“Hold me close, oh tiny dancer!”
I’m screaming the catchy lyrics at the top of my lungs, flinging my arms out to my sides and swaying my body from side to side to the rhythm. My cheap waterproofs cling to my damp skin and my hair pastes to my forehead. All around me the audience are sitting down, appreciating the music from their seats apart from the stray drunk fans who can’t stop themselves from dancing.
The catch is, I’m sober. And I’ve gone to a Elton John gig with my mum as a chaperone. But honestly, I’m secretly enjoying it. Well, not that secretly.
Elton John is a legend. No matter what your music taste is, your age, or even your feelings towards the musician, he is a musical legend. With fifty years of experience within the music industry under his belt, collaborating on more than thirty albums to date and having been awarded enough Grammy’s and Brit Awards to last a lifetime, Elton John is a veteran in the music industry. Although you wouldn’t be able to tell- because of his fresh enthusiasm and flamboyance which sparkles through every public moment shared.
So when my mum wanted to go VIP (oh how fabulous darling) to see Elton John at a venue in Oxfordshire, I couldn’t resist. The gig was sent in the stunning location of Blenheim Palace, a world heritage site which is filled with quintessentially British architecture stemming from the 17th Century, with relics of the past on every corner, and examples of national heritage through the form of art and sculpture. Taking a stroll around the grounds before the gig was incredibly rewarding; with beautiful gardens, manicured lawns and tinkling fountains, I could see why the palace was a tourist attraction in itself. As a music venue, gigs at Blenheim Palace are orchestrated in such a way that the elements and architecture of the building are advantageous to the performance, locking in the sound and causing it to echo off the walls into the crowd, creating an incredible effect as well as a pleasing visual.
Elton John is an incredible performer as well, (of course you would expect him to be after so many years of experience). Turning up on time (I do hate it when artists turn up late making audiences wait for purely selfish reasons) dressed in a glamorous sparking coat and donning his signature cross earring and outlandish glasses, he welcomed the audience with excitement. Despite the continuous rain and some audience members being as stationary as a statue, Elton John managed to pump the crowd into action, causing many to sing with joy, stand on chairs, and dance shirtless (the last two were most definitely linked to intoxication). He played all of his greatest hits, as well as a few from his new album, satisfying all those who came to watch him. What I found hilarious was the feedback he gave himself after every song, shrieking, “hot damn!” “hell yeah!” “come on!” and “that was great!” to the audience about his efforts. Enthusiastic and slightly arrogant some might argue, he does have every right to be; with his incredible piano skills which masterfully slid from side to side over the keys, fingers dancing in time to the beat, and his powerful voice that bounced off the walls captivating the audience.
Going VIP to the event however, was not as glamorous as it seemed. Being invited to a special drinks reception within the palace itself prior to the event did feel exclusive, as well as the unlimited amount of sparkling wine I am sure did please many, (although not the drivers like myself) but the canapes which resembled cardboard and the snacks that were given out earlier than scheduled and tasted of poor quality, caused an uproar amongst guests. The extravagant area of VIP which once was filled with modest excitable guests, was now filled with mouthy starving visitors who even started a fight with the main organiser of the event, (you have seen nothing until you see one man dressed as Elton John fighting with an equally posh and middle aged man over snacks), the moment was something out of Eastenders.
Needless to say, the event was highly entertaining, (as it would be if you were surrounded by intoxicated punters on unlimited booze interacting with sober slightly aged audience members) amusing, and fun. Who knew an Elton John gig could be so rad?