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Review: Elton John at the Kent Showground near Detling, Maidstone

ByKent Messenger reporter

Elton John took crowds in Maidstone by storm tonight with a set which left little to be desired.

The multi-million selling singer took to the stage at the Kent Event Centre near Detling for his biggest outdoor concert in over nine years. 

A rainy, cold day was predicted for May's end, but the crowd erupted into cheers and laughter as sunshine broke through a grey sky which had loomed over the county all day.

Elton on stage tonight. Picture by Martin Apps
Elton on stage tonight. Picture by Martin Apps
Elton on his feet to greet the crowd. Picture: Martin Apps
Elton on his feet to greet the crowd. Picture: Martin Apps

Elton, who has played more than 3,500 concerts in over 80 countries, took to the stage unannounced and opened his set with Funeral for a Friend from the Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road album.

After being met with a well-deserved roar of applause, he continued the hit-heavy set, with some of the biggest cheers reserved for the classics Your Song and - played appropriately at sunset - Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me.

Fans old and young swayed and sang along to Elton's biggest-selling single of all time, Candle in the Wind, which sold 33 million copies. 

It was a triumph for the veteran singer following an inauspicious start to the evening.

Elton John went down a storm. Picture: Martin Apps
Elton John went down a storm. Picture: Martin Apps
Thousands of fans gathered for Elton's first outdoor performance in over nine years. Picture: Martin Apps
Thousands of fans gathered for Elton's first outdoor performance in over nine years. Picture: Martin Apps

Thousands of people faced huge delays approaching and exiting the venue as the A249 became jammed in both directions.

Some say it ruined the evening, I disagree. Once we were parked and in our seats it was hard not to enjoy watching one of the most iconic artists in the music industry.

Revellers weren't deterred by the some-what crisp weather and continued to sing throughout the evening, with some dancing their way through the entire show.

Even more dazzling than Elton's purple and gold jacket with 'fantastic' embellished on the back, was his ability to power on through a two-and-a-half hour set with not one break.

Elton and band mid-flow. Picture: Martin Apps
Elton and band mid-flow. Picture: Martin Apps
Elton on stage. Picture: Martin Apps
Elton on stage. Picture: Martin Apps

His musical talent and commitment to his fans resonated throughout the entire show.

The 68-year-old stopped briefly to thank the audience for continuing to support him even in his 47th year of performing. 

After signing CD's, t-shirts and programmes, he added: "I have an amazing career, I have an amazon glide. You've all made so happy I still love to play. The feeling you give back to me when I go home from a show is one of incredible joy, so I thank you."

A couple of extremely entertaining fans took it upon themselves to get spectators on their feet by running along the front of the stands. They even gave out free hugs to those singing the loudest - it's safe to say they'll be appearing on YouTube sometime tomorrow. 

To close an uplifting, powerful set, Elton gave an incredible performance of Crocodile Rock which had every single person on their feet. 

It was somewhat an abrupt ending to the night when the star departed without a word and credits rolled on screen, but I found it hard to criticise the man who still manages to belt out such classics after almost half a century of performing. 

From the beginning I expected brilliance, and Elton delivered nothing less. 

For more information about events at the Kent Event Centre click here

Annabel Rusbridge-Thomas

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