September 13 – Big John Concert 2 : Elton

Same day, 11 years on, Elton John had a big show of his own. This day in 1980, he decided to do a free show in Central Park, New York and 400 000 happy fans showed up. Who knows, maybe John Lennon was among them – he was living nearby at the time.

The crowd heard Elton run through 22 songs, starting with “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”, ending with “Good Golly Miss Molly” and including a bevy of his hits like “Bennie and the Jets,” “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” and “Rocket Man.”

The mood was light-hearted and John came out for his encore inexplicably dressed as Donald Duck. He remembers having a great deal of difficulty getting the suit on and worried the crowd would have left by the time he got back to stage, an unfounded worry. Elton continued on his 21 At 33 tour a couple of days later in Baltimore and ended up with shows in Australia at year’s end. Although by then, Elton’s star was beginning to fade a little, he was still immensely popular, having scored no less than two dozen top 40 hits during the ’70s.

At the time it was the largest rock concert ever in the U.S. at least, although Diana Ross would pack more into the park three years later and eventually Garth Brooks and Billy Joel would combine to draw nearly a million to Central Park for a similar concert. For Elton, it was the biggest live crowd he ever played to, although five years later he’d be seen by even more people with his performance at Live Aid.

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4 thoughts on “September 13 – Big John Concert 2 : Elton

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    Yea I always liked the funny glasses and the stacks…they were cool but I NEVER understood the duck suit…ever. Huge crowd…I do wonder if John came out and watched.

    Liked by 2 people

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