Sir Elton and I might have bad timing to see each other

If it wasn’t for the minor annoyance of possibly having knee surgery on Wednesday, well, I probably wouldn’t go anyway to the Elton John concert that’s happening just a few miles down the interstate from me. I mean few, like three or four miles maybe.

There are still tickets left, according to Ford Park, one of the most financially-troubled venues in Texas over the past 15 or so years. And it would be a nice gesture to help out old Elton, well, he is only about to turn 67 in a couple of week. It would be even a better move to help out Jefferson County and its prime real estate entertainment complex. Still, I just can’t see myself paying $99 or $69 tickets. If I had a date — what a riotous thought — I would have to sit in one seat and my date in the other. I would probably take the $99 seat. Which explains why a date for me is such a flight of fancy.

Sir Elton is a musical hero of mine though. I can remember listening to “Rocket Man” on KEEL-AM in Shreveport or WLS in Chicago. The latter station we would hear every now and then in Navy boot camp at Great Lakes, Ill., which is right on Lake Michigan though I never saw it from boot camp. But that jingle they would play “Chi-ca-go weathe-r!” Kind of like “Buy Mennen!” or as George from “Seinfeld” put it “Co-stanza!”  Now, 40 years later that damn radio station jingle is still in my head. No matter that the AM station probably has gone through about 10 format changes since then.”

the moon
I hope my legs won’t break, walking on the Moon. Or Enchanted Rock. Copyright 2004. Eight Feet Deep


After high school and in the Navy and on into college did I come to learn both old and new — relatively speaking — works of some of the great rockers like Elton. It was at the house of my friend, the incredible late Betti, red-headed hell-raiser she was, where I first heard what was to me the most improbable Elton tune “Texan Love Song” from his 1973 album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player.

“So it’s Ki yi yippie yi yi
You long hairs are sure gonna die
Our American home was clean till you came
And kids still respected the president’s name … “

Call it what it was, satire. Betti’s friend Russell sang it and played it well on the guitar.

Sir Elton’s opus as far as I am and many others are concerned is the 1973 double-album — yes vinyl — Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. It had a bevy, or flock perhaps, of great songs. Sir Elton was on fire back in the day.

Back especially in the 70s was I very fortunate to have seen quite a few rock concerts. Some were very popular groups at the time: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grand Funk Railroad, ZZ Top, Bob Seger, Fleetwood Mac (the latter three times within a year and a half in North America and New Zealand), and the perennial favorite the Rolling Stones. Other individuals and groups, super or not, I had what I feel was the misfortune to have not seen: Any group with Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Warren Zevon, the Who, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and Led Zeppelin among them.

Ford Park hosted another favorite, not so super group, a few weeks ago: Foreigner. They have played across the U.S. staging local competitions for high school choir groups to join the band on stage to help with the chorus of “I Want To Know What Love Is.” A local school choir was chosen, the contest hosted by an area TV station. This was a stroke of genius, at least in theory, especially when performing with those high school vocal groups with a soul-gospel orientation, such as some of those from my area. It’s a lovely song that was great when it was released. I do remember hearing it ad nauseum on Christmas Day 1984 while driving all the way across Texas from the most eastern county to the most western.

I can’t remember what the prices were for Foreigner but I know it was more than I would pay for these days.

Honestly, I don’t know what it would take for me to attend a rock or country, stadium-sytle, concert these days. The second-coming of Elvis, Jimi, Janis, George and John, perhaps? Maybe if I were a young person today I wouldn’t mind paying such prices, but there is a time when such events are like what climbing up the steps to the Lincoln Memorial or walking up Enchanted Rock would be for me today with my torn lateral and medial meniscus. Ah yes, it comes back to that.

Yes it does. I want to get the damned thing fixed and in a hurry. The surgery won’t help me walk up Enchanted Rock today — the picture I took in 2004 always reminds me of the Police song “Walking on the Moon” — but at least, maybe, I won’t hurt so much when I walk down the street and hear yet an old tune come floating out of my memory.

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