Question Two: The Elton John Concert

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A night when I was not just the only Brit in the room. Elton arrived in Argentina.

Submitted: February 27, 2009

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Submitted: February 27, 2009

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Question Two
You always expect a crowd at the Bombonera. Where there’s football, there’s Argentines. But this sultry Thursday night in Buenos Aires, the most famous stadium in the land gave way to one of the most famous Brits, Sir Elton John.
The crowd were warmed up to some Britishness by James Blunt, who rocked on the piano, on top of the piano and jumped from the piano to run around the stadium, to the joys of us all. Anything out of the ordinary goes down well here.
I watched the sky turn royal blue, and Venus shed its light over us as we waited for the main event. We are used to waiting here. The men carrying coolers of water and bags of popcorn trod over us, taking advantage of the break to shriek at us to buy their wares. Huge balls clearly advertising Claro bounced around the stadium, moving sections of the stadium to yell at each other; everyone aching to punch the balloon. As night settled on the city, so restlessness settled on the crowd; until it was finally dark, and the stage lights came on again.
He was old, the band was old, the songs were old. But when he stood there, in his long black sequined coat, the trademark glasses, and then sat down to tinkle the keys, each note resonating so clearly around all twenty seven thousand of us; my skin prickled warm. There was another Brit in the room. And it was Sir Elton John.
He played all the songs you delight in; the slow ones that you danced to at the school disco when you were eleven; the pumping hits your parents got ready to before going out on the town; the romantic movie numbers. Time and again he had thousands of non English speakers singing back to him his music, those words, ringing out in foreign accents. What a pleasure that must be, an assurance of your greatness, when you do not even have to sing your own songs. Let the crowd in, you’ve been in them.
On the big screen close-ups, his fingers swam over the keys, he smiled at us, the band rocked on. He joked with the crowd when introducing them; he’s from Sausage, Ohio, he’s from Toad-in-the-Hole, Milwaukee and he’s from Chipolata near Manchester. Argentines let the nonsense wash over them, waiting, pulsing for the next tune. I laughed and smiled inside. He had to know there was another Brit in the room, too.
Into the night, he sat at his grand piano and we swayed, sang and bopped to whatever he gave us. The beats, the instrumentals, the famous chorus lines; he did not need anything else. No light show, dancing troupe required. The music filled him, and through him, us. It was all the feelings he has had, in the words and notes, and all the feelings we have had and will ever have again. That’s the Circle of Life.
After almost three hours, Buenos Aires was replete. My skin cooled with his last note and it was time to go home, to join the throng in the streets searching for taxis and buses. “How was it?” he asked when I finally got home. I lay in bed, heard the melodies in my chest, the high keys tingling in my ears; all those English words.
“A musical bit of England in Argentina,” I said. You miss it.


© Copyright 2019 Laura Plum. All rights reserved.

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