The Spin’s entire life has been permeated by Elton John. He had already released over a decade’s worth of stone-cold classic hits by the time we were born, and thanks to our mom, we spent our childhood far more familiar with E.J.'s music than with that of any other contemporary artist. In fact, we talked to our mom on Friday before Elton's show at Bridgestone Arena, and she said she'd already seen him twice. Not only that, we ended up tweeting with our exceptionally savvy grandma during the show about the set list from the Elton John concert at MTSU’s Murphy Center in 1984. The Spin officially became a third-generation Elton John concert attendee on Friday night. That doesn’t happen with many musicians.
Suffice to say, we were stoked. By the time The Spin made it to Bridgestone (apparently every cab in town is unavailable by 7 p.m. on a Friday), we had just enough time to find our seats and prepare to cry. Oh yes, The Spin cried. Multiple times. No opener — he went on at approximately 8:05 p.m., dressed in a cherry-red suit with a Captain Fantastic-fonted “FANTASTIC” emblazoned in rhinestones across the back. It was almost demure. The band was just as nattily dressed in suits and sunglasses, the youngest member of which we pegged as being a relatively spry 50. But that ain’t matter, because …
The songs. Oh sweet Jesus, the songs. John appropriately opened with “The Bitch is Back,” segued right into “Benny and the Jets” — which included an arena-wide call-and-response, naturally — busted out “Levon” (our first and most overwhelming weep of the night), a Brenda Lee-dedicated “Tiny Dancer,” “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (second cry), “Rocket Man” (cried), “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” “Sad Songs (Say So Much),” “Daniel” (even Elton John has songs for beer break), “Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word,” “The One” (very good for being relatively recent), fucking “I’m Still Standing,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Saturday Night’s Alright (for Fighting),” and then the encore? “Your Song.” Guess who cried again.
Just look at those songs. That’s not even a comprehensive set list — the hits! The sheer number of timeless hits! Did we mention that John signed a bunch of autographs before the encore? And pulled Bernie Taupin up onstage, who just happened to be in town? (Taupin's Beyond Words art exhibit is currently on display at Nashville's Rymer Gallery, as a matter of fact, and John even stopped in to check it out on Friday afternoon before his show.) Also, did we mention that we smelled the inviting smell of someone getting way high right before “Levon"? That he took the time to tell the audience the titles of the non-mega-hits, and let everyone know which albums all the songs were on, just like the crowd’s own personal Shazam? That he would pop up from the piano every now and then like an open-mouthed Whac-A-Mole, and it was hilarious? That we saw two baseball-hatted bros clink their beers together during “Tiny Dancer"? If there’s one thing three generations of a weeping family and a couple of rando bros can agree on, it’s that Elton John is the best.