University High School, Normal, IL

Elton John brings tour to Peoria

Central Illinois experienced a rare brush with fame Sunday night when Elton John took the stage before a record crowd of over 11,000 spectators at the Peoria Civic Center as part of his Greatest Hits Live Tour. The fans inside the arena gave John a standing ovation as he took his seat at the piano for an electrifying performance of “Funeral for a Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding” to start the show. He didn’t miss a beat when he transitioned into a set of hits that included “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting),” “Tiny Dancer,” and “Philadelphia Freedom.”
John graciously paused after every song to show his appreciation for the crowd’s ever-present applause, especially making sure to acknowledge the dedicated fans that had purchased seats behind the stage. Even at the age of 64, the durable performer never took any breaks over the course of the three-hour show, stopping only for brief sips of water.
After finishing a performance of “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” John told the crowd that he would be playing five songs from his new album, The Union, which he released last October with Leon Russell. John prefaced the performance of these new songs by saying “If I don’t play new songs I go nuts, so please bear with me,” an understandable sentiment considering he has been playing many of his hits for nearly four decades. The performances of the songs “Hey Ahab” and “Monkey Suit” suited the crowd just fine as the fresh songs provided a nice segue into the second half of the concert.
The concert began to reach its climax with John’s inspiring piano-playing of “Candle in the Wind.” The crowd rose to its feet when John simply played the first chord of “Bennie and the Jets” and they would remain standing for the rest of the show.
The audience was particularly thrilled by the performance of “The B—- Is Back” when John couldn’t help but leap off his piano during the exhilarating song. After letting the audience sing the chorus of “Crocodile Rock,” John left the stage to a raucous crowd only to return a moment later to sign autographs for fans in front of the stage.
After such a memorable night, the only proper way to end the show was with an encore performance of John’s first ever hit, “Your Song,” which brought the concert to a satisfying conclusion.