MANILA, Philippines—Some 10,000 people packed the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, Dec. 8, to watch British pop superstar Elton John live in concert.
Playing with an 11-piece band that included four African-American backup singers and two Croatian cellists, John delivered a crowd-pleasing performance with a 24-song repertoire composed mostly of his greatest hits spanning a four-decade career.
The music hewed close to the soul/ R&B/country sound that influenced John in his teens. In several instances, John’s sprightly adlibs on the grand piano recalled the vintage, groundbreaking sound of Jerry Lee Lewis that helped create rock and roll.
John’s vocals, although a far cry from the soaring high pitch of his peak years in the 1970s, was a warm presence that triggered memories
and insights by way of such classic hits as “Bennie and the Jets,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,” “Candle in the Wind,” Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Rocket Man” and “Daniel,” among others.
At the encore, he wished the crowd “love, health and happiness” before segueing into the tune that first gained him worldwide attention, “Your Song.”
At age 65, John still got his chops right. His generation in the audience walked away energized by it all.