Elton John + Jamie Lidell @ Birmingham NIA – 19th November 2008


The support act for Sir Elton John was Jamie Lidell. I knew very little about him, and after watching his performance, I have no intention of seeking out anything further. I can fully appreciate why Elton John would have chosen him for this tour, he performs middle of the road, jazz based songs which easily entertained the majority of the audience. All his songs washed over me in a Lighthouse Family type of mush, and I found myself texting people for entertainment. Saying that though, Jamie Liddell and his band are obviously talented musicians who were enjoying the chance to play to such a vast amount of people.


After a short intermission, anticipation began to build around the arena, I became more excited after finding out that we were about to have the full Las Vegas show unleashed upon us. As the lights went down and the cloth was lifted from Elton’s piano, there was a roar of applause. Sir Elton John made an unpretentious appearance on what has to be the most pretentious stage I have ever seen. The floor was marble effect which reflected the giant letters spelling out his name, massive screens at the back of the stage, his red piano was on an illuminated star with his band behind him. The opening track was Bennie and the Jets, which was storming and set the scene for what was to follow. Launching into Philadelphia Freedom, the screens come alight with images from the ’60’s and 70’s, including lots of breasts, not quite what I was expecting to see behind Elton John.


The set continued with Believe, Daniel and Rocket Man, the sound, for all of them, is incredibly vast and rich, exactly what you want from a performer of Elton’s calibre. Elton displayed his infamous bitchy streak by comparing Celine Dion to a cotton wool bud, “the fucking skinny bitch”, which endeared me to him even more. The visuals continued to be outstanding, with a dark and disturbing video supporting Someone Saved My Life, and an utterly debauched party scene was projected whilst he played Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.


Elton John proceeded with Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, which was a minor dip in the set but I was lifted again by one of Elton’s greatest songs, Tiny Dancer. Even though this was magnificent, it did lack the strings from the original which were replaced by rather oddly placed synth sounds. Won’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me was supported by an amazing modern dance routine demonstrating a domestic incident, that proved to be emotionally gripping, followed by Candle In The Wind with no mention of Princess Diana, thank goodness. Elton left the stage briefly as balloons were released from the ceiling and a large pinball dropped down, introducing a dramatic version of Pinball Wizard, enhanced by images of Las Vegas throughout. The Bitch Is Back involved a black and white video of a scantily clad Pamela Anderson doing a pole dancing routine, whilst inflatable breasts, legs and lipstick appeared at various points on the stage.


As if this wasn’t enough, I’m Still Standing showed Elton’s sense of humour as an inflatable banana supported by two cherries came to life right next to him! The last track was Saturday Night, which allowed for a controlled crowd invasion on the stage, it’s a shame that many of the people surrounded Elton and didn’t want to make the most of the stage by dancing like a loon. Elton John left to a standing ovation which was deservedly earned, only to return to perform Your Song. All in all this is the best stage show I have ever seen, it was visually and sonically mind blowing. And to top it all off, who would have thought that I would see more pairs of tits at an Elton John concert than at Motley Crue? If you get a chance to catch this show in December, take it! I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Review – Toni Woodward
Photos – Steve Gerrard

About Author

3 thoughts on “Elton John + Jamie Lidell @ Birmingham NIA – 19th November 2008

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *