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Elton John concert...piano sound.... #2467590 10/07/15 09:07 PM
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rnaple Offline OP

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I went to an Elton John concert last night here in Rapid.
I don't know how much of the equipment was his. And how much belonged to the Civic Center. Speakers, sound, etc. ????

I have to confess. The sound of his piano was awful. It could have been acoustics? Lack of setting up the sound well? It was only one night.
If I just had to rationalize. I'd say it was the acoustics. I was sitting between where a bunch of speakers were faced forward. And a half set facing to the side.
Either way.... none of you would give the sound a thumbs up. I know you people. eek
I don't think Elton was happy with it either.
Overall the sound had too much distortion. I didn't like it.

From here on is personal dribble if you want to skip it....
I have to say it was great seeing Elton in person, after all these years. I was sitting at stage height. Elton's usual setup. He was looking straight at me sitting at his piano. I was so close, I could have thrown him a ball. When he walked to my side of the stage. I could have tossed him a ball underhand. It was like a personal concert. Rather surreal...to be honest.
I couldn't believe all the old people. It was a hoard of old people. Very nice environment. Not like rock concerts I used to go to years ago. Cops all over outside. No need inside.
I'm really glad I went. Tons of old memories pouring out of my heart from songs. Was so great to see Elton after all these years.


Ron
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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2467739 10/08/15 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by rnaple

I couldn't believe all the old people. It was a hoard of old people.


Well, he is only 18 months short of 70 years old himself: that's old.

How was the music and Elton's voice? Despite the technical deficiencies, did he cut through well (musically/emotionally)?


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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2467861 10/08/15 01:49 PM
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The piano sound is not particularly nice and not at all 'organic' sounding. But it is an amalgam of an old Roland modelled sound together with a not-quite-so-old Yamaha sound. The Roland sound is very expressive and responsive and the Yamaha element adds sharp clarity.

The whole point of it is to ensure the piano cuts through and is audible throughout. No acoustic piano can cut through a loud electric band like Elton's. Usually pianos are completely lost in rock concerts. His playing has evolved over the years and in my opinion there simply is not a better musician in contemporary music. And every night he plays it differently.

And Ron it is very unusual to have police inside concert venues these days!

Cheers,

Steve



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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: toddy] #2467979 10/08/15 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by rnaple

I couldn't believe all the old people. It was a hoard of old people.


Well, he is only 18 months short of 70 years old himself: that's old.

How was the music and Elton's voice? Despite the technical deficiencies, did he cut through well (musically/emotionally)?


Quite well...indeed...

Candle in the Wind... easy to hear his personal grief
Don't let the sun go down on me... I swear I could hear his personal wishing

Daniel
Sorry seems to be the hardest word
Believe
Sad Songs Say so Much
Sacrafice
These all showed tons of sincerity/emotion. Very much. Very personal.

Overall his singing was extremely relaxed and personal. He did wonderfully. Might sing something a little bit different...seemed with more emotion. Like he was just trying to enjoy himself and the concert. As if...yes...this is his last tour. He wanted to savor each concert.

I can't say the band was playing together the best. Doing ok. Consider that 8pm our time is 4am London time. All these one night stops in towns. I didn't expect them to be at the top of their game.... But!.... During Bennie and the Jets....these guys just fell into the "Flow" and....it was like magic. Showed how truly great musicians they are. So good... Elton turned to them and yelled: Yes! (with a big smile) I think most of the audience was stunned...it was that good.

They played for over 2.5 hours. Toward the end were the biggest ones.
Your Song... a personal special favorite (I was 10 years old when this came out)
Crocodile Rock
Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting
Philadelphia Freedom
Rocket Man
Tiny Dancer

It was a little different in that... So many of us were just taking it in deeply.

Mostly early on... They had screens and cameras. I could see his hands on the keyboard on the screen. Seemed like he would hesitate....I rationalize he was thinking: "Ok...lets try this 'touch' and maybe it will sound better."



Ron
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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2467997 10/08/15 09:52 PM
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Sounds like an incredible night, Ron - thank you for sharing your review!

Cheers,
James
x


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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2468006 10/08/15 10:13 PM
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perhaps it had something to do with the fact that you were standing "too" close, meaning not to where the speakers were aimed at (90% of the audience)

Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2468091 10/09/15 07:07 AM
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Just to fill you all in. In case you're interested. I'd suggest seeing him if you can. This appears to be his last tour.

