Elton John let Louisville fans feel the love Friday night (that's a metaphor!) [Music]

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Friday night Elton John could've been back in his bed, emailing his partner and 3-month-old son, planning his outfit to the Royal Wedding or counting his money a lot earlier in the evening and fans at his Greatest Hits Live show still would've left the KFC Yum! Center happy.

But instead of putting the show on autopilot like a rocket man just doing his job five days a week, the 64-year-old put on an energetic 25-song, 2:49 concert that demonstrated Sir Elton is just as excited about being on stage now as he was when he was a 15-year-old named Reginald Dwight playing the Northwood Hills Hotel pub on weekends.

John took the stage 10 minutes after the scheduled 8 p.m. start, sporting dyed hair, a turquoise shirt and a full-length jacket with tails and Greek goddess of sorts on the back—a subdued appearance by his standards.

Supported by a drummer, percussionist, guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and four backup singers, John's approach to his setlist would've made for a good strategy at a road race: out fast, settle down, finish strong. He opened with "Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" and it wasn't until after "Tiny Dancer" four songs later that many audience members—an older crowd themselves—took their seats.

Some highlights:

  • A piano solo before "Tiny Dancer" that excited John's band as much as the crowd
  • "Rocket Man," which stayed mostly true to the original, save John's smart decision not to try for the high note, before unfolding into a lengthy solo
  • The many singalongs throughout the night (no surprise with such a hits-packed setlist), the pinnacle of which was "Crocodile Rock" La, la la la la la
  • At the beginning of the encore, John took a few minutes at the front of the stage to sign autographs, accommodating almost every request
  • The middle-aged woman in the lobby sporting a black t-shirt with "The Bitch Is Back" written on the front in glitter

A five-song stretch from John's latest release, "The Union," with Leon Russell, might have worked better if it was broken up and the tracks interspersed throughout the show.

"Have a great time next week. Party on baby," John said before ending the show with a one-song encore, "Your Song." Derby fans would do well to leave Churchill on May 7 as happy as Elton fans were leaving The Bucket last Friday.

To see clips of the show, check out Elton John live at Louisville's KFC Yum! Center: The definitive YouTube videos.

The setlist (via setlist.fm):

  1. Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
  2. Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
  3. Levon
  4. Madman Across the Water
  5. Tiny Dancer
  6. Philadelphia Freedom
  7. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  8. Daniel
  9. Rocket Man
  10. I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
  11. Hey Ahab
  12. The Best Part of the Day
  13. Gone To Shiloh
  14. Monkey Suit
  15. When Love Is Dying (with band introductions before song)
  16. Sad Songs (Say So Much)
  17. Take Me To The Pilot
  18. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
  19. Candle in the Wind
  20. Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  21. Burn Down the Mission
  22. Bennie and the Jets
  23. The Bitch Is Back
  24. Crocodile Rock
  25. Your Song (Encore)

Photo: Zach Everson

About Zach Everson
Travel news/travel buzz editor at MapQuest. Previously, I was a freelance writer, contributing to The Wall Street Journal, Air Canada's enRoute, Eater, USA Today, Condé Nast Traveller, BlackBook, Curbed, Gridskipper, Deadspin, and Fox News. I also was the founding editor of Eater Louisville and the director of content and editorial strategy for Louisville.com.
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