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One Night Only: The Greatest Hits (Live)

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Album Review

It's hard to imagine the wondrous spectacles that were Elton John shows in the ‘70s. Decked out in the kind of campy dress that would make a drag queen call the fashion police, Elton pranced and danced across the stage like he owned it — because he did. But, alas, the ‘80s and a monstrous coke habit came calling, and when they left John was never the same performer or singer again. What was once fun and camp somehow became tacky and the singer seemed hopelessly out of it. This CD, taken from a sold-out weekend stand at Madison Square Garden in October 2000, is his bid to capture that old live magic for the younger types who missed it the first time around. Through the course of 17 tracks the artist huffs, puffs, wheezes, sputters, and does everything in his power to find that once unbridled energy. Does he? No, not really. But he does play nearly every major hit he's had in the process which, when you realize how many there are and how good they are, is one hell of a consolation prize. The cover, which depicts John decked in a white suit and surrounded by bananas and the like, doesn't do much to nix the tacky tag, but the music is, thankfully, better than its packaging. He also pulls several rabbits out of his hat in the form of Bryan Adams (who guests on "Sad Songs"), Mary J. Blige (who duets on "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues"), and, most amazingly, Kiki Dee, who rips into "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in a way that Rupaul could only dream of. No, he hasn't recaptured that ‘70s magic, but the melodies are still great and you'll still know every word.

Customer Reviews

One Night Only

Entire album brings Elton John's talent to life. The live performances of his most widely know music in most cases outshine the studio cuts. If you like Elton John, this album is an automatic buy. If you're not sure about how talented this guy really is, this album will bring you around to side with those who believe that he is definitely among the best of all time in the world of rock & roll.

Good but leaves much to be desired.

Being in my mid-30's I am familiar with the majority of Elton's music, which I love on the radio, I never collected his music until recently. This album became my first pick because I knew all of the songs, they are great, and in the live format. All of the songs are upbeat and the live recording is excellent, but why did Elton or his producers wait until 2000 to put out an album of these classics live. There are earlier live albums, but none as comprehensive as this. It does seem some of the youth and vigor is missing from Elton's stage performance, I can't help but think it would be there and much more lively if this effort was put into production 10 years earlier...

great, but not his best.

Okay...I'm not going to kid you. This is his only recent live album and his performances are great or whatever, but his other 3 live albums are perfect and irreplaceable. This album is only so-so and won't win over new fans. Sacrifice and Candle in the Wind are great. The only successful duet is "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues." If you want his best stuff live, go for the Here and There album (recorded circa 1974).


Born: March 25, 1947 in Pinner, Middlesex, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In terms of sales and lasting popularity, Elton John was the biggest pop superstar of the early '70s. Initially marketed as a singer/songwriter, John soon revealed he could craft Beatlesque pop and pound out rockers with equal aplomb. He could dip into soul, disco, and country, as well as classic pop balladry and even progressive rock. His versatility, combined with his effortless melodic skills, dynamic charisma, and flamboyant stage shows, made him the most popular recording artist of the '70s....
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