I found an obscure channel on our t.v. I'll probably never find it again. It's a music channel, but they play live performances instead of just the hits with an annoying background, or a montage of album covers. I'd been watching it - moving wallpaper, really. Then suddenly a few piano chords rang out.
And then a torrent of them. Raging, dancing, showing off, Fred and Ginger dancing like it was nothing at all, using all the quarter notes and half notes and eighth notes and weaving in the syncopation, dissonant, perfect leaps off the high dive straight into the water with barely a splash. This pianist was running those keys like he'd invented sound, and I looked up from the book I was reading -
-and there was Elton John.
In his prime. Before the flamboyance got too flamboyant. Playing solo to a live audience and turning it into something that went into amazing, obscure places and came out like a rack of fireworks being set off one after another. I set down my book and just watched this performance, Elton making hard, funky love to a honky-tonk piano, lost in his sound, and I was just stunned, amazed, nearly in tears.
Back when I was a little Muk I was a rabid fan of Elton John. Had every single one of his albums. Even the ones that hadn't been released in the U. S. , I was that into him. (Shit, I still know all the words to 'The Bitch Is Back', stone cold sober as a matter of fact.)
But I had not realized, from 1973 until just this evening, right here in the year of our Lord Covid 2020 that the man COULD PLAY LIKE A MAD BASTARD.
I fell into teenage love with the showman without even realizing that he was a prodigy. All these years later, I watched that young man give 110 percent of himself to an audience that was largely fucked up on pot and there for the showmanship. I remembered the poster I'd had of him in my room, all hairy chested with a feather...jacket....of some sort... barely covering his adorable pot belly, and I wish I could apologize to the dude. Of course I was a kid then, and I was attracted by his like-greets-like vibe as much as I was anything else, but it has to be admitted before the world. Now.
Elton John can tear the fuck out of a piano.