DVD review: ELTON JOHN – The Million Dollar Piano

Elton John - The Million Dollar Piano

Eagle Rock [Release date 30.06.14]

The Million Dollar Piano is Elton’s residency showcase at The Colosseum, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas featuring a unique Yamaha piano sporting 68 LED video screens displaying imagery to complement that on the vast screens behind the stage set.

Running since September 2011, the show has grossed $52m over 90 dates was recently broadcast in theatres and cinemas in 40 countries to celebrate Reg’s 67th birthday and the 40th anniversary reissue of his 1973 classic album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.  Now you get the opportunity to enjoy the show in the comfort of your own living room.

As you’d expect from a Vegas show – it’s an extravagant visual feast show featuring a largely ‘best of set list – with band: ‘The Bitch Is Back’, ‘Bennie And The Jet’s, ‘Rocket Man’, ‘Levon’, ‘Tiny Dancer’, solo – ‘Your Song’, with Ray Cooper – ‘Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters’, ‘Better Off Dead’, ‘Indian Sunset’, and with band – ‘Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)’, ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues’, ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me’, ‘Philadelphia Freedom’, ‘I’m Still Standing’, ‘Crocodile Rock’, ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’, and encore ‘Circle of Life’.

Vegas is, of course, where the greats are put out to pasture – Presley, the Rat Pack, etc but this show is a reaffirmation that Elton can still ‘cut it’.  The stage set is unquestionably spectacular, and while his voice may have dropped a few octaves – take a less familiar number like the absolutely stunning ‘Indian Sunset’ performed with the breathtaking percussion of Ray Cooper, or the duet ‘outro’ with Jean Witherspoon on ‘That’s Why They Call It The Blues’ – and it’s easy to see why this show continues to run, and run.

There’s three very clear stars- the stage set, including the piano – as Elton says ‘It’s a little over the top, but that’s Vegas’, Ray Cooper  – a percussive marvel and a madman across the water at 70+, and hats off, to Elton Hercules John – if this were to be his swansong (and there’s no suggestion it is) it would be a fitting way to sign off.

The DVD also features an insightful bonus feature ‘The Making Of …’ (although there is perhaps a little too much self-congratulatory back slapping by some of his entourage) and, somewhat bizarrely, four tracks filmed in Kiev in 2012 – ‘Candle In The Wind’, ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Sad Songs (Say So Much)’, and ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’.  ****1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

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