Piano man makes his stand in the auditorium (at IBM InterConnect)

Ok, let’s just put it out on the table: I am a huge Elton John fan. (Many would say that is an understatement). I’ve been an EJ fan since 1974 and an IBMer since 1982.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think the twain should meet, but if you haven’t heard by now, Sir Elton will be rocking the house tonight at IBM InterConnect 2016.

I know.

Am I excited?  Let’s just say that for the first time ever for an IBM business trip, I packed my feather boas.

ICEltonRocksLarge

Tonight will be the 50+ time I’ve seen him live.  (Over the span of 40 years, that’s really not that outrageous.  Really.  It will be #64 for a friend of mine who will be singing and dancing with me tonight).  It never gets old, believe me.

For those of you who will experience Sir Elton live for the first time, trust me, you are in for a real treat.  My advice: Get up and dance as much as you feel, as much as you want.  He really loves it when people are dancing and enjoying the show.  Besides, how can you not be up when he sings “I’m Still Standing?”

People often ask me why I’ve stayed an Elton John fan for so long.  Simply put, I’d have to say it’s because he and his music have grown up as I have grown up. And that his music is still as relevant to me today as it was 40 years ago.  In fact, I have a blog, The Captain and the Kim, dedicated to describing what his music has meant to me over the years.

Some fun facts about Sir Elton that you may not know:

  • He was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947 in Pinner, England. When he changed his name, he chose a stage name that paid tribute to vocalist Long John Baldry and saxophonist Elton Dean. (His middle name is Hercules).
  • He taught himself to play piano at age 3.
  • Elton has been writing music with his lyricist Bernie Taupin for almost 50 years.  They both answered the same newspaper ad.  It was kismet.  Through all these years, they have never written together in the same room.
  • In his five-decade career, he has sold more than 250 million records, making him one of the most successful artists of all time.
  • He has more than 50 Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 U.S. albums, 50+ Top 40 singles, and nine No. 1 hits.  His latest album, Wonderful Crazy Night, entered the Billboard Top 200 at #6.
  • In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the top 100 most-frequently-charting artists in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. Elton was listed at #3, behind only Madonna and The Beatles
  • He has won five Grammy awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Tony Award.
  • His tribute to Princess Diana (Candle in the Wind) is the second-highest selling single of all time. (Bing Crosby’s White Christmas is #1).

Now back to tonight’s concert at IBM InterConnect. I’ve been musing for some time about finding connections between Elton and IBM, so bear with me here…

  • He’s still standing, as is IBM.
  • He’s had 7 consecutive #1 albums (US), and IBM has had 23 consecutive years of being #1 in patents.
  • IBM’s got Watson, and he had Watford (the Hornets football club).
  • IBM is Big Blue, and he has many songs with “blue” in the title that could easily be transformed:
    • (Big) Blue Eyes
    • I Guess That’s Why They Call It The (Big) Blues
    • (Big) Blues for Baby and Me
    • (Big) Blues Never Fade Away
    • (Big) Blue Wonderful

Anyway, I can’t wait until tonight. It should be a Wonderful, Crazy Night* tonight for all. The only thing that would make it better would be if somehow, some way I got to meet him, but that won’t happen.  Maybe next time.  🙂

And do let me know what you think about the concert tonight.  I’d love to hear from you.

Pics to follow.

*That’s the name of his brand new album, which he calls “joyous.”  Check it out! You won’t be disappointed.  And I’m hoping he plays a tune or two from WCN tonight.

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First Impressions

Finally, the day – February 5, 2016 – has arrived! The release of the much awaited Wonderful Crazy Night, the latest creation by Sir Elton, Bernie and the Band, is here!

I ended up taking a vacation day today so that I could 1) Get a CD since I didn’t have much faith in eltonjohn.com getting my order to me on release day; and 2) Spend a quality “first time” with the new album.

True to form, eltonjohn.com did NOT deliver (why, oh why, didn’t I go through Amazon)? No big deal, another sale for EJ, this time from Target.

But…lest I diminish the moment, let me get on with it.

WonderfulCrazyCover

As I write this, I have listened to the album 5 times through, and a few of the songs several times over. (My first listen – as I have been doing for 40 years now, with every new EJ album release – has to be by myself, with headphones on and an excited heart. Today was no exception).

In one word, WOW.

In four words, I need a cigarette.

In five first impressions:

  1. I liked every song from the very first listen.  Honestly, this is the first album for which I can say that. Usually, there are one or two that require a few listens to catch my ear, but not WCN.  I love them all!
  2. Any song that starts with Elton almost whispering Bernie’s beautiful words “Every breath is a prayer of some kind, I breathe in, I breathe out, I just breathe” is going to be a winner in my book. [Side note: This is my favorite track so far].
  3. Elton humming on “I’ve Got 2 Wings” is reminiscent of something he could have done in the 1970s. [Side note: Love it!]
  4. I didn’t realize how excited I would be to hear the Band play on this album.  While I was listening, I found myself thinking “Nice riff, Davey!” or “You go, Nigel!” or “Is that Ray or John on the tambourine?” I am thrilled.
  5. Were those really horns I heard on “A Good Heart?” Yes!

In a nutshell, Wonderful Crazy Night was well worth the wait. I am a very happy, nay, joyous, Kimoreena right now.

Thank you, Elton, Bernie, Davey, Nigel, Ray, John, Kim, Matt and T-Bone, thank you. What a treasure you have created.

EJBand-WCN

(Of course, there will be more blogging about specific songs from the album, about nuances in Bernie’s lyrics that haven’t yet caught my attention, of musicality that touches my mind and heart…but I want to take it all in for a while longer).

P.S. Even my husband likes it! And he really doesn’t like the post-1970s catalog.  He said there are a few songs he’ll give another listen to.  Things are definitely “looking up!”