Sir Elton John’s two hour set was music royalty at its finest

Thousands of revellers settled in across the manicured grounds of Rochford Wines for A Day On The Green, complete with picnic blankets, bottles of wine, and a Richmond scarf every five metres. Paths lined with Elton John song lyrics wound their way through the crowds, the occasional pair of sparkly sunglasses and Watford FC scarves proving fans were out in full force to see their idol take the stage.

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Kerry Kissell

Chris Watts kicked off the afternoon with a set that provided the perfect score to build anticipation for the hours to follow. Watts’ indie-pop tunes were performed with character, precision, and an infectious confidence as the crowd grew larger. Rockhampton’s Busby Marou followed, treating the audience to a selection of their best tracks and a patriotic cover of Neil Murray’s ‘My Island Home’. Their bluesy folk tunes far surpassed their own humble description of themselves as “just a couple of blokes up here singing music to you guys.”
The crowd were on their feet as Sir Elton John took to the stage, decked in red and black from head to toe with a smile on his face that remained for the entirety of his two-hour set. He wasted no time getting to the classics with an enthusiastic rendition of ‘Bennie and the Jets’ featuring as the second song of the night. With the sun still admirably making appearances through the overcast afternoon, John built the atmosphere with each track, playing to the crowd and rising from the piano to engage with his audience at every chance.
While two of John’s latest tracks were included in the setlist, classics truly were the theme of the night. ‘Tiny Dancer’ earned an instant reaction from the crowd, producing a singalong that continued with ‘Your Song’ and ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’. There was dancing all around for ‘Sad Songs’ and ‘Crocodile Rock’, while ‘I’m Still Standing’ proved to be the track that really got everyone on their feet.
John’s immense skill as a pianist was on show as he went above and beyond the notes required for each song, adding solos with such speed and complicated combinations that awe was the only reaction. A string of variations on ‘Waltzing Matilda’ transformed seamlessly into ‘Rocket Man’, while his lengthy solo during ‘Levon’ drew massive cheers.
There’s always a concern of whether a legendary singer’s voice will live up to expectations at such events, but John didn’t hold back. He tested his voice with extra iterations of the title lyric in ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues’, reworking classics to play to his strengths and ensure he produced faithful renditions of his hits.
John used his platform to address pressing issues, preceding ‘I Want Love’ with a passionate plea against violence and a request to vote yes. He paid tribute to the late George Michael with an emotional performance of ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’, ending the night with an encore performance of ‘Candle In The Wind’.
“It’s been a complete pleasure and privilege to be here tonight,” Sir Elton John said as he gave his farewell. “Thank you so much for everything. God bless you, Australia.”
Highlight: The group of women recruiting fellow fans to dance.
Lowlight: Lack of public transport meant traffic was a headache.
Crowd favourite: ‘I’m Still Standing’.