Next Tuesday, July 1st, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Elton John’s latest live recording, The Million Dollar Piano. Eagle Rock Entertainment has long been the standard of success in live recordings from a variety of bands and artists. And with this latest live recording, it remains once more the very standard by which other companies should base their live releases. There is so much to appreciate in The Million Dollar Piano. For starters, there is the show’s set list. The show’s set list totals eighteen songs and nearly two hours in length. Throughout the course of the performance, Elton John’s very performance makes the experience even more of a joy. And making the performance whole is the concert’s combined audio and video mix. All of these factors taken into consideration, Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano proves to be one more example of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader in live recordings, and why Elton John remains one of the top entertainers in the music industry today.
Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano is such a joy of a concert first and foremost for the same reason that any other concert is enjoyable for audiences. That reason is the near two-hour concert and its set list. Throughout the concert, John and his fellow musicians present to audiences eighteen fan favorite songs. Among those fan favorites are the likes of: ‘Crocodile Rock,’ ‘Bennie and the Jets,’ ‘Rocket Man,’ ‘The Bitch Is Back,’ ‘Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) and even some perhaps lesser-known pieces, too. If the songs included in the main concert’s set list aren’t enough for audiences, then the bonus live performance from Kiev is certain to make audiences happy. That grouping of songs includes another take of ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ as well as performances of ‘Sacrifice,’ ‘Sad Songs (Say So Much,’ and the stirring tribute to the late Princess Diana, ‘Candle in The Wind.’ This bonus mini-concert of sorts puts the recording’s concert run time well over two hours. And it is two-plus hours of pure enjoyment for audiences of all ages, too.
The set list compiled both for this recording’s primary concert and its bonus “mini-concert” recorded in Kiev together make Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano more than worth the money, whether one purchases it on DVD or Blu-ray. However, the set list would be nothing without a solid performance from John and his fellow musicians and performers. Thankfully a strong performance is exactly what audiences get. He and his fellow band members deliver a solid performance from start to finish. Whether it be in the more upbeat songs or even the deeper, more emotional moments, John and company carry the concert with ease. The performance is made even more enjoyable as John shares little tidbits and jokes with the audiences between songs. He tells the audience in attendance about how his pianos are named and points out how the piano he is using in the show actually visually tells the audience what song he is playing as he plays. His story about how his pianos are named will have audiences watching at home laughing just as much as those that were in attendance as he pokes fun at fellow pop star Madonna. He also shares some more thought provoking moments as he explains how different songs such as ‘Blue Eyes,’ ‘Indian Summer,’ ‘Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters’ came to life. That willingness to joke with the audience and even share more personal stories builds a strong connection to audiences. In turn, it makes his performance (and that of his band mates) even more enjoyable. The on-stage presence of John and his band mates alongside the show’s set list together make this recording one that any fan of Elton John will definitely want to add to their personal library. It still isn’t all that audiences will appreciate from this recording. There is one more factor to examine from this concert that makes it a joy. That factor is the concert’s collective audio and video mix.
The set list and overall performance by Elton John and his band mates more than make Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano a joy for audiences of all ages. Even together, they would be nothing without the expert work of those behind the concert’s cameras and audio boards. The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace is an immense structure inside. Audiences will get to see its sheer size in watching this concert recording. And in doing so, will agree that it is anything but small. Taking that into account, those responsible for getting the best shots and keeping the audio levels evened out more than did their jobs. One of the best camera angles used throughout the concert is one that captures John right from keyboard level. Either there was a camera mounted on the piano or a videographer sitting just close enough to get that close up shot. Regardless of which is the case, the slightly angled shot mixed with a specific frame rate makes for a great shot. This is especially the case in some of the concert’s slower numbers. The wide shots are just as powerful in songs such as ‘Rocket Man,’ and ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me.’ That’s thanks in part to the video wall used behind the band. The combination of the two together makes such moments so powerful, emotionally speaking. Bigger, more bombastic numbers such as ‘Crocodile Rock’ and ‘The Bitch Is Back’ are equally complimented by the camera work in those numbers, too. The camera work on those numbers heightens their energy and in turn, makes them as enjoyable as any other moment throughout the concert.
The videography concert is a hugely important part of the extrinsic value to this concert recording. Much to the same level, the audio work is just as worthy of applause. Considering the sheer immensity of the Colosseum, it goes without saying that balancing the acoustics both for those in attendance and for those that will purchase this recording was extremely important. It looks to be almost the same size as England’s Albert Hall, if not perhaps slightly bigger. Those managing the concert’s audio levels both during and post-show are to be applauded just as much as those responsible for capturing the concert on video for their part in the final product. At no point in the concert does one performer overpower the other. It shows the expertise of those handling the concert’s audio duties. And thanks to such expert work, audiences can catch every single nuance of every song. Those with home theater systems will especially appreciate those painstaking efforts on the part of those at the audio boards. Such efforts, along with those of the camera crew and the performers, to entertain audiences have far more than paid off here. All things considered, Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano shows once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains the leader in live recordings and why Elton John remains to this day one of the top entertainers in the music industry.
Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano will be available next Tuesday, July 1st. It will be available both on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on the concert and Elton John’s current tour schedule is available now online at http://www.facebook.com/EltonJohn and http://www.eltonjohn.com. Audiences can also order the concert via John’s official website. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://www.ealge-rock.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.