The last thing I want to do, especially on Easter weekend is offend any of my religious friends, but I had a very spiritual, if not religious experience on Saturday night in Rochester. Dan and I like to chronicle our experiences for you to give you some idea of what it’s like to be on the road with the PawSox. Usually, it’s quite mundane. Get up, shower, eat, go the park, work, have a beer and go to bed. When the opportunity to do something special arises, I like to pounce on it. When I opened the newspaper on Friday, I discovered that Elton John would be performing on Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena, just a block up the street from our hotel.
Ordinarily, I’m not a daring guy. The show was sold out but I was determined to go. I tried a few channels through the Red Wings, but came up empty. I decided to walk up to the building and buy a scalpers’ ticket. I had a certain amount in mind that I’d be willing to pay, and I was bound to stick to it. After haggling with the first few scalpers I saw, I was discouraged. They were asking for about twice what I was willing to pay, about 60 dollars over face value. I figured if I waited until abou 8:00 p.m. the price wouild drop meteorically. I was pacing back and forth, mumbling something about needing a ticket. Suddenly, this man said “Hey, you need a ticket?” “Yes, you have one?” “Floor seat. I paid $140 for it. I’ll give it to you for $60.” I jumped on it as fast as I could.
I knew Sir Elton would be good, but I had no idea how good. Ironically, I was seated in the 22d row, very fitting when he sang “Candle in the Wind”, although no one can call me a “young man” anymore. If The Beatles are the Babe Ruth of rock and roll, Elton John has got to be Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio. Don’t scoff. John performed for a solid 2 hours and 45 minutes. He signed autographs for everyone in the front row and he actually seemed to love the audience back. It was impressive.
This guy has more hits than Pete Rose. It’s amazing. You’d think he was done and he’d belt out 5 more hits. His voice is as beautiful and powerful as it ever was. The Rocket Man introduced his band and backup singers. His drummer Nigel Ollson has been with him since 1969 and his guitarist, Davey Johnstone has been there since 1971. The music was magical. Elton John could provide the soundtrack for my life. Each of his hits transported me back. Some to good times and memories and others to not so good ones. They were all vivid, however.
The sold-out arena went berserk as he played hits like “Philadelphia Freedom”, “Crocodile Rock” and “Tiny Dancer”. I was on my feet and cheering as if it were the seventh game of the World Series. I’m not exactly sure what it was that moved me so profoundly. I’ve always liked Sir Elton, but I would never have thought of myself as a super-fan, until now. Sometimes, something touches you and you don’t necessarily have to ask “Why?” Just enjoy it and recognize that you were part of something special.
If you are a religious person, you can acknowledge Elton John as some of Gods’ most talented handiwork. Happy Easter.