A Spectacular Evening With Elton John

Our newest adventure: The gift of a trip to Hawaii – including a spectacular private concert performed by the infamous Elton John!

Recently I wrote a post about celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and how so many things have contributed to this successful marriage/partnership. As a couple we have so much to be proud of, but we consistently work hard to maintain this success through the years by working at the relationship every day. When viewing our Empty Nest from the outside, it may seem that all we do is have fun and travel, but the reality is that there is a great deal of focus and career engagement going on behind the scenes, particularly for my husband Craig.

Craig’s work is incredibly demanding and requires frequent travel and a long work week. He works for Oracle, a multi-billion dollar hardware and software company, who rewards their sales and sales management teams with an unparalleled trip called Club Excellence. Once a year only 3% of over 33,000 sales people, around the globe, who reach an extraordinary level of performance, are treated to a trip of a lifetime and this year was no exception.

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Each year, the destination for the rewards trip is either located in The Bahamas or on one the Hawaiian Islands. This year’s Club Excellence was an all expenses paid vacation to the big island of Hawaii for four nights of luxury, activities and events culminating with the grand finale, a special concert from the music industry’s best of the best! Through the years we have enjoyed private performances from Eddie Vedder, Bruno Mars, Sting and this year’s superstar: Sir Elton John.


 

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According to EltonJohn.com, “Elton is the third most successful artist in the history of the American charts, behind only Elvis Presley and The Beatles. He has had 56 top 40 singles in the United States, a total second only to Elvis Presley. He achieved seven #1 albums in the three-and-a-half-year period from 1972 to 1975 — a period of concentrated success surpassed only by the Beatles.”

Elton John in Hawaii
Just ten minutes before the concert was about to begin – no one had even walked over to the stage yet!

Interestingly enough, although Elton is one of the most talented music superstars of all time, he was so unpretentious and genuinely delighted to be there with us. Additionally, because of the serious possibility of a hurricane, the Oracle event planners reluctantly asked Elton if he could come one day early! He answered with: “No problem, I would be happy do it.” It is difficult for me to convey just how touched I was by his performance. Elton John is an icon, a creative genius and generous philanthropist. I was in awe.

He is 67 years old and his unmistakable voice sounded just like his recordings did back in the 70’s when I first discovered his music.  I used to sit cross-legged on the floor of my bedroom with my friends and listen to his music for hours. However, what impressed me the most were his astonishing piano skills! It was freaking unbelievable to watch him play the piano like a person 1/3 of his age. It was truly remarkable. Here is a video clip that I was able to capture. Watch how he sings “Oh Ya!”

I was obviously thrilled to see Elton John perform and because there were only about 1,500 people in attendance, our proximity to the stage was unlike any concert I have ever experienced. I stood on the fence just ten feet away from him…It gave me chills! The audience at the event represented Oracle employees and their significant others, who traveled to Hawaii from all over the globe. I met intriguing, talented people from South Africa, Ireland, India, England, China, South America and of course from the United States – almost every continent was represented. What I found quite interesting was that Elton John transcended any language or cultural barriers and even the youngest of the attendees (in their 20’s) still knew who he was and loved the concert.

Along with his band which included his drummer Nigel Olsson, who played amazing drums while wearing a suit and tie and his lead guitarist Davey Johnstone who rocked it like a 20 year old, they performed every song I could have hoped to hear. In between songs he spoke about his writing partner of 41 years, Bernie Taupin. Fun fact: The two of them never write a song in the same room. Bernie writes the lyrics, sends them to Elton and then he writes the music. Here is a partial list of what they played magnificently and for two hours! Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, Bennie and the Jets, Levon, Candle in the Wind, Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, Tiny Dancer, Your Song, Crocodile Rock, I’m Still Standing (one of my faves).

He closed the concert with the Circle of Life from the Lion King, which unexpectedly brought tears to my eyes. The song was released in 1994 when our daughter Alex was just six years old. She and I sang that song in the car at the top of our lungs, over and over again and we bought countless Lion King stuffed animals she played with for years. All of those delightful memories came rushing back which only enhanced my experience!

While performing, Elton John would frequently get up and walk briskly across the stage and stand and point at the audience and ham it up with a huge smile. Raising his arms, he asked for more applause and enthusiasm. He was genuine, gracious and sincerely thrilled to perform. It was P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-A-L!

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This Elton John concert “adventure” was one of the most incredible musical experiences of my life. I have attended hundreds of concerts from U-2 to The Rolling Stones and I can say unequivocally that this unforgettable concert was the best of the best! With the drama of a possible hurricane, coupled with my childhood hero performing, standing near the beach in Hawaii at sunset, I could barely contain myself! I am so fortunate and so very grateful to have been able to attend.

I took so many photos, I have had a difficult time narrowing down which to share! Enjoy!

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Lead guitarist Davey Johnstone and Elton

 

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Davey Johnstone

 

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A beautiful Hawaiian sunset before the concert.

 

All photos and videos were taken with my iPhone 6.

