Israel's summer concert season opened Thursday night with Elton John's performance at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park.
Forty-thousand people attended the concert, a stop in John's "A Crazy Wonderful Night" tour. Many of those attending were likely at John's previous Tel Aviv concert 23 years ago, holding their lighters as he sang "Candle in the Wind." On Thursday, thousands raised their cellphones as John performed the song toward the beginning of his set. Like cellphones in the wind.
John's concert wasn't crazy nor wonderful, but it was still fine. John, who wore a shimmering purple robe - somewhere between a boxer and an English dame - with the initials E.J. behind him, was slightly heavy in his movements but his vocals were in good shape. His high-low register sounded well on Thursday, and he still has his roar.
Elton John came to Tel Aviv with his longtime band, two of the members playing with him for more than 40 years. Their sound was far from provoking admiration, but they did good work, especially with the more rhythmic songs. They were sometimes a bit too loaded during the piano ballads.
John's higher notes were the only thing he has completely lost vocally. I have never realized how much he uses them in his songs until I heard him Thursday trying, but unable to reach them. Is this why two of his songs I like best, "Tiny Dancer" and "Rocket Man," were not as thrilling to me? Could be. But even if when he was playing them I was hearing the beloved album versions in my mind, many other eternal hits that were played in the concert were beautiful, some of them even filled with soul. This was the case with "Your Song" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," where the feeling that emerged from John's deep-lows was resounding.
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