Gershwin Prize for Elton John & Bernie Taupin

Elton and Bernie are the 2024 recipients of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The concert was broadcast on PBS this week and I watched the first half of it last night. Really great show. My observations (so far):

  • Annie Lennox totally killed it, opening with Border Song. I was really impressed. Brandi Carlisle’s Madman Across The Water was similarly excellent, and Jacob Lusk’s Bennie and the Jets was fabulously entertaining.
  • It seemed like they alternated between really exceptional and “just OK” performances. Garth Brooks’ Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word was very earnest and kinda boring.
  • Having Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson, Elton’s long-time partners, as the foundation of the band certainly didn’t hurt. Davey sounded great and looked to be having a wonderful time. Nigel was pretty much in the background, solidly doing what he’s always done so well.
  • It seemed the audience was mostly old, white politicos (not really a surprise, I guess).
  • The audience were on their feet for rockers like The Bitch is Back, but then were seated and quiet when Metallica took the stage to perform Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding. Mostly they looked uncomfortable. Elton, OTOH, was loving it.
  • The direction and camera work for Metallica were often, IMO, focused in the wrong places. During the fast guitar arpeggios in Love Lies Bleeding, the camera was anywhere but on the lead guitarist.
  • Sadly, it seems like Elton these days has “resting frowny face”.

Looking forward to the second part.

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Thanks for the great review @dlemire60 David! I know how I’m spending part of my weekend!

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