The people in the very front. They paid $600 for those seats. I couldn't bring myself to pay that much. Those people were allowed up to the stage toward the end. Not on it. Just up to it. It did appear to me that those were the only people allowed up to the stage? They sure paid for the privilege. Elton signed autographs for them. Greeted them personally. Which was nice.
Both the Bass and Acoustics guitar players did alot to make it a good show. Very relaxed, outgoing to the audience, having fun. The Acoustic player, I forget his name, is from Scotland. He was good. The Bass player, he was so nice, a lady at the stage wanted closeups of everyone on her NotePad movie maker. He took the NotePad and walked around to the whole band getting close ups. They took some selfies with people too.
The backup keyboard player was behind Elton. Had three keyboards. One was a Kurzweil. Couldn't tell the others.
He had two drum players. One did alot of the bells and special things. The other has been with the band since 1969.

Just letting you know if you're interested. Since this does appear to be the last tour. Might want to go when he gets near you. It is a rather different experience. They very relaxed, entertaining, having fun.


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2468101 10/09/15 08:00 AM
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He was at Kendal Leisure centre, a few miles from us, performing a few months ago. He does some decent stuff, but Im not a fan. Id love to have seen Joe Cocker (rip), mind. He had a great piano player who if my ears are correct, plays for others too. And zztop if they still perform. And Pink is enormously popular in the N of England.

Tickets are so expensive, but you get what you pay for, I guess!


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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: peterws] #2468243 10/09/15 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws
He was at Kendal Leisure centre, a few miles from us, performing a few months ago...


Haha! Kendal Leisure Centre?! He's not Chas n Dave! He was at the County show ground actually.


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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2468386 10/09/15 08:38 PM
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I get a chance to see many great old bands. This is because of the Buffalo Chip and the Rally. But many here don't want to go. Too many idiots there. You can get into trouble. Even if you win you can still get in trouble. So I don't go. ZZ Top makes it almost every year. Would love to see them. Would hate to end up in the Sturgis jail. Or worse.

I remember there is a guy on here who is a pro in So. Cal. I think he lives in Glendale? Has an associate friend. He said the friend plays for Elton when he comes to Vegas. I'm wondering if that was the guy on tour playing backup keyboard now? If so...congratulate him. Did a great job. Especially that rendition of Bennie and the Jets. I'm sure they won't forget that. Probably try to do that again. Don't know if they can? It was magical.

On the technical. Those speakers were hanging from the ceiling. Lowest a good 20 feet above the stage. Not too small a place either. They had somewhere between 7,500 and 8K people there.


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2468469 10/10/15 05:21 AM
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When it comes to age and playing music, I think it is irrelevant. Les Paul was playing out into his nineties along with college kids and he still sounded good.

Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2468487 10/10/15 07:22 AM
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Elton uses 2 of these.... Roland MKS-20 modules..So did Marcia Ball until recently...she offered to buy one of mine. My band opened up for her at a gig and we were talking about the MKS-20 a few years back . . .They were noted for their cut.

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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2468500 10/10/15 08:16 AM
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rnaple Offline OP

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Dummy me just has to keep carrying on.... Doh!

Ya know? Keep thinking back. When they were really jamming. That piano cut through great. The sound didn't bother me at all. Didn't sound... 'off'. Only when the quieter, more personal stuff was played did it not work well. I guess you can't have everything?

I have to think the older players are just plain better. Like an aged wine. Can't get that out of young new wine. smile

I keep thinking on why on Bennie and the Jets. What happened to make it so fantastic? Listen to it technically. There is much interaction between the instruments. It was written with 'talking back and forth' for the instruments in it. They did that in a fantastic way. Yes, Elton's playing was definitely part of it. Even on that beat. When they hit it. Was like they each found their place and played behind the beat like 1/64th off. Drawing it out. Each instrument 1/64th behind each other. Then the piano and keyboard chasing after that beat and nipping it in the behind. It was super cool what they did. An actual improv. But not changing it. The music was alive. LIke I said before... The audience was stunned.
I admit I have never heard a recording anywhere near that good of this song. I'm confident, if Elton gets the chance. He would include the recording of this performance of this song in the future.
Yes, I do think it required great, very experienced, old, musicians to do that.


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2468507 10/10/15 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rnaple
Each instrument 1/64th behind each other.

-so they never actually started playing?

Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2468572 10/10/15 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by rnaple
Ya know? Keep thinking back. When they were really jamming. That piano cut through great. The sound didn't bother me at all. Didn't sound... 'off'. Only when the quieter, more personal stuff was played did it not work well. I guess you can't have everything?


