Fan Gallery – Richard Antoine C.

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Photos 2 and 3 are from Elton and the Band’s The Red Piano New Year’s Eve concert on December 31, 2008 in London, UK.

London is one of my favourite cities and a fabulous and festive place to visit at any time of year. Although I had already seen The Red Piano in Las Vegas (and danced next to Elton on stage as he played Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)), how could I resist the thrill of ringing in 2009 with EJ and a few good friends at London’s O2 Arena?

After enjoying a few glasses of bubbly, we made our way to excellent front of the house Rocket seats, thanks to I snapped the photo of a jubilant Elton at the start of his concert as the crowd roared to the opening notes of Bennie And The Jets. Always a pleasure to sustain eye contact with our man and to see him flash his iconic “pearly whites.” It remains one of the most memorable nights of my forty years as a fan…even if in retrospect, it’s also bittersweet to see Guy in the background.

The final two photos are from May 26, 2009, when Elton and Billy Joel brought their Face2Face Tour for the first of two sold out nights at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. After shows in 2002 and 2003, this was my third F2F experience and it was the best by far!

The camaraderie and complicity between Elton and Billy, along with a brilliant setlist, made for an exciting and unforgettable evening of much loved classics from rock n’ roll royalty. Toronto crowds are always fun but this night was particularly electric. Elton was in a delightfully playful mood and literally raised the roof with many of his in-laws in the house.

I’ve been a fan since 1972 and this was the first and only time I’ve sat behind the stage. I was rewarded with a heartwarming point and smile from Elton before he walked off stage. It made an already perfect night stellar.

Richard Antoine C.