B0012790-09 The Red Piano
Directed by David Mallet
Released on November 3, 2008
DOUBLE PLATINUM
Find it at GEMM
B0012790-09 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

W hat’s black and white and red all over? The Red Piano, and not Progrography, so you can take my grousing with a grain of salt. When Queen Celine took up residence in the Palace, it raised eyebrows. When Elton John became the second of Las Divas to do so in 2004, it surely signaled the Apocalypse. Since I am whipped more than the inside of a Devil Dog, I took my wife to see this show in 2008. It was good. It was short. I felt sort of greasy afterwards, as if I’d just watched a Dutch porn film with a large leprechaun in it. The Red Piano DVD revived it all for me and, joking aside, it brought back more fond memories than fondled ones. The shows (I wouldn’t call them concerts) lasted roughly 90 minutes; on some nights, back-to-back shows were scheduled. Since the format and the playlist remain pretty much static from year to year (imagine how tiring it must be to deliver the same quips week after week), this DVD capturing one night’s performance is an accurate representation of any show from any evening. Of course, most of the audience didn’t have the stage-level view of the cameras, so our eyes were often on the large-screen videos and inflatable props. Personally, the show’s sexual overtones left me feeling uncomfortable; by the time the inflatable breasts were pumped up, I felt like I’d wandered into a Coors Light campus party. The films created by Dave LaChapelle are occasionally very good (“Rocket Man,” “I’m Still Standing”) but the overtly sexual content seems unwarranted (“The Bitch Is Back,” “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”). Then again, maybe I’ve misunderstood the “go down on me” part all these years. As for the music, it’s adequate. Elton John is clearly past the peak of his performances, and the best that can be said of the downward climb is that he’s in good company (Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson). For most of the audience (myself included), it was enough that Elton gave a passable rendition, as we were singing along with him anyway. I can’t see why you’d want to own this DVD if you didn’t see the show, but for the millions who already have it’s a nice souvenir. The 2-DVD/CD version includes a DVD with behind-the-scenes footage, the original "films" from Dave LaChapelle and an audio CD with the same tracks in the same order. And if you're still waiting for a "red pianist" joke, there it was.

TRACK LISTING

  1. BENNIE AND THE JETS
  2. PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM
  3. BELIEVE
  4. DANIEL
  5. ROCKET MAN
  6. ANSWER IN THE SKY
  7. TINY DANCER
  8. DON'T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME
  9. CANDLE IN THE WIND
  10. PINBALL WIZARD    (Pete Townshend)
  11. THE BITCH IS BACK
  12. I'M STILL STANDING
  13. SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALRIGHT FOR FIGHTING
  14. YOUR SONG

    All songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin unless noted

CREDITS

ELTON JOHN -- piano, vocals
GUY BABYLON -- keyboards
BOB BIRCH -- bass, vocals
DAVEY JOHNSTONE -- musical director, guitars, vocals
JOHN MAHON -- percussion, vocals
NIGEL OLSSON -- drums, vocals
Dave LaChappelle -- show creation, designer
Diane Orrom and Paul Morphus -- producers
Rocky Oldham -- executive producer
Phil Ramone -- audio producer
Frank Filipetti -- engineer, mixing
Clive Franks -- front of house sound engineer
INTRO, London -- design
Carl Studha -- stills photography
Thomas Schweigert -- photograph

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK 2008 Mercury 2DVD/CD 1783245 w. bonus DVD + CD
US November 3, 2008 Universal DVD B0012790-09  

 

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