After decades of performing, the “Rocket Man” is still soaring.
Elton John’s current globe-trotting tour includes a concert with Bright Light Bright Light (Welsh-bred Rod Thomas) Saturday, Sept. 27, at KeyArena. According to early reviews, the show is a boisterous, piano-pounding, two-hour career retrospective stocked with such hits as “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle in the Wind” (his famous tribute to Marilyn Monroe), “Tiny Dancer,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and “Rocket Man.”
The 67-year-old singer-pianist and master showman opens his show with a five-minute piano intro followed by the classic “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding.”
The stage features a yellow path recalling the cover of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” his most enduring album. Other special effects include an LED-lighted chandelier during “Tiny Dancer” and a stage that glows bright green for “Holiday Inn.”
At his recent concert near Salt Lake City, John played to multiple generations, including fans from the early 1970s and their teenage children, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Performing in Denver the night before, John showed his support for the Matthew Shepard Foundation and Shepard’s mother, Jean, who co-founded the organization after her son, who was gay, was beaten and killed in 1998 while attending the University of Wyoming. (Earlier this year, John said that Jesus would have been a supporter of gay marriage.)
Near the close of the Denver concert, the “Rocket Man” came down to earth to sign autographs, then returned to the piano for a double-barreled finale of “Crocodile Rock” and “Circle of Life.”
Still somewhat boyish-looking at 67, John began his career playing piano at a hotel pub in his native England at 15. He later began a prolific songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin. It has been nearly 45 years since John performed his first U.S. concert — at The Troubadour in Los Angeles in 1970.
Last year marked the 40th anniversary of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” In an interview last March with Matt Lauer of “Today,” John said he became emotional while listening to the album in anticipation of the anniversary.
“I cried a little bit because it reminded me of a time when I was very innocent,” he said.
The 1973 album’s success, when he was 26 years old, opened a door to drug and alcohol abuse, sending him into a downward spiral.
But music has been his “soul mate,” he told Lauer, helping him soar through the challenges of his life.
8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., Seattle; $35-$155 (800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com).