SATURDAY night was definitely alright for drinking, dancing and having a good old sing-along as Sir Elton John rocketed into Leigh this weekend.
There was no Elton tribute act in sight as the world renowned superstar, having arrived by helicopter, appeared on stage at Leigh Sports Village shortly after 8pm.
Perched in front of a grand piano to the left of the stage and wearing a dazzling sequined navy blue suit, royal blue shirt and matching glasses, the 67-year-old performed to a welcoming crowd of thousands for a solid two-and-a-half hours.
The set list was comprehensive enough to satisfy all ages in the audience, ranging from old favourites such as Benny and the Jets, Rocket Man, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Tiny Dancer, to new numbers from his latest album The Diving Board – and plenty in between.
Some of the biggest cheers on the night were reserved for Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On (Leigh) Me – timed to perfection as the summer solstice sun disappeared behind the rugby stadium – I’m Still Standing and I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.
And while he may be more at home performing under the bright lights of Caesar’s Palace in Vegas than the home of the Centurions, he told the crowd: “It’s wonderful to be here in Leigh, when I was young I used to watch the rugby league with Eddie Waring commentating.
“I’d rather play here than the Manchester Arena. I want to come to places where there are no other places to play than the local football stadium.
“I much prefer it to being in city arenas because I get to see people that I wouldn’t get to see anywhere else. I still love doing what I do.”
He joked about the refereeing standards in the World Cup and dedicated the classic hit Your Song to the appreciative crowd (even the ones who gatecrashed the front seating area and were rather worse for wear), adding: “This is a song for each and every one of you. Thank you Leigh.”
After an energetic rendition of Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting), autographs were signed and an encore of Are You Ready For Love and Crocodile Rock brought the house down, proof that you don’t need fancy gimmicks, elaborate staging and endless costume changes to entertain a stadium crowd - certainly not one as welcoming as Leigh.
For our full picture gallery click here: leighjournal.co.uk/pictures/sir_elton_john/.