|MILESAGO - Performance - Tours By Overseas Acts|
Compiled by Alan Harvey
Elton John 1971 Australian Tour
"On October 16th
Britain's super-rock star, Elton John, arrives in Australia to commence
a two week tour. Go-Set's news editor, Ian Meldrum, is a very good
friend of Elton's personal manager, John Reid, and on his recent visit
to London had the chance to meet Elton in person. Ian found him a very
quiet and sensitive person, which is in direct contrast to the zany-rock
wild image that he lashed out on stage with. Meldrum will be touring with
Elton throughout his Australian concerts."
There was a minor
controversy with Elton and Australian police when he arrived over some
so-called "filthy" badges he was wearing! Stephen MacLean from
Go-Set reported that before Elton "had a chance to exit the airport
barrier, two policeman approached him and explained that the four badges
he was wearing were damaging to society!" Ian Meldrum said of the
incident, "No decent minded person could blame him for feeling the
way he did on that first day about the narrow-mindedness of Australians."
It was reported by
Go-Set that Elton thought, "Regardless of the stupidity of
it all, the incident didn't color his attitude towards Australia."
Elton's first Australian tour was presumably his first major contact with Australian music and Australian bands, and it also marked the beginning of his long friendship with Ian Meldrum. Elton is well known known as a voracious collector of records (among other things) and he was notable for always taking a keen interest in current musical trends in the various countries in which he toured.
On this tour he was evidently very taken with Daddy Cool, who at the time of the tour were still riding high on the success of Eagle Rock and their debut LP. Daddy Cool lead singer Ross Wilson has noted that, prior to his Australian visit, Elton's music had been in a serious, singer-songwriter vein. But almost immediately after the tour his music began to take on a much more boisterous character, and he began to include influences and images from '50s rock'n'roll -- which not coincidentally was Daddy Cool's stock in trade.
Eagle Rock is widely acknowlwdged as being the direct inspiration for Elton's next single,released in 1972. A nostalgic '50s rock'n'roll pastiche, it bore the suspiciously similar title Crocodile Rock. And if anyone still doubts the influence of Daddy Cool they need only check out the cover of Elton's subsequent album Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player -- Elton's lyricist Bernie Taupin can clearly be seen wearing a "Daddy Who?" badge -- a nod to Daddy Cool certainly, but perhaps also an inside joke referring to his run-in with the Australian police?
"During the Melbourne concert there were no screaming or fainting girls, but at the end of the concert, about a quarter of the 11,000 strong audience mobbed the stage. The police moved ready for they thought might be kamikaze rushes by hysterical fans. What people wanted was to just get a closer look at an incredible showman, Elton John, and Elton obliged with hand stands on the keyboard, dance steps and much leaping and jumping."
"Elton John is
the best entertainer to have come to Australia for a long time. He played
for an hour and three-quarters and didnít lose the audience once.
Elton is so good I would have been happy to have just seen Elton John
and missed the supporting acts altogether."
"So far the Brisbane
concert seems to have been the most enthusiastic crowd, and Elton was
so pleased with the audience reaction that he disclosed to Ian Meldrum
who is touring with Elton, that when he returned to England he might increase
the size of his group."
In Perth Elton started
off the concert saying, "Well here we are in the outback!" In
Meldrum's report of the Perth concert he declared, "What a knockout
Perth was! Everything I'd heard about Elton John became a vision and sound
reality at his first Australian concert at Perth's Subiaco Oval. He was
truly magnificent, equal credit must go to his drummer Nigel Olsen and
his brilliant bassist Dee Murray, the sound combination was absolutely
mind-blowing. The reaction from this Perth audience must have justified
Elton's own feelings about coming to Australia."
Elton's Final Reflection
When asked what he thought of Australia Elton replied, "Well, I'm still smiling."
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© 2002 MILESAGO