REVIEW

 

ELTON JOHN
Here And There In Norfolk 1972 [no label, 1CD]
Live in Norfolk, 1972.

This is Elton still very raw but starting to do more advanced material. Rocketman is introed as the new single. A 16-minute version of Madman is here. These are from old soundboard tapes. The recordings were boosted and cleaned up with spin doctor. They are very clear. Better than an audience recording but slightly below the quality of Madman Shakes Tokyo. This is only CD1. The second part live in Germany is not here. This disc is taken from the 2CD Hier En Dort [Here And There]. VG+ SBD mono. Hissy.

A reminder of the days when Elton was still performing songs, as opposed to putting on a performance… the days when his stageclothes really weren't that much different to his audience or band's… this is a lovely recording, catching all concerned on the eve of his Honky Chateau UK breakthrough. "Suzy" is the first of the "new" songs to be introduced, a very solid "Rocket Man" appears later in the set and, though success has still to descend upon the lad, still you can feel it waiting in the wings. 

The band sounds great, weaving in and around Elton's voice and piano with all the confidence in the world, with the heart of the set found within the marathon "Madman Across The Water," surely ranking among the most energetic versions on the circuit today, and leading the show exquisitely into the final straight. "Country Comfort," too, has rarely sounded warmer, the rock 'n' roll spot will have you leaping out of your seat and, while the sound quality may pack a little hiss, it is still streets ahead of many tapes of similar vintage. - Dave Thompson

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February 1, 2008