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What A Week!

September 23, 2012
Linda Comins , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Wow! What a week it's been!

The crowning event of another busy week was the opportunity to attend Sir Elton John's fabulous concert before a packed house at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling Tuesday night, Sept. 18.

It was a dream come true to see and hear the British rocker perform many of his greatest hits for an enthusiastic audience. We had great seats, perched directly above Elton John's piano, offering a perfect view of the performer and his band.

The experience took me back to a time nearly 40 years ago when I played Elton John's then-new album, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," at full volume on my roommate's stereo in the freshman dormitory every weekend. Back then, we knew he was a talented rocker and we loved his music. The future seemed so far ahead - little did we know then that Elton John would be knighted and would still be playing to sold-out houses 40 years later. Nor did I give much thought at that time to the possibility of seeing him perform live.

But, oh, boy, did my friends and colleagues, Betsy Bethel and Phyllis Sigal, and I enjoy that opportunity Tuesday evening. We applauded; we cheered; we smiled; we snapped photos and, yes, we even danced a bit.

Elton John gave his fans a tremendous performance, playing and singing for two and one-half hours without a break. He acknowledged and thanked the fans on all four sides of the stage; he introduced each member of his band and his back-up singers.

He performed several selections from "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," which, in 2013, will mark the 40th anniversary of its release.

In addition to the title track, he thrilled the audience with other hits from that album, including "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)," "Bennie and the Jets" and "Candle in the Wind."

The concert included the classic ballads, "Daniel" and "Levon." After playing a number from the Concert for New York City to honor the victims and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Elton John had the audience rocking with the energetic tribute to another East Coast city, "Philadelphia Freedom." Elton John had the crowd on its feet with "Rocket Man," "Crocodile Rock" and "I'm Still Standing."

Showing what a class act he is, when Elton John returned for an encore, he spent several minutes signing a plethora of autographs for fans crowding the area in front of the stage before he sat down at the piano again.

Thanking the fans for their support and love over the years, he then performed "Your Song" as his encore.

It was also great to see WesBanco Arena filled to near-capacity and to sense the electric excitement pulsing through the crowd.

The audience included many young adults and lots of baby boomers as well as members of older generations.

On another celebrity note, Lady Gaga's grandparents, Paul and Ronnie Bissett of Glen Dale, also were in the house for Elton John's show.

Meanwhile, I had the privilege and pleasure to be a "celebrity" panelist for the Appraisal Guys' "Price Is Right" event at Oglebay Institute's Mansion Museum in Oglebay Park last weekend.

Professional appraisers Tim Luke and Greg Strahm - who conduct a variety of events over a two-week period as a fundraiser for the Museums of Oglebay Institute - selected four teams to compete in their "Price Is Right" game.

The teams had to guess the selling price - without going over the final bid - for various antiques and collectibles auctioned around the world in the past year.

I was paired with Wheeling attorney Christopher Riley, and we came in second place in the game. The winning team was led by Gerry Reilly, former director of West Virginia Independence Hall and a former curator of the Mansion Museum, who is now the eastern regional manager of Indiana historic sites and site manager of the Lanier Mansion in Madison, Ind.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: Comins@ news-register.net

 
 

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