Elton John live at Hammersmith Odeon – Christmas 1973. Maybe no sign of Jingle Bells anywhere, but the festive spirit is alive and well and Elton, even with a cold, gives a brilliant performance.
1973 was huge for Elton John. I remember the buzz and almost non-stop playing of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road from just about every radio station and record store in America (and Europe, no doubt). You couldn’t get away from it, nor did you actually want to. This was one of the best albums of his career, with a string of hits as long as your arm and had the album at number 2 on the charts for over two months. It was also the album that put Elton John on the Glam horizon, and it’s around this period that the stage presentation gained epic proportions. It was also a time that signaled the end of the small venue and the intimate club setting. It was now strictly stadium appearances.
This didn’t happen overnight – it took over four years to get to this point (longer, if you consider going back to Bluesology in 1962 and later as a staff songwriter), although Elton John had become popular from his debut album in 1969 onward, it was 1973 that proved to be the turning point.
Hard to imagine this concert took place 43 years ago – it doesn’t seem that long ago and the music really hasn’t dated very much. It’s Pop music and it’s well crafted Pop music – I think we’ve gotten to the point where much of Elton Johns music can now be considered Standards, as they’ve been covered by a vast array of artists.
If you missed this watershed period in Elton John’s career, crank this one up and give it a listen. Perfect for the holidays – festive, joyful and something to dance your ass off to.