This brand-new tribute show from Liquid Lunch Productions alternates every other night between Elton John: Rocket Man Live! and Billy Joel: Piano Man Live, which I also coincidentally reviewed last year, although while some of the musicians are the same, I’m not convinced all are.
Unlike the really enjoyable Night Owl shows also playing at Space venues, which are informative productions using song and multimedia to depict the lives of some of the most influential singer-songwriters of the 20th century, Elton John: Rocket Man Live! has a completely different vibe.
It’s a slightly self-indulgent hour for this five-piece band to recreate the hit songs we know so well including Your Song, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Bennie and the Jets.
The show opens with the upbeat The Bitch is Back, but any toe-tapping is negated by the lead-singer being drowned out by the accompaniment and percussion. Also, the seats are so tightly packed together that any leg movement is going to seriously annoy your neighbour seated either side of you.
For the second song, the slower tempo Your Song, the lead keyboard player and singer’s request for ‘more sound on vocal and more on guitar,’ finally gets the sound adjusted to a more audible level but sadly the song fails to produce the goose-bumps it normally would. Nonetheless, Dom, the talented musician on the electric violin should be given a special mention, as he really adds to this rendition and that of Candle in the Wind.
There are some stand-out songs, Philadelphia Freedom, which is quick becoming the keyboard player’s favourite, and Rocket Man but sadly the exuberance of percussionist, Will, on some of the earlier tracks renders his electric cymbal unusable for Honky Cat, the eighth song of the show and for any of the remaining tracks.
After all the hype of the recent film, Rocketman, any show titled Elton John: Rocket Man Live! has a lot to live up to. But then again, hardcore fans of Elton John and his long-term lyricist partner, Bernie Taupin will always draw a fringe crowd.
There’s some chat between songs, but you never quite get to know the band members or their connection and love for Elton. And singling out as the audience as being a ‘Morningside crowd’ is possibly going to alienate a band from the start with some members of an audience.