 

 

 

 

31 thoughts on “A Spectacular Evening With Elton John”

  1. All I can say is WOW! I have seen him in concert a couple times over the years and he is amazing. Your photos are spectacular thanks for sharing them. Have a great week.

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  2. Great to read the details of your trip. Elton John’s Greatest Hits was the first album I purchased with my own money when I was 10. I saw him in Vegas (Red Piano) several years ago and was kind of disappointed because the show had so many Vegas-style props and extras it detracted from Elton and his music! The Oracle show sounds amazing. I too have fond memories of singing The Lion King soundtrack with my daughter!

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  3. I’m an Elton John fan and have seen him in concert, but nothing as intimate as this. It must have been great. I’m impressed with the photos you got with your phone. Concert photos are tricky.

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  4. What a wonderful opportunity for you and the Oracle crew. I often tag along on my partners’ business trips but haven’t encountered anything like Elton John in performance. Pretty cool you were able to get all those shots with your phone too!

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  5. Hi Suzanne,
    What amazing photos you got – what an amazing company to work for who appreciate the efforts of their employees and encourage them with incomparable treats!!
    Glad to hear you were impressed by Elton in the 70’s – that’s when my late husband Roger Pope was his drummer. When he heard of Roger’s passing an hour before he went on stage in Las Vegas in September last year, he said some nice things about Roger and dedicated “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” to him…..we played that clip from the concert at Roger’s wake.
    Elton is a one off and that is for sure. He genuinely cares. Long may he perform. Hope you get to see him again sometime.
    Mrs.Sue Pope

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    • Dear Sue: Your story gave me chills! Thank you so much for sharing! Your husband was such a talented man! I felt so strongly that I needed to share my experience. If you have other stories about your husband and his music please email me and I would love to post them! Thank you again for reading and for your comments.

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  6. I’ve never gotten the chance to see Sir Elton John and the band and I’ve been listening to his music since the early 70’s when I lived in the orphanage in mccanicsville, PA. I graduated but was pregnant 2 weeks before and never had the opportunity due to raising a family. Now I’m disabled and with several chronic conditions. I pray one day I’ll be able to afford to see him before either he retires or I expire. Lol that’s awful but I’m sure you get my point. The pain photos are beautiful, even i got excited looking at them. I always knew he was awesome. Now I want the experience. God bless. Mar Edwards

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    • Mary: I am so glad that you enjoyed my post! I am sorry that you have never had the chance to see Elton in person. It was my first and I have waited a long time as well. I wish you the very best and I appreciate you reading my post and visiting my blog!

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  7. Roger Pope made great contributions to ej…i beleive he played on tiny dancer…not sure, but rock of the westies, blue moves. he brought something unique to the ej sound. and if you heard the bootlegs of that era, or at least get the reissue of Captain fantastic with the live from wembly 1975 to hear just a sample or Rogers talent. blue moves and rock of the westies are highly recommended too!

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  8. ive seen ej at least 60 times, the first being in 1979. sadly i never got to see him when roger pope was in the band. love the bootlegs though, check out 1976 (earls court i think) footage on utube. good quality too!

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    • Bruce: Thank you so much for your comments! You have been him over 60 times! That is amazing! Did you see above the comment by Mrs Sue Pope about her husband? Thank you again for all of the Elton John information!

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  9. Your welcome Suzanne, i did see mrs popes comments which i was responding to. Only a special artist like ej could a person see so many times. People dont understand it. But If you just look at all the songs hes written since i first saw him in 79, you can understand why a person would want to see him perform so many times thru the years. Always hoping to hear a song hes never performed or just written.
    Heck his greatest hits were from 70-76. I wish i had seen him earlier. Thanks for sharing, glad you had such great seats and such a good time.

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    • Thank you again Bruce for all of your personal insights. I like “old” EJ as well. My favorite song and first real song I fell in love with was Daniel. I had a 45 and used to sit in my room and write down the lyrics. Wonderful memories!

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  10. Absolutely wonderful post, Suzanne! My husband and I are also huge Elton John fans and it’s incredible that you were able to see him in this setting and in such an intimate venue. Lucky you! I am so envious! We were able to see him a few years ago in Las Vegas when he first started his show in his own personally designed theatre there, and it was the first time I ever spontaneously broke into tears when an artist walked out onto the stage. The show hadn’t even started yet, lol! Such is the power of this amazing artist. I am enjoying your blog very much and so hope you will take a moment to come and read about our travel adventures when you have a moment. I would love to hear from you! Keep on travelling and sharing! (PS your pics are incredible!)

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    • Deborah – First of all thank you so much for your enthusiasm and kind comments. It means so much. I understand what you mean about spontaneously breaking into tears! I also did that with Paul McCartney! We have only seen him once and it was spectacularly moving like with Elton John. I can’t say enough for the way Elton was so genuine. He is one of the biggest rock stars ever! I look forward to learning more about you and what you do! Thank you again and I will keep sharing our adventures!

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