Thanks to Lionel R. from Latitude for his report and his photos.
July 17, 2002
It is under a particularly ardent sun that my friends and me waited during a few long hours for the opening of gates for this standing concert, wanting to be sure to seize good places. Long hours that have been followed by a wonderful sunburn. A memory of Divonne tatooed in my skin before the concert even began!
While we chatted quietly between fans, having been able even to spot Davey Johnstone, Clive Franks and John Mahon coming to take the temperature of the audience on the side of the stage, what was not surprising was when at exactly 9 pm, we saw the band arriving on stage, drummer Nigel Olsson first. A half-hour of advance on the foreseen timetable? Panic in steps! By our side, it wasn’t too important, as we waited since 7 pm in the front of the stage, we were therefore more than ready!
We heard the first notes of Funeral for a Friend… Elton arrived, dressed in a superb flamboyant vibrant red vermilion suit, with some sequin-ornamented sleeves. Warm welcome. Elton seemed in a good mood, joking from time to time!
Rocket Man, was distinctly below what Elton had achieved in Bercy, Paris, and even to other shows according to people to that I spoke with. I would dare to add that the very personal hypothesis that under the strong heat of the afternoon, the piano was a bit out of tune on the highest octaves (the tensest chord strings?). It explains the flagrant misunderstanding between the piano and Davey’s guitar. A pity for Rocket man… Same report alas on other songs.
Fortunatley Elton offered us beautiful versions of Sorry seems to be the hardest word and Sacrifice, better that at Bercy. He was awesome on Oh my Sweet Carolina aswell.
But personally, I think that the top of this evening was without question a fabulous version of American Triangle, where Nigel was immediately at the top, followed-up by Have Mercy on the Criminal to make a fine anthology. I still have thrills from my memories. The great style of Davey put the audience in his pocket with the solo of guitar. A big big moment.
Elton presented his band, and Nigel received a special ovation.
Davey, continued with a wonderful Holiday Inn.
Elton dropped Tiny dancer (and the recurrent joke of the odd movie titles that went with it around Europe, alas) as well as Original Sin. He also dropped Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me. I learned since that Geneva airport had forbidden takeoffs after 23h30, probably considering the meteorological conditions foreseen for the end of evening, and may explain this readiness to finish early.
Then came I’m Still Standing, Crocodile rock and Pinball Wizard
For his last encore, Elton exchanged his Versace suit against a dark and white training suit. not too glamourous, but well it seems that he likes that…
While we heard the first notes (a few dissonant, what reinforced my idea of tired piano) of Your Song, the first raindrops fell.
As soon as Elton has wowed us, he reached the backstage where David Furnish (alas, I don’t have seen him!) observed him since the beginning of the concert, before jumping in his limousine bound for the airport.