Coliseum - Las Vegas
February 6, 2009
In a modern world where musical charts can be dominated
by no-talent hacks like Britney Spears, it was merely a matter of time before concert directors and designers recognized a specific need: chiefly the need to make live shows visually stimulating so as to distract from the fact that concert goers have just shelled out a hundred dollars to see a singer whose performance ability is rivaled by the neighbor’s yapping Chihuahua
Don’t misunderstand me, if I’m to be forced to endure Paula Abdul or Ricky Martin live, those bitches better shake their money makers, because god knows I’m not there to hear them sing! I fully support the use of visual stimulation when the musical environs proffer nothing but the most squalid of possibilities.
But I don’t consider Elton John in this company.I realize that his concert career has been earmarked with instances of costumed excess, but these moments were generally limited to Mr. John himself, and possibly his band. With The Red Piano, John has shed the ridiculous costumes and chosen instead to awe his audience with the most ridiculous visual distractions a concertgoer could imagine. And believe me, The Red Piano is the least of the distractions onstage. The show begins with five gigantic neon letters floating above the stage. They spell E-L-T-O-N ... just in case Mr. John forgets his adopted name. I allow the letters their space, as they flash along with the piano as John pounds out the riffs for “Benny & The Jets” and I settle in for an exciting show.
After the song closes, the letters fly away and I’m treated to Mr. John’s witty banter about the absence of Celine Dion from the Coliseum
stage (as she performed there for a hundred years while she perfected her vampirism. The banter is humorous, but it’s also clearly tired... Mr. John has milked it for all it’s worth and I’m left feeling that the humor would be better placed in the cruel hands of someone like Kathy Griffin... move on please, Miss Elton.
And he does. He begins to play again as a gigantic screen lowers across the span of one of the widest stages in the country. It obscures nearly two thirds of the vertical stage space in addition to running almost from proscenium to proscenium. Long story short: it’s a big screen. As Elton sings, the screen is filled with images that supposedly “illuminate” the songs that are being played. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I didn’t just pay two hundred and fifty dollars (yes... $250!) to get an artistic and wordless version of VH1 Storytellers! I don’t want to know that “Philadelphia Freedom” is really about free love and kinky sex! If I truly had questions about the meaning behind “Daniel”, I’m sure I could look up the meaning online! Regardless, I didn’t fly to Vegas to learn about the songs I love, I flew to Vegas to take advantage of what may be my only chance to hear them played live.
As the gigantic screen eclipsed almost any attention I might have paid to the chunky piano player, I truly longed for their absence. Make no mistake, while Elton John may have put on weight, this is certainly not a recreation of “Elvis, the heavy years”! At sixty one years old, Elton John’s voice is tired, but he milks it for all it’s worth, his piano playing is as spectacular as ever, his band is fantastic... it leads me to wonder: what could possibly be the need for this distraction?
As the concert wears on and my nerves wear thin, I’m “treated” to the spectacle of inflatable legs that would give the Hindenberg penis-envy and a pair of inflatable breasts engorges over the audience. Meanwhile a banana and cherries inflate on stage in a suggestive combination and now I’ve lost the last tenebrous hold I had on my patience.
This. Show. Is. A. Travesty.
I want to find director and designer David LaChapelle and
If I’d actually paid for my ticket to this travesty (thank god it was comped!) I would have tracked down LaChapelle wherever he might be,extracted blood, teeth and black-market organs in the amount of $250, traded the cash in for $250 worth of rolls of pennies and beaten him to death with the coins.
But since I didn’t spend any money on this ridiculous nonsense, I’ll settle instead for the feeling of true disappointment I feel athaving missed an amazing show, even though I attended it... and I won’t become a murderer... yet.
This review is the subjective opinion of the individual reviewer and not of ConcertBuzz
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