Elton John can still light up Madison Square Garden at 66

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Robb D. Cohen/.RobbsPhotos.com

Elton John is still rocking after 40 years in the entertainment business, with his new album The Diving Board reaching the top 30 on iTunes charts

Elizabeth Muratore, Contributing Writer

Veteran musician and singer-songwriter Elton John showed why he is still revered after all these years.  John took the stage at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3, as part of his ongoing tour commemorating the 40th anniversary of his magnum opus, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”  As the lights dimmed and the opening chords to “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” blared through the arena, John strode on to the stage, sat at the piano, and showered the fans with musical charisma for the next two and a half hours.

The opening act was Croatian group 2CELLOS, consisting of two of John’s touring cello players, and their rousing renditions of songs by Michael Jackson and Nirvana got the audience pumped up for a fantastic show.

But it was not until Elton John began banging out his greatest hits on the piano that the real show began.  John performed a variety of songs within a massive setlist that ranged from crowd favorites like “Bennie and the Jets” and “Tiny Dancer” to more recent compositions such as “Home Again” and “Hey Ahab.”  He played hit after hit, with each song eliciting a roar from his fans after only a few notes, and interspersed tracks with frequent waves to the audience and comments on how much he loved New York.  Even so, the music was the real focus here, as John transitioned seamlessly from song to song with no intermission and only a few sips of water.  By the time he came back out for an encore of two of his greatest hits, “Your Song” and “Crocodile Rock,” John had proved to the audience that he was still at the top of his game.

The audience at the sold-out show was treated to an absolutely fantastic performance by Elton John.  His singing voice was clear and powerful.  He hit every note of each song with his combination of poise and confidence.  John’s lauded piano playing was on full display, and he added lengthy improved flourishes to nearly every song.  The band behind him was spot on, providing a lively backing for songs such as “Grey Seal.”

One of the show’s highlights was John’s stellar solo performance of “The One,” during which the audience was silent with awe.  The caliber of this performance set the bar at an almost unreachable level for contemporary artists.  His genuine enthusiasm and love for performing shined throughout concert, and he showed once again why he has been one of music’s premier live performers for over 40 years.

If you find yourself intrigued by this review of the legend that is Elton John, be sure to check out his new album, The Diving Board, which is available now on iTunes.