Elton John rocks out in Grand ForksElton John seemed as surprised to be playing Grand Forks as some were to see a star of his size here, but he said he was glad he made it.
By: Christopher Bjorke, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
Elton John seemed as surprised to be playing Grand Forks as some were to see a star of his size here, but he said he was glad he made it.
“I never thought I’d say that, but I’m here,” said the rock star following the second song, “Benny and Jets,” of his concert Saturday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Despite the weather, maybe cold for his native England, but not for Grand Forks, John got a warm welcome at The Ralph.
The singer, on the eve of his 65th birthday, took the stage around 8 p.m. Following cello versions of Nirvana and AD/DC songs by his string section, the band launched into “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” and John, wearing a black suit with sparkly red trim and red-framed glasses, took his seat at a grand piano.
Arena management expected about 10,000 people at the show, and the fans crowded around the box office included those who listened in him in the 1970s, their children and a few fans from overseas.
For Sheila Dahlman of Brainerd, Minn., John’s songs are a link back to her younger days and “singing in college after a few brews, ‘la, la, la, la, la, Crocodile Rock,’” she said.
Dahlman was with her husband, Kevin, and their daughter Suzette, a University of North Dakota student, and her boyfriend, Dan Gardener from Manchester, England.
Several fans adopted Johns’ flamboyant fashion tastes for the evening.
“My girlfriend is more of a fan than I am, but I’m pretty excited,” said Lane Smith, wearing a purple fedora, jewel-rimmed sunglasses and white jeans. “I knew I wanted to wear the white jeans, but the rest was mostly her idea.”
Elin Barstad, a UND student from Norway, was dressed in a bulky, shaggy white fur coat. She said there was no way to pass up a chance to see a star of his stature.
“It’s Sir Elton John,” she said. “He’s an icon.”
Christopher Bjorke is a reporter at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.