The Elton John CD Review

One Night Only (2000)

1.Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
2.Philadelphia Freedom
3.Don't Go Breaking My Heart (with Kiki Dee)
4.Rocket Man
6.Crocodile Rock
8.Can You Feel The Love Tonight?
9.Bennie and the Jets
10.Your Song (with Ronan Keating)
11.Sad Songs (with Bryan Adams)
12.Candle in the Wind
13.The Bitch Is Back
14.Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting (with Anastacia)
15.I'm Still Standing
16.Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
17.I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues (with Mary J. Blige)


If someone put a gun to your head and demanded the seventeen most popular Elton John songs for a live collection, you would probably come up with a selection very close to the ones on this, Elton's fourth, live album. Sure, there are probably at least twice as many Elton John songs that people are familiar with, but you can't argue with the selection presented here. Anyone who follows the career of Elton can tell you that throughout all the years of ups and downs, Elton still always manages to put on an incredible show. Usually playing at least two and a half hours each performance, Elton has always understood that it was the classics that made him big from the seventies that the vast majority of people were coming to hear--never saturating his audience with nine or ten songs from his newest release that most weren't familiar.

Most "live" albums tend to be collections of a performer's greatest hits, and as mentioned above, this one follows that trend. Of Elton's three other live albums, only Here and There followed this format. 11-17-70 was a small radio broadcast done before the glory days and Live in Australia was done with a full orchestra highlighting many earlier compositions most had never heard of before. Therefore, it's almost safe to say that this is a remake of Here and There twenty four years later. Having said that, it's easy to make comparisons between the two, and it is when these comparisons are made is where this release tends to fall a bit short.

More than half of the songs featured here were actually recorded in, or prior to 1974 and except for Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, were all were featured on Here and There. Even though Elton has stood up admirably over time, it's easy to see that his singing voice is not what it once was. Years of alcohol, cocaine abuse and throat surgery has taken something away from his golden voice. Whereas technology in the studio can mask this, the rawness of a live show makes the difference stand out. Also, unlike the structure of Here and There, this one doesn't really flow like a live show, rather it feels like several hits quickly tossed together. There's also a lack of improvisation on certain tracks that fans have come to expect, such as the extended piano solo on Bennie and the Jets, which was probably excuded here for time constraint reasons. Elton also took the liberty of including several guest singers to help him duet on several songs. This is o.k. on Don't Go Breaking My Heart which includes Kiki Dee, the artist who was on the original track twenty four years ago, but other than that one song, it would have been better to feature no guest artists at all. When I listen to I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, for example, I want to hear Elton sing it, not Mary J. Blige.

All in all this is a good collection of material featuring highlights that everyone knows and loves. However, if want wishes for a superior collection, Here and There would be a better choice.

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