Julian and I were privileged to be invited as Centurion members with compliments to an exclusive concert in New York City with Sir Elton John. The entire weekend was a once in a lifetime experience. We arrived Friday night and stayed at the luxurious New York Palace. On Saturday we were invited to an exclusive lunch at the Ritz Carlton and were interviewed and videoed. This interview will appear on the American Express website, more information later. The subject of the interview was our memories and songs of Sir Elton John: Julian and I were fortunate in the early 80’s to attend our first concert with Elton John in South Africa at Sun City. Being here today twenty-seven years later at an exclusive Centurion member event, an intimate evening with ELTON JOHN was the most awesome experience:
Date: Sunday, June 6, 2010
Time: 8 PM
Place: Avery Fisher Hall
Columbus Ave. at 65th Street
New York City, NY
The evening began with an exclusive reception with open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and a private meeting with Sir Elton. We were the first to have our picture taken with Elton, the one posted above. You can imagine our emotions when he embraced us both for the photograph.
After that, we were seated in the Avery Fisher Hall with incredible seats and the concert began, Sir Elton John on stage with only his big black piano. He was dressed in a long black tail coat with his name embroidered down the lapel.
It was at this time when I used my BlackBerry camera, for the first time. I had to capture the moment!
The concert was an intimate experience with his audience, he spoke about the songs he played. The clarity of the piano keys as he moved his fingers across the key board was no other than spectacular. He played for two and a half hours. He spoke about his memories of friends and those no longer with him.
He referred to Ronald Reagan’s lack of not realizing how serious the AIDS epidemic was; in the early years when Elton felt that if more was done to combat AIDS more people could have been helped.
Elton lost his dearest friend, Ray Cooper, but spoke about the last concert Ray performed at. As sick as he was, with help onto the stage, Elton said when he started to sing his voice still had the sound of a sixteen year old. Ray died three weeks after that concert. Elton sang a song in tribute to Ray and asked G-d to bless his dear friend Ray.
Elton also spoke about his lyricist and closest friend, Bernie Taupin, and spoke about the fact that they have never worked together in the same room or been together to write and compile a song. For this reason they have remained such incredible partners and never argued, not even one single day about song writing.
I felt like I was back in the past, revisiting my youth, standing right at the stage listening to him sing "Daniel"- Your Song, "Candle in the Wind"- the tribute was to Norma Jean; Marilyn Manroe who he had never met. He was too young and she died before her time, her life like a ‘candle in the wind.’
I remembered Elvis’s version of “Candle in the Wind,” his tribute to Norma Jean. He never met her, as he was busy too.
Amongst the mix of songs, Elton sang a song to be released on a new album “You’re never too old (To Hold Somebody).”
I am a couple of months older than Elton, so I grew up with his music in the 70’s, we were already in our early twenties. His compassion for life, sense of dress, and music has stood out in the world. He was knighted and is today known as Sir Elton John.
His friendship to Princess Diana was unsurpassible and “Candle in the Wind” was rewritten as a tribute to Diana, her life too was like a ‘candle in the wind’ and he misses her so much.
We are so appreciative of American Express- Centurion Card, having included us in this incredible experience. The cherry on the cake was receiving a beautifully framed sheet of music, “Your Song”, autographed by Elton John and a beautifully framed photograph with Julian and I and Sir Elton John. Elton and I began wearing dark glasses at the same time, and we both cannot be without them day or night.
The coincidence of Julian and Elton John both in black and red was astonishing. I almost feel like the odd man out!