The Pilgrimage Part Deux – Episode 3

Estero, Florida (Tuesday, March 13) – Honestly, who would’ve ever thought that Elton John would make his way down to Estero, Florida – and now he’s performed there twice?  I guess it must be true…Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (does come) from the end of the world to your town…

This is the third – and final – leg of the Pilgrimage Part Deux.  Even with a couple of days rest, my voice is still a bit hoarse – but I’m still standing, and I’m still excited.

The Rocket Club seats were about the same as Fort Lauderdale – actually a few rows back, but Germain Arena is a smaller venue so it felt about the same.  Some day I’ll have to figure out how to get really up close again.

[Begin Almost Elton Sighting Story]

Around 7:50, I thought that I might want to head to the restroom, knowing that the concert would start at 8:00 on the dot.  I walked to the back of the floor area and headed up the stairs.  OMG, of course the women’s restroom was packed.  I turned left and started to head around the arena back in the direction of the stage to find another restroom, but decided against it.  Wouldn’t want to miss the 2Cellos, after all.  So, I found my way back to my seat, eager for the concert to begin.

Midway through the concert, Elton dedicates a song (Tiny Dancer) to all the ladies out there…” and especially to the ladies I bumped into in the restroom before the show.”  WHAT?  THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME!!!  DOH.

[End Almost Elton Sighting Story]

Hey there Davey!

The 2Cellos opened up the show – actually at 7:56, believe it or not.  Rocked the house once again.  And Elton entered stage right this time to an all-adoring crowd.  Same set list, slightly smaller stage (no back lighting), different sparkly jacket.  (Oh, yes, and I love the band in their black suits and ties).

Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Estero concert observations/notes:

  • The floor area was very cold before the concert…(the Arena is used by the Everblades hockey team, so the flooring was just covering the ice).  But after about 3 songs, you would’ve never know that there was ice underneath.  Hot.Hot.Hot.
  • The crowd was a unique mix of significantly older (70+?) and significantly younger fans than Kimoreena, but it was the best of the 3.  Elton really feeds off of the crowd.  He talked much, much more – and I know he ad libbed more during Madman Across the Water (I could tell by the reaction of the 2Cellos).
  • Loved his honesty when he introduced “Teenage Idol” and commented that the song was so obscure that he “didn’t even know what album it is on.”  (I do, I do)!
  • I’m not a huge fan of the song “Believe,” but it is much, much better in concert…and I always like the way Elton introduces it each time – “There’s not enough love in this world.”  Ain’t that the truth.  (Ask me about the one degree of separation I have with that statement some day).
  • 3 sellout crowds.  But why do the people in the seats around the arena (not on the floor) stay seated through most of the concert? And why does the whole crowd only get up when he starts “I’m Still Standing?”

So that’s the scoop.

The Pilgrimage Part Deux is in the books (or in the blog, as the case may be).  A great experience, needless to say.   I know it was very self-indulgent and a bit crazy to go to 3 concerts in 5 days, but how many times will I get a chance to do that?  It’s just pure fun, perhaps even a throwback to my youth – and it just makes me feel good.  Nothing wrong with that, imho.

So, thank you to Elton, Bernie, The Band, the 2Cellos, Lisa, Gary, Shaq and the other fans I shared the experience with.

And, if I may, Bernie, borrow a line…

If you ask how I am, I’ll just say inspired…(to say the least).

The Pilgrimage Part Deux – Episode 2

Orlando, Florida (March 10, 2012) – On the road again, this time headed north.  Orlando is a bit cloudy today, but I have a feeling the city will get a lot brighter around 8:00 pm.  And it’s a Sat-uh-day – how appropriate!

We checked in at the Grand Bohemian and had a blast telling the hotel staff about the Pilgrimage Part Deux (and making our bartender very jealous).  Very cool and very Eltonesque hotel (thanks, Lisa)!

Even better, we were able to walk to the Amway Center from the hotel.  Love not having to deal with parking.  And the Rocket Club seats were a bit better – same vicinity as Fort Lauderdale, but this time stage left, which means we get a closer, more direct view of EJ.

The stage...pre-flight...

(Ok, so I must comment that Rocket Club seats aren’t as good as they used to be, but I can’t complain too much.  I do get to purchase them one day before tickets go on sale officially.  And, after you’ve had front row, left of center, right in front of his piano bench seats, what can you expect)?

