What's On

Your guide to everything in North East

Hit machine Sir Elton heads for the Metro Radio Arena stage

Elton John fans will be heading for the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle tomorrow for a date with the star

Paul Simpson Sir Elton John and his band
Sir Elton John and his band

The Metro Radio Arena has been quite the place to be for fans of the big music stars in recent weeks.

Country legend – and the weekend’s Glastonbury sensation – Dolly Parton put in a tremendous few hours at the venue at the beginning of the month while Robbie Williams made a triumphant Tyneside return a week later with his Swings Both Ways tour.

And don’t even get me started on the Once in a Lifetime Tour which saw the legendary Showaddywaddy among a clutch of veteran acts proving that age is no bar to putting on a show.

But as the Arena prepares to hibernate for the summer (Ant and Dec will offer the perfect wake-up call at the beginning of September) there is one more massive gig to enjoy.

The Rocket Man himself, Elton John, will perform on Wednesday night along with his band and special guests Bright Light Bright Light, the stage name for disco-pop singer Rod Thomas.

It will be the 19th North East live gig from the 67-year-old who says he remembers playing his first concert on Tyneside at Newcastle City Hall in 1971.

This time around, audiences can expect more than two-and-a-half hours worth of Elton and his band – who he reckons are playing together “better than ever” – as well as a special celebration of his best-selling breakthrough album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, in honour of its recent 40th anniversary.

“What I remember most about Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was how incredibly in synch we all were whilst making it,” he says.

“Me, Bernie (Taupin, his longtime lyricist), the band, producer Gus Dudgeon (who never gets enough credit for the work he did on my early albums)… it was like a well-oiled machine and we just cracked through it!”

As for the playlist, this celebration will translate into renditions of songs like Funeral for a Friend, Benny and the Jets, Grey Seal, Candle in the Wind, Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, Roy Rogers and, of course, the title track, as well as many others from Elton’s back catalogue – as stuffed with classics as his wardrobe is with eye-catching outfits.

I’m Still Standing, The Bitch is Back, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me, I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues, Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer… we could go on, but that would probably be classified as a 100% spoiler.

Elton is now a father-of-two. He has sons with partner and husband-to-be (thanks to new laws relating to same sex marriage) David Furnish, the film-maker and what a legacy he will hand down to them.

He has been an extraordinary hit machine since he debuted in the late 1960s after adding ‘singer’ to his ‘songwriter’ day job.

Thankfully, he has never forgotten to bring his inimitable performance panache to the North East.

Elton and his band play the Metro Radio Arena on Wednesday. Call 0844 493 6666 or visit www.metroradioarena.co.uk for tickets.

Also read:

Review: Dolly Parton at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

Review: Robbie Williams at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer