| ELTON JOHN NEWS ARCHIVE: October 1998
|Yes, I am a Reg Head
Saturday, October 10 1998
Written by Reggie Zippo.
When I first heard that EJ would be making his way back to Florida during the same tour, I could barely contain myself. I had just seen him and the band at Tampa's Ice Palace on May 5, 1998 and the prospect of seeing him again so soon afterward was a bit overwhelming, to say the least. At the prescribed time, I was first in line to get a ticket at one of our local ticket outlets. I was politely informed that I would have to wait another 15 minutes before I could purchase my ticket for the October 3, 1998 concert at the Orlando Arena. What? This was an outrage! It seems that there is some sort of concert rule that gives people, who live in the same city as the concert, first choice on seating. I was calm on the outside, but very distressed on the inside. I was hoping for a floor seat, but ended up in the bleachers, which might as well have been a million miles away. Thinking about it now, however, I am glad that they have that rule. Otherwise, I never would have been able to meet Clive Franks from my floor seat at a previous Tampa concert. I even got his signature.
On the day of the concert, I arrived at the Orlando Arena full of excitement with binoculars hanging from my neck. Crammed like sardines, many fans were huddled at the front entrance waiting for the doors to open at 7:00 PM (EST). I, not being a sardine and far more patient, went around to the back loading dock to ogle EJ's rented white limo, the gray tour buses, and the old, well worn, red catering bus. EJ's posse must love baked beans because I saw many large cans of them through the windows of the catering bus. That is also when I noticed the security guard. I decided to see if my Hercules membership badge would get me a backstage entrance, but, as I suspected, I ended up gaining access to the arena just like all of the other "Reg Heads", a term coined by one of EJ's band members.
Once inside the arena, I constantly scanned the crowd to see if anyone was wearing a Hercules T-shirt and/or hat. Alas, none could be found. My Hercules membership badge, however, did generate curiosity among many Reg heads that passed by. Fortunately, I had been given a generous supply of Hercules postcards from one of the Hercules staff members (thanks Stephan and Sharon), so anyone who approached me got a postcard. I also passed the postcards out to people who looked like they were having an exceptionally great time during the concert. I was pleased to see that they in turn showed the cards to many others.
EJ was to begin at 8:00 PM, but did not make it on stage until about 8:10 PM. That 10 minutes seemed like an eternity! Finally, EJ and company made their way in the dark to their respected instruments and the crowd went into a wild frenzy. Spot lights revealed EJ in a smart white suit with a hot pink T-shirt. The rest of the band were in their usual very plain black T-shirts and black pants. Only Davey had a faint hint of subtle design across the middle of his T-shirt. After EJ was given several bouquets of roses, he started the ball rolling with "Circle Of Life", accompanied with scenes from "The Lion King" movie, but most of the concert was of little surprise. Thanks to the Internet, knowing what will be performed ahead of time kind of ruins the anticipation. Several songs into the concert, it was noted by another Reg Head that EJ seemed to be in a bad mood, but I did not notice it. EJ did not, however, refer to his band mates by their pet names when he introduced them to the audience. Could he have been in a bad mood? Perhaps. What got me in a bad mood, though, was when EJ treated us to "...Teen Idol", "Captain Fantastic...", and "Recover Your Soul". At the beginning of each of those songs, hundreds of people got up to go to the concession areas. "How rude!", I thought. We have pleaded that EJ play these type of songs, then he is repaid with rudeness. I could not understand the logic. Perhaps they were not Reg Heads, but just fans of the outer fringe. I was resolved to ignore them at all cost.
EJ did very little antics throughout, which gave validity to the bad mood theory, but he did spend an unusual amount of time signing autographs for the front row crowd. That's just about the time that he said "This is for all of you on a hot date who want to get laid!", then he went right into "SATWYLT". I laughed. By the end of the first encore, my ears were ringing. EJ had truly tried to blow the roof off of the arena. My ears didn't stop ringing until an hour or so after the concert. When EJ came back on stage for the final song, which was "Bennie And The Jets", he was clearly dressed in his traveling clothes like he could not wait to get out of Orlando. The concert was all but over by then, so it did not matter to me if he was upset. We all saw "Tantrums and Tiaras". Whatever it was will be worked out in a day or two.
The concert ended at about 10:45 PM, but before leaving the arena, I picked up the CDs of War Pipes and Public Domain, which are truly fantastic. The War Pipes' "Tear Jerker" song has been on my mind ever since. As I left the arena property, I could hear people wailing "It's over! It's over!" We all had hoped for more, but EJ can only perform for so long before exhaustion sets in. So, as I made my way back to the hotel room that I had rented for the weekend, I replayed the concert in my head. I too wished that it had been longer and that I had been closer to the stage. I might have gone temporarily deaf from the amps, but it would have been well worth it. Overall, though, I was happy in knowing that I had the opportunity to see EJ again this year, no matter how distant the seating was. Next time, however, I just might travel to the city where the concert will be to buy my tickets. I do not count myself among the outer fringe fans and I don't wish to settle for bleacher seats. YES, I AM A REG HEAD AND PROUD OF IT! Have a happy EJ day everyone!
Following is the complete set list from the Orlando Arena show on October 3, 1998:
- Circle of Life
- Grey Seal
- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
- Honky Cat
- Tiny Dancer
- I'm Going To Be A Teenage Idol
- I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
- I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That
- Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
- Rocket Man
- Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy
- Crocodile Rock
- Your Song (solo)
- Recover Your Soul (solo)
- Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters
- I'm Still Standing
- Simple Life
- The One
- Philadelphia Freedom
- Something About The Way You Look Tonight
- The Bitch Is Back
- Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
- Lucy In the Sky
- Great Balls Of Fire
- Bennie And The Jets
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