Speaking of expectations, the 2Cellos opened promptly at 8:00 pm – and rocked the house once again.  Did I mention how amazing they are?

And also as expected (but nonetheless as intense), Elton and the Band performed (electric music, solid walls of sound) for over 3 hours.

A couple of observations/notes from Orlando:

  • Yes, they played the same set list, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting to see it again, two days in a row.  I actually kind of like it – I know what’s coming (and I could forewarn the people behind me when I was going to get up and dance).  The folks behind us were very gracious.
  • The Orlando crowd seemed much friendlier and more exuberant than the Fort Lauderdale crowd (shame, shame, SoFlo fans).  And Elton seemed to feed off of this – he talked more, swaggered more, and even signed more autographs.
  • The lady sitting next to us rushed the stage right before the encore and was able to get Elton to sign her tote bag.  Can you say jealous?
  • Lisa and I were utterly exhausted when we got back from the concert.  We sat in the Klimdt Rotunda at the hotel (along with many other concert-goers), ordered some wine, and couldn’t even talk for at least 10 minutes.  Just basked in the afterglow of the concert.  (I was so exhausted, in fact, that I didn’t even notice that the server gave me someone else’s Amex card – and a different colored one at that!  Made sure to take care of that right away).

So, that means Orlando’s a wrap.  Sigh.  But this train DOES stop here (any more).  Next on the itinerary – Estero, Florida – Tuesday, March 13, 2012 – can’t wait!

The Pilgrimage Part Deux – Episode 1

Sunrise, Florida (March 9, 2012) – And so the Pilgrimage Part Deux begins.  I’ve waited  almost a year and a half for this moment, and now I get to see EJ 3 times in 5 days! My husband says that I have a sickness, but oh well, I am in groupie heaven (and, apparently, denial).

The 2Sisters (My bestest concert buddy and me)

Thanks to my friend Gary (who saw him in Augusta two nights prior), I knew that the 2Cellos were opening for Elton and his Band – and that the concert would start promptly at 8:00 pm.

True to form, they did…and what a beginning it was!  THE.2CELLOS.ARE.AMAZING.  I would never have believed that one could play “Highway to Hell” and other rock music with just two cellos, but boy, they sure can.  What talent these two young men have!  They brought the crowd to a frenzy.  (More details to come.  I shall have to dedicate a special blog post to them).

Four songs later, and enter stage left.  The crowd goes wild! And let’s just say I want that jacket!

Opening with Saturday Night, I must say this was one of the most high-intensity concerts I’ve seen Elton and his Band put on. It was a wonderful mix of popular, familiar and beloved tunes, with a few semi-obscure and one very obscure song thrown in for us long-time Eltonites.

This photo does NOT do the jacket justice

Just to make you jealous, here’s the set list:

  • Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
  • Bennie and the Jets
  • Grey Seal
  • Levon
  • Madman Across the Water
  • Tiny Dancer
  • Holiday Inn
  • Philadelphia Freedom
  • All the Young Girls Love Alice
  • Harmony
  • Candle in the Wind
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • Rocket Man
  • I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues
  • Hey Ahab
  • Gone to Shiloh
  • Monkey Suit
  • Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
  • Believe
  • Someone Saved My Life Tonight
  • Honky Cat
  • Sad Songs
  • I’m Going To Be a Teenage Idol
  • Daniel
  • Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
  • Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  • I’m Still Standing
  • The Bitch is Back
  • Crocodile Rock
  • Your Song

Love, love, love the choice of Holiday Inn (with the 2Cellos especially), All the Young Girls Love Alice and Teenage Idol.  And the rendition of Madman Across the Water had to be the longest – and best – I’ve ever seen live.  The 2Cellos lend a musical depth that you don’t normally get in a live version, and the piano interludes were beautiful.  (Was that Fur Elise I heard amidst Elton’s virtuoso ad libbing)?

A special shout out to Shaq (probably misspelled, sorry!) – my new friend who flew all the way from Detroit to see Elton on her birthday.  It was an honor and a pleasure sitting next to you and sharing our mutual EJ fascination and admiration.  And sorry the Fort Lauderdale crowd was not as friendly as they should have been.  Come on, people, you’re at a rock concert for god’s sake…people (bite their lip and) get up and dance!

When all was said and done, the show was over 3 hours in length – never long enough for me.  Exhausted, parched, and hoarse, yet exhilarated.  And I get to do this all over again the following night in Orlando!