I’ve been a fan of this guy since the early 1970′s. His melodies are like magic, and it amazes me that ever after all these years, he can still play a mean piano and compose toe-tapping tunes for movies, broadway shows, and his own albums. He has a gift, and at age 64, he’s still sharing it with the world.
I got the opportunity to see him at Bethel Woods this past weekend. Now, Bethel already has a terrific reputation in the area for its summer line-up, its seasonal events, and musical classes and concerts for young people. But, by arranging to have Elton stop by on his world tour was just a feather in its cap that will long endure. And why not? Bethel enjoys being on the grounds of the one and only Woodstock concert from 1969, the place the pretty much changed the face of music, and how it was presented to a live audience forever. So, it only makes sense that the site become a place of honor, and a destination of every top performer in the world.
The show began right at 8, beginning with two remarkable celloists who played their instruments like wild fiddler players. I thought the strings would break. When I heard them play a song by Nirvana, I thought, “these aren’t your grandfather’s cello players.” They were remarkable and stayed on to play with Elton for the remainder of the show. Then, the stage went quiet, and his band came out and began to play Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, and he emerged, walked the stage, bowed, raised his hands in salute, and went right to the piano where it began. The crowd was wild, and the night just got better and better.
I can’t say enough about Bethel, its beautiful spot in Sullivan County, its polite and helpful staff, and the set up of seats. The only drawback is their lack of adequate exiting at the end of the show, which at times forces fans to leave during the final numbers. Howevever, the site has partnered with nearby Monticello Raceway to provide a “park and ride” service which was wonderful. I parked my car at Monticello, jumped on the bus, which went the backroads to Bethel, and allowed me to relax while waiting to get into the parking lot. The busses start departing 20 minutes after the last song, so there was no early departure for me, and as one bus fills up, another one is ready to take on passengers. It was a very smooth operation. Best of all, I could close my eyes for a little while during the trip back to Monticello, where I got into my car, and cruised to Route 17.
It was a night to remember. Thanks for coming, Elton. Don’t be a stranger. TTYL