Since I spent the past week in Las Vegas, the world’s capital of adult entertainment, I had the wonderful opportunity to see 2 shows from music industry icons which had international success in the 70s and 80s and still influence today’s pop and rock music: Elton John and Heart (yes, yes the band with the 2 Wilson sisters ). Let me share with you the main highlights of these 2 fabulous musical experiences.
February 6th, 2009, LasVegas Hilton: Heart
I have always been a big Heart fan. I remember my teenage years listening to their 80s greatest hits like "Alone" and "These Dreams". Still today, I listen to their music a lot and my kids love it too. I never had the chance to see them live though. They do not come to Quebec City nor Montreal very often…
The show was a total blast. They are one of the few 80s band that aged well, even if many of their songs featured Casio synths during that period… Let me also tell you that Nancy Wilson ages pretty well too . Ann had a very crisp and raunchy voice and did well the whole show. I literaly had goose bumps when she threw those high pitch notes.
They just did the major hits that have played on top40 radio stations over the past 30 years or so. Here is the set list I had the chance to hear and see:
Wild Child (that was not the best choice to rock the audience upfront, IMHO)
Magic Man (Sounded great, nice electric guitar)
Straight On (My dear Valerie would have liked to be there since that is her best Heart song)
You Wreck Me (took a few seconds to identify this Tom Petty cover but Nancy did a great singing performance)
Dog & Butterfly (to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the song. One Word: Magic. Ann and Nancy did it acoustic)
These Dreams (With Nancy on the mandolin, a different version but very well executed)
Alone (One of the best vocal performance of the two sisters, Ann on the main and Nancy doing the backing vocals0
Barracuda (Wow, what a great way to exploit the E string of a Les Paul!, Unbelievable!)
Going to California (Heart is probably the best band still alive to render Led Zeppelin songs. This one was a nice surprise for me)
Crazy on You (This song left a permanent imprint in my musical memory and this show just crystallized it)
To sum up: An unexpectedwonderful evening . The unexpectedness of this show may explain why I had such a great evening even if I was by myself! I still have goosebumps…
February 11th, 2009, LasVegas Ceasar’s Palace Colosseum: Elton John, The Red Piano.
Elton John is another music icon and altough I am a big rock and metal fan, I can appreciate his musical talent and unique melodic skills. Again, this evening was unexpected. My colleague Annie and I decided to go see him the day of the show! We have been lucky to get tickets and it was one of our last chance to see that unique stage set created by Designer/Photographer/Video Clip producer David LaChapelle.
LaChapelle did an amazing job to visually give us an overview of Elton’s career and complement his songs with background images and videos. You will witness a few blow-up stage props, giant roses (that might be interpreted as something else), bananas and cherries (to simulate a man’s toy), a pair of breasts and many other neon flashing signs about the Vegas adult entertainment scene.
Elton opened the show with the piano chords of "Benny and the Jets" . Sound was great and Nigel Olson drum kit was beating in my heart. Elton did ALL his major hits as "Rocketman" which means a lot to me. Pay attention to these lyrics written almost 3 decades ago… He also did "Someone Saved My Life Last Night" and the images that were projected on the back screen were so special. I suited perfectly he lyrics. One of the highlight moment of the show was "Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting" when he asked all the people in the front rows to join him on stage. A great moment! Then he played one of my favorite one: Tiny Dancer. Although I did not appreciated that much the slide guitar on this one… I would have liked better a piano only version.
Then Elton entered in few explanations on some lyrics of the songs he did with Bernie Taupin, candidly saying that even after 40 years of singing them, he doesn’t get the sense of some lyrics. Very funny indeed. This is when I learned that the song "Daniel" was in fact a song about war. Bernie Taupin’s first draft of the song made clear the war aspect in the first verse of the song but Elton cut it to shorten the song and elimating its reference to war at the same time…
The show ends with "Your Song" and big LOVE air inflated letters. See attached picture taken with my Blackberry at the end of the show.
I was really pleased to see these 2 musical icons in less than 5 days. That is one of the good side of Vegas for music lovers like me who are not really into gambling!