The West

Sir Elton John. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

He began with The Bitch Is Back and concertgoers were certainly happy to have Sir Elton John back in WA to open the new Perth Arena.

Stepping in to replace George Michael for the grand opening of the venue, dubbed by Premier Colin Barnett as WA's version of the Sydney Opera House, Sir Elton took to the stage on Saturday night in blue shades and a glittering blue suit.

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"As you can see, I am not George Michael," he quipped.

Part of Sir Elton's concert was shown on television for the annual Perth Telethon to raise money for Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, and he took the time to encourage the audience and viewers watching at home to donate before singing more hits.

He didn't move around the stage much and there were no costume changes, but Sir Elton did perform for about two and a half hours, making sure the Perth Arena was christened appropriately and fans got their money's worth.

Sir Elton didn't tell many jokes either, or relay many stories - he didn't even bad mouth Madonna or address rumours he is about to become a father again - it was all about the music.

Every major hit was played including Benny and the Jets, Levon, Tiny Dancer, Candle In The Wind, Crocodile Rock, I'm Still Standing, Are You Ready For Love and Sacrifice.

When he performed Rocket Man in the middle of the set, it drew a massive standing ovation - prompted by Sir Elton himself - in honour of the 40th anniversary of the song.

It looked like he was going to go off the stage, but instead, Sir Elton seated himself back at his piano, playing for more than an hour after that.

There was a short lull in the show as he performed lesser-known songs and new tracks, but Sir Elton and his band - including new members and Croatian support act, 2Cellos - sounded fantastic.

For the final 20 minutes, the relatively subdued crowd was well and truly on its feet, with many fans rushing to the front of the stage to get a closer look at the star.

When he finally finished his set and left the stage, eager fans who were dressed in glitter, feather boas and bright colours, cheered for Sir Elton to return to the stage.

Of course, he did, but before singing any more songs he took several minutes to sign autographs on tickets, programs and even a pair of jeans.

He finished with Your Song, which had the crowd swaying, and then The Circle of Life that left many couples hugging and others screaming louder than a fan girl at a One Direction concert.

Even the most casual fan had a great night with Sir Elton.

He was the perfect choice to open the new Perth Arena, even if the rain meant the show was not "under the stars" as advertised.

  • Sir Elton will perform a second sold-out show in Perth on Monday night before travelling to Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Launceston.
The West Australian

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