I don't think I'm alone when it comes to having a list of things I want to do before I die. My list, however, is not one I've written down. This could be because I'd rather be out doing stuff rather than writing down a list of things I want to do. But then again, I write a blog, so I guess that's not a very good excuse.
This past Saturday, the one that happened two days ago, was February 24, 2007. On that night, there happened to be a concert in Albuquerque. It was thanks to this concert that I was able to [mentally, I suppose] check off something from my aforementioned list. Elton John hit the stage, and until the day before (Friday the 23rd, if you're counting), I was sad because I was not going to get to go. Under the impression that the show had sold out, imagine my surprise when a good friend of mine called me up and mentioned that there were still some tickets left, and would I want to go.
To which I responded: "Gosh, let's see... yes!!! That'd be awesome!"
Miraculously, we managed to get quite decent seats, too. The only problem was that, while they were in the same row, there were four seats separating them. We figured that maybe we could ask the people sharing our row if they wouldn't mind scooting over a seat so we could sit next to each other, seeing as there's nothing worse than sharing an amazing experience with people you don't know (if they're cool people, no problem, but we weren't that lucky).
Thankfully, the people in our row were at least kind enough to scoot over for us. I took up residence on the end seat, thankful to be in a position so that I could stretch my legs if I needed to (the concert was held in an arena on the state fair grounds, and we were in the stadium seats, which are notoriously uncomfortable and squished together super close too).
Doors opened at 6:30 pm, and the show was slated to start at 8:00 pm. My friend and I arrived early, around 7:00, so we had time to walk around and take everything in before going to sit down for the show. Once we made it to our seats, we sat down and waited patiently for the show to start. As with most concerts I attend, I wasn't expecting it to start promptly at 8:00. But practically the moment my watch struck the hour, the lights suddenly went out. The next thing I knew, the band was on stage, and the show was beginning.
Elton, decked out in a black suit with embroidered logo and purple glasses, strolled to his piano as his band started up the first song of the evening, which happened to be one of my all time favorites, "Funeral For a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)." I couldn't think of a more perfect way to kick off the evening, given how the song starts out simple, then goes through five minutes of crescendo before the vocals even start. By the time Elton starting singing, I was completely lost in the moment, experiencing that euphoria that only live music brings.
And so it went, Elton and his band stopping only for a swig of water or to introduce the next song. The evening started out intense, then gradually flowed into some of the softer songs, before suddenly and thrillingly returning to solid rock and roll to round out the full two-hour set. I would have been happy if the concert had gone on all night, and felt that the evening should never end. A few of the highlight songs of the evening were "Rocket Man," "Bennie and the Jets" (I don't really like the album version of this song, but it was amazing live), "Philadelphia Freedom," "Crocodile Rock," "The Bitch is Back," and the must-play song for a Saturday night show to round out the evening, "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting."
Elton and his band then left the stage, only to return again for Elton to wave at the crowd and then to sign stuff for people standing at the stage. Then the band returned for three more songs, which lasted another twenty minutes or so. Needless to say, I was ecstatic that there was an encore.
To sum up my experience, I have to say it was nothing short of amazing. Despite the huge pole blocking my line of sight, I was able to see the band pretty well. There were giant screens broadcasting the band on stage too, which was fun to watch because that way you could see the bands' faces better.
Throughout the evening, I was completely unable to sit still. Even though we were in the seats, I found myself moving constantly, tapping to the beat, singing along, or dancing in my seat. I found it strange to note that my friend and I seemed to be the only ones into the show. Everyone else around me stared at the stage, many of them stone-faced. How they could all be so stoic in the middle of something so moving is beyond me. On the other hand, I suppose that I must have been downright crazy to them.
Finally, I have two notes to sum up this incredibly lengthy blog entry. (If it was any shorter I could not be doing it justice. Sorry.) Here they are:
- During "Crocodile Rock," a number of people jumped up from their seats and started dancing and singling along with it. I was relieved that at least there others like me. Two rows in front of me, I watched a man stand up from his seat and start "bopping" to the rhythm. He was clapping and yelling. His whole body was moving in rhythm. Except that he had no rhythm, and so was clapping in odd rhythm patterns that were definitely not with the music. And he was jerking so wildly that I thought he was going to have a seizure. Fantastic.
- I always thought "The Bitch is Back" was just a song. Only there really was a bitch present. She was sitting a few seats down from us, and was the only one of the people who were kind enough to scoot over for us who didn't want to scoot over. I figured that she was one of those who thought that the seating police would come by and check to see that everyone was sitting in their assigned seat. After the concert was over, we started gathering our stuff so that we could head out. Everyone else was doing the same, thus creating a long line of people that did not move. As I was putting on my jacket, I heard this whiny voice rudely interrupt our conversation. "Excuse us, we're trying to get out." I looked around and, sure enough, it was The Bitch. Seems someone failed Miss Manners' School for Common Courtesy and Decency.
Should I ever have the opportunity to see Elton John live in concert again, I will definitely be going. If you have not yet had the pleasure of seeing him live, I suggest you arrange to do so as soon as possible. You'll be glad you did.