We actually had a good time at the Elton John gig last night. No, I’m not a fan of his music, but I have huge respect for his musical ability and his understated showmanship. You don’t last in any business as long as he has without being damn good at it – and he is.
Slipping seamlessly from classical piano to honky-tonk and back again, he gave an impressive three hour show playing many (but notably, not all) of his big hits, plus some of his new material which I hadn’t heard before and won’t be hearing again.
Elton played piano and sang to us for about an hour before being joined on stage by Ray Cooper.
Because I’d never heard of Ray Cooper, for some reason, I had formed a mental image of a cross between Ray Charles and Tommy Cooper. But hopefully more alive.
What we got was a well-dressed (crisp white shirt, tie, braces) 68-year old percussionist.
My initial thoughts were that there was no fez. Also that, more importantly, I may have been mistaken on the “more alive” bit.
I was wrong. How very wrong.
Dear [chosen deity, if any]. For two hours, he hit drums, cymbals, more drums, more cymbals, a xylophone, tubular bells, more drums, a marimba and some more drums with more power and more energy than I could have managed for 2 minutes. And he got 37 different sounds out of single tambourine. Which – whichever way you look at it – is impressive. But the sheer energy and speed of his work was incredible, dancing between timpani and bongos and not putting a foot, hand or drumstick wrong all night. It was amazing.
I did grab some quick video of “Mr C” at work – please excuse the occasional shakiness. I only brought the camera along to take some pictures: I wasn’t planning to video, so I wasn’t well set up. Remember – this guy is 68 (sixty-eight) years old and he’s been banging away like this for almost two hours already. It really is worth a watch.