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Elton John

Wed 13 Dec 2006 In: Performance

TradeMe Elton John Auction Winner Daniell McGruddy, with his Idol, Elton John Elton came down from the heavens in Wellington – in his own Lear Jet with 28 of his colleagues, assistants, technicians, minions and a few hangers-on, soon followed by his piano in another aircraft, this one having to land at the Air Force base, as Wellington International's runway wasn't long enough for it. That's a long piano. No, just kidding. It was in a BIG plane. With no time to spare, Sir Elton, who was only in the country for six hours, was whisked to the Westpac Stadium in time for a bit of grazing at the fine buffet laid out for him by concert promoter Phil Sprey and his crew from Capital C Concerts. Phil was very candid about the arrangements and told enquiring reporters all they needed to know about Elton's requirements, including the ubiquitous fresh cut flowers that must adorn his dressing room and other spaces through which he passes before the concert. Before this very special concert, Daniell McGruddy of Porirua, a courier driver, and his sister Margie, dressed up and ready for the honour, had a few minutes with the famous musical knight. Daniell, devotee and connoisseur of the Elton John mystique, paid $11,050 for the privilege of those precious few minutes with the star he has literally worshipped for years. The proceeds of the auction went to the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, in a much-publicised gesture of magnanimity. I met up with the pair after their meeting and Daniell was emotionally overcome by the encounter. “It is the greatest single thing that has ever happened to me,” he told me between sobs. Both he and his rather glam sis were dressed up for the event – Daniell wore a black dinner jacket with white satin lapels, and Margie was all in silver lame. To help celebrate the honour, I gave her my hat, which I had worn especially for the concert. She looked very good in it. Then, the main event. The warm-up act, “Pearl” had finished, and the strains of “Funeral for a Friend” were heard. Daniel, recognizing the music from the first chord, dashed away to his seats, pulling Margie with him wearing my hat. We all then made our way to our own seats on Wellington's one decent evening in weeks to enjoy one of the most- revered, highest - honoured and longest-lasting of Rock's Seventies icons. All the old favourites were there, including, thank God, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” without which, for me, the whole evening would've been a failure. But the old trouper has been at this for thirty years with much the same repertoire (there was only one new track the whole night) so he can calculate the effect on his audience, and believe me, the effect was overwhelming. Thirty-five thousand fans on their feet and singing along at the top of their voices is quite something to be a part of. It was reported that Elton John enjoyed himself. Well, and so did all of us! Long Live Sir Elton, and may he return often. Larry Jenkins - 13th December 2006    

Credit: Larry Jenkins

First published: Wednesday, 13th December 2006 - 12:00pm

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