March 25, 2017 — Today is Elton John’s 70th birthday. I’ve been a fan since I was a young teenager and am still a fan. Randy and I have been fortunate to attend two Elton John concerts, one in Tampa, and the other at the old Roberts Stadium in Evansville.
Early in my career when most of my focus was on public relations, I met many celebrities (hate to tag anyone a celebrity but let’s say these are people with some form of national recognition.)
There is, however, no one who stands out like Elton John. In September 1986, my Beloved and I saw Elton in concert for the first time at the University of South Florida Sun Dome. Randy was in his second year of graduate school. The concert was beyond our dreams. Elton gave 86 concerts all over the world that year. In September 1986, he played Tampa with Denver a few days later.
A few days after the concert, I traveled on business to Denver and stayed at the Fairmont Hotel. (Yes, healthcare WAS different then!) A Denver friend met me for drinks and we decided to go out for dinner. I needed to retrieve my purse so we went up to my room. Standing waiting for the elevator was Elton John. Funky glasses and wearing an orange and pink suit that resembled a domino piece.
Not shy, I engaged him in conversation by telling him I heard his concert a few days before in Tampa. He asked me a number of questions about the concert, and seemed genuinely interested in my answers. He was kind to us, gave me an autograph, and let the elevator go as he was speaking with us. I was “got.” We did not ride down with him, but went back to my room and called my friend’s daughter who was sixteen and had tickets for a concert that night. We giggled like sixteen-year-old groupies for a few minutes!
I had no camera with me. This was before cell phones, but he was so nice I suspect he would have allowed us to take his picture. I framed his autograph, no doubt on some scrap of paper my friend had, and kept it on my desk these thirty-some years.
My friend and I eventually recovered, got back on the elevator, and when the door opened in the lobby, there stood John Madden. Madden is a huge man, and hard to miss. Neither of us could have cared less about seeing another famous person. We saw Elton, enough fame to last a life time.
Take a trip with me and listen to the anthem of my youth, which still gets me rocking.