Elton John brings "million dollar piano" to Vegas

Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:13pm EDT
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By Cynthia Johnston

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Singer Elton John opened his new Las Vegas act at Caesars Palace on Wednesday, tickling the ivories on his new "million dollar piano" nicknamed Blossom that lit up to reflect the mood of each song.

"The Million Dollar Piano" show marks the beginning John's three-year residency at Caesar's theater, The Colosseum, and Wednesday's performance was the first of 16 shows scheduled through October. A second series begins in February.

Long-known for his flamboyant costumes, John walked onto a Roman-inspired golden stage in a glittering silver cape, removed to reveal a glimmering black coat and golden shoes before sitting down to play on a custom piano covered with more than 68 LED screens.

"It's great to be back here at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace," he told the crowd, joking that in the 2-1/2 years since he last performed on the stage, both he and singer Celine Dion who also played there had children. "Miracles happen here, I tell you."

He played favorites including "Your Song," "Rocket Man," "Bennie and The Jets" and "Circle of Life" to a welcoming crowd that responded with standing ovations to nearly every song.

"It was just a warm feeling. You feel him, his presence," said audience member Robert Kang, of Washington D.C.

John, who said the idea for the show was born just four months ago, was accompanied by band members Davey Johnstone on guitar, Bob Birch on bass, John Mahon on percussion, Nigel Olsson on drums with a special appearance by percussionist Ray Cooper.

But major star of the show -- other than John -- was his piano, which he named Blossom after jazz singer Blossom Dearie, that lit up with color and imagery to reflect the mood of each song, showing glimmering blue dots for a rendition of "I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues".   Continued...