Earlier this year saw the long-anticipated release of the “musical fantasy” Rocketman, a biopic with a difference that stars Taron Egerton as Elton John – plus a couple of weeks ago the man himself marked 29 years of sobriety. His own farewell tour is still ongoing, however Liquid Lunch Productions have come up with the perfect treat for Reggie Dwight fans who find themselves up in Edinburgh for this year’s Fringe.
Join Fergus (vocals & keyboard), Will (drums), Andreas (guitar), Dom (saxophone) and Billy (bass) as they head down the Yellow Brick Road every other evening, playing some of the legendary singer’s famous tunes – most of which also feature in the film, incidentally.
The band started with the rabble-rousing The Bitch is Back, before slowing things down with a heartfelt rendition of the incomparable Your Song. Fergus cheerily chatted between numbers, reminding the audience of Sir Elton’s infamous Donald Duck performance of the latter – and also giving us free rein to sing along or have a bit of a boogie. The next two songs were definite tempters, Crocodile Rock getting the pace back up, whilst Bennie and the Jets got everyone stomping their feet (not least the band, as this is introduced as their favourite song to play live – you can see why, as they all really get into the groove).
Fergus decided to go it alone on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, to great effect, before bringing the rest of the band back in for a terrific version of Rocket Man – the film, we’re told, is still on Fergus’ ‘to see’ list… This was followed by the “belter” Philadelphia Freedom, and then a new favourite of mine: Honky Cat. After falling in love with this number in the film, it was a real joy to hear it performed live and with such great energy.
In a bid to squeeze a few more tunes in they created a bit of a piano ballad medley – this seamlessly jumped from Candle in the Wind (the original version) to Daniel, and ended up at Tiny Dancer. These worked wonderfully as a little trilogy, and it was definitely worth having abridged versions to ensure they all had their moment in the spotlight. Ending the night with Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) was an absolute masterstroke, as everyone was absolutely in the zone by then, and more than happy to chant along with the chorus!
As well as the obvious draw of the classic tunes, the enthusiasm of the band is a big selling point for this concert; they powered their way through the 50-minute set, getting the audience onside quickly and showing us a really good time.
With so much on offer at the Festival, you’d be forgiven for maybe overlooking tribute concert offerings like this (the same five-piece also perform Billy Joel hits on alternate nights), but if one does ever catch your eye then you really should give it a go. And if you’re a fan of Elton John in particular then I couldn’t recommend this show more highly.
Elton John: Rocket Man Live! runs at theSpace @ Niddry Street (Lower) on alternate days until 23 August 2019. Tickets are available online or from the box office.