Elton John - lead vocals, piano, keyboards; Davey Johnstone - guitars; Dave Payton - bass; Charlie Morgan - drums; Fred Mandel - keyboards; Alan Carvel - backing vocals; Gordon Neville - backing vocals; Shirley Lewis - backing vocals; Raoul Dolavita - trumpet; Paul Spong - trumpet; Dave Vitelli - sax; Rick Taylor - trombone; Jody Linscott - percussion
Jump back in time with this amazing Elton John performance, the first of two shows he gave back-to-back at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles in 1986. By this point in his career, Elton had such a massive catalog of hits that he could leave many of them out of his setlist, and fans would still find it was an all-encompassing evening of his music.
Although he plays some of the newer songs in this show including "Tonight," "Better Off Dead," "Paris," and "Restless," it is the hit songs that make it such a memorable performance. And there are plenty of them: "Rocket Man," "Philadelphia Freedom," "Burn Down The Mission," "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," "Bitch Is Back," "Levon," "Bennie & The Jets," and many, many more.
This is a special performance because, just as he did in the early show, Elton John plays guitar on one tune, a cover of Leslie Duncan's "Love Song." He tells the crowd, "You don't often see me playing guitar… because I can't." He closes with a quadruple whammy: "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting," "Candle In The Wind," "Daniel," and of course, "Your Song."
While Top 10 radio hits became few and far between shortly after this show was recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, Elton John has remained among the longest running hit makers in contemporary music for well over four decades. He emerged in 1970 from the U.K., a critic's darling and the British equivalent of Randy Newman (with lyricist/partner Bernie Taupin). His own shows, as well as his flamboyant persona, soon became the rage both in his native England, and then to a much larger degree in the U.S. By the mid-1970s, Elton John was arguably the biggest act in music, and remains today a beloved icon in popular music.
The number of artists that can mesmerize an audience with a two-hour plus show of incredible hits and compelling album tracks can be counted on one hand for most people. This recording proves why Elton John is one of those artists.