“I went to see Elton John this weekend.” This is a sentence that causes a lot of raised eyebrows and giggles among my friends and acquaintances. Yes – probably I don’t belong to his target audience. If I don’t know that beforehand, I could definitely tell by the masses of white hair, walking aids and oxygen tanks in the audience on Saturday. Ok, maybe I might have made the ‘oxygen tank’-part up, the rest is true.

Elton John performing in ErfurtMy attempt at capturing stage and audience in a dynamic fashion. Unsuccessful.

The above situation is not unusual in my fandom. Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, Leonard Cohen. I saw them all. And on many occasion I could have won the award of ‘youngest fan in the audience’. Now I have nothing against old people (I love Santa Claus!). But when an artist has an aging (or nearly dying) target audience, it comes with all kinds of nasty side effects: Seats only, high ticket prices, and little participation. All of the above leads to a not entirely fulfilling concert experience. Saturday night with Sir Elton was no exception.

Musically a very solid show, but it was, well, boring! Sitting on my chair in the fifth row, I felt at times I was attending an open-air matinée screening of an old Fred Astaire movie, rather than a rock concert. This is what rock and roll has become? I remember when Saturday night was alright for fighting… or at least dancing!

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the star of the show is hidden for a large part of the audience. Hey Mr Piano Man – you’re playing is definitely impressive. But only being able to see the top of your head from behind the grand piano a bit less so! There must be a stage director… somewhere… who could come up with a solution to the fact that a big black piano is making the Rocket Man virtually invisible for a large part of the crowd. And after paying 100+ euro to see Elton John… I sort of expect to see Elton John.

Elton John performing in ErfurtMy view for most of the show. Blonde hair and sunglasses indicate the location of Sir Elton.

But in the end the whole experience wasn’t completely disappointing. Because when Elton kicked off I’m Still Standing, everybody was indeed standing – and rushed to the front! (Well maybe not everybody in the over-aged audience was so mobile, but at least some die-hard fans knocked over a few security guards while stampeding towards the stage.) And so for the last 20 minutes,  I got to see the man himself – and took about 200 photos. For your enjoyment, of course!


  • I’ve seen Elton 72 times and rhe audience has never been filled with old people. There is a huge range of people of all ages. I agree the audience can be boring at times but I wouldn’t say that was due to the average age of the audience members.
    Elton always plays on the left side so buy your tickets accordingly in the future to avoid looking at his feet the entire show. Love him…..always a great concert.

    • I think ticket prices have a lot to do with it. Elton (and lots of other older artists) charge so much these days that many young people simply couldn’t afford to go. Plus the fact that everything is seated, it takes a lot from the atmosphere.
      Not putting Elton down necesarrily because musically it was a great show. But unfortunately he’s part of a bigger trend among the ‘oldies’ acts – which is a real shame!

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