I agree totally. When it's just piano and voice or a sparse arrangement it would sound nicer with a more natural sounding piano. With the rockers what he uses is unparalleled. If he was prepared to change the tone according to the song then he could have the best of both worlds. But I think his distinctive live piano sound has become part of his 'brand'.


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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: dire tonic] #2468723 10/10/15 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by dire tonic
Originally Posted by rnaple
Each instrument 1/64th behind each other.

-so they never actually started playing?


No.... The Acid wasn't that good. smokin

Ya know, Ess Brace? I do wonder why Elton hasn't set up a piano like Freddie did. He had a box with three adjustments sitting on top of the piano. Watched videos of him adjusting right before a song.



Ron
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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2468779 10/11/15 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by rnaple
Ya know, Ess Brace? I do wonder why Elton hasn't set up a piano like Freddie did. He had a box with three adjustments sitting on top of the piano. Watched videos of him adjusting right before a song.



Yes, Billy Joel used to do the same thing. He was constantly tweaking it. But that was in the days of acoustics. Elton's pianos are acoustics (he has five kept around the world ready for when he arrives in the relevant area/continent - three 9 foot black Yamaha CFIII-S grands, a red one and the square sided 'million dollar piano' LCD thing for Vegas). But that's not what you hear. He triggers what he needs via MIDI. For piano that's a Roland/Yamaha mix and then for certain songs like Daniel and Philadelphia Freedom it's a bright sounding FM electric piano sound (used to be Rhodes).

Until now he's been a touring machine playing an average of about 100+ shows every year but as you've said that's being scaled right back. It's probably true to say that, including his years as an amateur (starting at age 14) and semi-pro young musician, he's played at least one live gig each year since 1961. Not a single year skipped completely although no touring as such in a few of those years due to various reasons. 4000+ shows as an established well known artist. No other 'superstar' type performer/band can match his relentless work rate. In my opinion he is a very driven individual and frankly I think he is utterly addicted to the feedback of a live audience. I can't see him stopping completely until he snuffs it.

If you're interested...touring pianos:

1970 - 1986 - Steinway D - fully acoustic but also triggering MIDI to other sound modules from late '85
1988 - 1993 - Roland RD-1000 - Digital Stage Piano but also triggering other modules via MIDI
1994 - now - Yamaha CF-IIIS - acoustic capability but triggers MIDI to Roland MKS-20 chain mixed with Yamaha 'Power Grand' sound.


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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: rnaple] #2468843 10/11/15 08:42 AM
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I appreciate the info on the piano's. Have always found it interesting just what they set up. Technically.... I would like to thank them for putting the speakers up in the air. Firing over the top of the people in front. I brought ear plugs in fear they were going to be blasting right at me. I didn't use them.

All those engagements. He sure has made money. Even here in Rapid. My best estimate is he walked away with a half million gross. With leaving two to three hundred thousand for the Civic Center. Not bad for a small venue.

He's going to be in Vegas for over two weeks. I called my brother and suggested he go see him. Vegas is a constant flow of people from LA. That freeway becomes jammed on Friday evening. The shows are one big attraction.
I'd like to see him again just to see if they do that with Bennie and the Jets again.
He must be addicted to the shows. He sure doesn't need the money.



Ron
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Re: Elton John concert...piano sound.... [Re: peterws] #2468852 10/11/15 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by peterws
He was at Kendal Leisure centre, a few miles from us, performing a few months ago. He does some decent stuff, but Im not a fan. Id love to have seen Joe Cocker (rip), mind. He had a great piano player who if my ears are correct, plays for others too. And zztop if they still perform. And Pink is enormously popular in the N of England.

Tickets are so expensive, but you get what you pay for, I guess!

I am a moderate fan. I never went for the theatrics, but I think a lot of that has died off too. I like a lot of what he has written. I'm also a fan of your other choices, Peter. Personally, I think Elton would be a far better show. I've seen Cocker live. Good, but muddy sound. Also OK, but not great with audience interaction. ZZTOP is a disappointment these days for a live show. Same with Jethro Tull. I'm afraid the glory days are over for them. Reggy though, has the talent and knows how to entertain. I've yet to see him, but thinking about trying to call him about lessons. He is not far away when at his estate in Ontario.

Despite the sound/acoustics, sounds like a great show. A colleague at work saw him last year at a small venue in Whitby Ontario and absolutely loved it. He is generally a country music fan and said he was only going for his wife. He was very glad he went. smile


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