Friday night’s alright for…

…well, a livestream Elton John concert, that’s what!

Of course, it would have been so much better to be there in person, but the livestream of the Yamaha 125th Anniversary concert wasn’t too shabby.  In some respects, it’s like having a front row seat:

Elton singing Tiny Dancer
Elton singing Tiny Dancer

My only complaint  – the concert started at 8:00 pm PST. Elton didn’t come onstage until after 2:00 am my time. So it will be a slow Sat-uh-day for me, I’m guessing. But I did manage to stay up and watch the concert in its entirety, from Earth, Wind and Fire all the way through to Sir Elton.

The guest list included EW&F, as mentioned, as well as David Foster, Chaka Khan, Lucy Schwartz, Amy Grant, Leogun, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, David King, Toto, Michael McDonald and Sarah McLachlan. I really enjoyed Lucy (heard her for the very first time), Michael (love me some Doobie Brothers) and Sarah McLachlan (what a voice – and Angel is one of my favorite songs).

When Elton finally did appear, he played 5 songs:

  • Your Song
  • Tiny Dancer
  • Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
  • I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
  • Rocket Man

The first 3 were played with a 70-piece orchestra, conducted by James Newton Howard (an Elton John Band alumnus).  Very nice.

The last 2 were Elton by himself, allowing some virtuoso moments.  I especially like the jazzy rendition of Blues:

Was there anything new or earth shattering about his performance?  Not really, but Elton could sing the phone book and I’d be happy. But it was an historic concert nonetheless.  Why, you ask?  Because this wasn’t just Elton playing a Yamaha piano. It was Elton playing a Yamaha Disklavier piano in Anaheim, all the while his actual piano performance was being reproduced simultaneously to remote Disklaviers at locations around the world.  Pretty cool stuff, not to mention first ever.

I do wish they had shown what the remote locations looked like. It would have been really cool to see one of the Disklaviers seemingly playing (Elton John songs) by itself. Stay tuned, those videos will surely appear on YouTube soon.

I would’ve loved to see something more uptempo/rock in his set list – say, Burn Down the Mission – with the orchestra. That would have been phenomenal. But I understand that the objective was to showcase the piano.

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Congratulations, Yamaha, on 125 years! And thank you for partnering and showcasing Elton in such a first-of-a-kind way.

(BTW, did you know that I also own a Yamaha piano?  I guess that’s another ‘one degree’ for me and EJ. Admittedly, mine is only a baby grand but it is a Yamaha. I must confess that EJ playing Yamahas did factor into my purchase decision just a bit)!

My 6 o’clock alarm came way too soon this morning.  No rest for the weary, as they say.  Nevertheless, it was a great start to my weekend. Now, EJ, let’s get some South Florida stops in your schedule here soon!