Elton John is a little like Paul McCartney. He’s so likable and so popular and so enduring — plus, he too has been knighted by the queen of England and gets to put “Sir” in front of his name — that, oddly, there are plenty of music fans who somehow fail to appreciate his excellence.
The hits are so numerous — “Tiny Dancer,” “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road,” “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On You,” “Candle in the Wind,” “Your Song,” etc. — that John can seem to be mostly a crowd-pleasing jukebox. And, for some, the pleasures of those hits have been worn down by steady rotation.
But that’s a view that misses the choice cuts from some of his early records like “Tumbleweed Connection,” “Madman Across the Water” and “Honky Chateau.” Elton John and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin took what artists like the Band were doing, folding in elements of historical narratives, folk storytelling and an idealized vision of American pastoral living, fused with ambitious production, strings, and multipart, Broadway-ish songs.
He’s a legend. He’s earned the reverence. This is allegedly his last ever tour.
See Elton John on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour at the XL Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Hartford, on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $49.50. xlcenter.com.