Monday, June 18, 2007

The Sir Elton John Show - Who I want to see in Concert if I'm a Ukrainian Billionaire

Like almost two hundred thousand other people in Kyiv I headed down towards Maydan Nezalezhnosti on Saturday June 16 in order to see a living legend. Yes, at 60 years old one can consider Sir Elton John can be considered a living legend. I had earlier predicted that I would probably watch the concert on television, and I was right. With the number of people that were at the concert, there was no way that I was going stand, especially for what turned out to be a two hour and twenty minute gig, surrounded by thousands of Ukrainians who some day will be able to tell their kids or grand kids. "I saw Elton John on Maydan back in 2007!" Well that's if being at the concert really meant anything to them, or if they were part of the so many flocks of sheep in Ukraine that just go to events if they are free.

Whatever my comments are worth I would like to make a simple observation, which I believe will confirm my belief that the music listening public as well as those in radio in this country have a long way to go regarding understanding what has transpired in the international music industry over the last 40 years, and what good music is.

In any recording of concerts of Sir Elton John I've seen right from the first note his fans have sang along to all of his songs during the concert. While I can't say say that I know every single song of Sir Elton's but I definitely know the words to nearly all his early material released on his first albums Honky Chateau, Don't Shoot me I'm Only the Piano Player and Good Bye Yellow Brick Road. By the look on his face at times during his performance on Saturday, Sir Elton was surprised that practically no one was singing along with him during the songs that most Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers in the west grew up with to some degree or less.

One might be able to say, "Well Ukraine never had a chance to listen to that music!" OK if that is the excuse, let's not forget that the Iron Curtain fell over 15 years ago.

Who is it that forms the listening tastes of Ukrainians? To my knowledge there are some radio stations in this country that have a play lists of over 10,000 songs, out of that number there must be some other good music other than what actually gets played. So what am I getting at here... In short DJ's on those radio stations know very little about the music they have at their disposal. Some of the recorded concerts I have seen of Sir Elton have been in countries which were under the influence of the USSR where western music was not exactly given a green light, but at most of those concerts in those countries everyone was singing along.

Where as this wasn't the case last Saturday. Well there was one exception, those who were at the Drum watching the concert on Victor Pinchuk's Noviy Kanal.

While I never met her personally, the young woman who was with Sean Carr's guitarist Mick, whom I have met, was singing along to many of the songs.


  1. All in all, this was obviously a win-win PR exercise for the Kuchma Pinchuk empire. And no doubt Sir Elton was happy that they could deliver a passive audience for him to promote his pet cause.

    There was a song released back in the 70s called American Pie, about the day the music died ... . In Ukraine, perhaps Saturday was more like the day the music was aborted.

  2. Yesterday my business partner and I discussed the level of professionalism of the show. Ukrainian musicians and those in the industry have a lot of catching up to do.

    Yes, Don McLean's American Pie does deal with that issue. I think that Sir Elton's song Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word may be appropriate in this case.

  3. ...the level of professionalism of the show. Ukrainian musicians and those in the industry have a lot of catching up to do.

    Well, just as long as they don't sacrifice their Ukrainian soul on the altar of "professionalism" ...

  4. I believe that those who are truly talented and ethically professional won't. Unfortunately, the word ethics is very little understood in this country.