, and I can understand why Elton John might not want to sing “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.” It’s about how friends — Long John Baldry foremost among them — talked him out of suicide when he was wracked with doubt about having to decide between marrying his girlfriend and pursuing a music career.

Favorite records are rather subjective, too. Mine might not be yours. Regardless, enjoy tonight’s side on The Midnight Tracker.

“(Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket,” “Better Off Dead,” “Writing,” “We All Fall In Love Sometimes” and “Curtains,” Elton John, from “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy,” 1975. This is Side 2. It runs 20:24.

The buy link is to a 1996 CD release that is remastered and contains three extra tracks. Two of the extra tracks — “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “Philadelphia Freedom” — were released as singles in 1974 and 1975, respectively. A 2005 release, also remastered, has two CDs with six extra tracks and a live performance of the original album at Wembley Stadium in London in 1975.