Some fringe rock ‘n roll purists will bitch about the garish Vegas surroundings, but that purity was deep-sixed a millennia ago. And yes, the billion dollar piano man does seem to swallow the melodies at times in favor of the arena roar, but it’s only rock ‘n roll, y’know, so on with show!
And the hits keep coming. Do I wish at this point Elton would give us “Amoreena”, “Skyline Pigeon”, “Come Down In Time”? You bet your Stub Hub I do. But we do get the elegiac “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” and “Indian Sunset,” so you take your favors where you can and rock to “The Bitch is Back” and “Crocodile Rock.” Though I reflux whenever “Bennie and the Jets” plays, I dare anyone not to swoon during the hushed “Rocket Man”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Levon” sequence. Add Elton’s recollections of he and Bernie writing the songs, and it’s instant magic.
Despite my sniping, The Million Dollar Piano snuggles you in the front row of a master showman, and most important, nearly fifty years of everlasting songwriting. Stalwart percussionist Ray Cooper is always a joy to watch, as are original EJ Band members, guitarist Davey Johnstone and drummer Nigel Olson. Forget the glitz, the glamor. The Million Dollar Piano is, like Elton & Bernie’s music, the very real deal.
– Mike Jurkovic