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.
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):
Photo: Zach Everson
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