Thursday, July 11, 2013

Elton John - Unlicensed Live Vol.1 & Vol.3 (1994) Bootleg

(U.K 1964 - Present)
Elton John and his band set out on 'The One Tour' just under a month prior to the album's release. The album proved a big success as did the world tour which lasted for two years. This was John's first tour since his rehabilitation from drug and alcohol addictions and bulimia in 1991. This is the last tour to feature his Roland RD-1000 digital piano. He would start playing his current Yamaha Disklavier piano shortly after.
The first European leg lasted from 26 May to 21 July visiting 13 countries ending at Barcelona Mini Stadium during the 1992 Summer Olympics. The show, filmed in front of 30,000 fans, was released on VHS and later on DVD. These releases are bootleg recordings of the Barcelona concert (broken into 2 parts) released by the AMCOS group in 1994.
John and the band then moved on to the United States where The One was a commercial success. John returned to Dodger Stadium for two sold-out shows as well as another two at Shea Stadium. John also played six sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, playing to approximately 120,000 people over the six shows. He finished the tour with two performances in Mexico, where he had never performed in concert before, and two in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The tour was seen by 3 million people over 130 shows. The 1993 leg of the tour started with nineteen shows in Australia, four shows in Hong Kong, and two shows in Singapore, where Elton had never previously performed.
The tour when went on to North America and then Europe. It ended in a concert in Istanbul, Turkey at the Istanbul Stadium on 20 June 1993. As In Europe, Elton dedicated "The Show Must Go On" to Freddie Mercury and performed this number away from the keyboard, with a hand-held microphone. Also, he dedicated "The Last Song" to the people suffering from AIDS. George Michael finally appeared in Inglewood, California performing "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" with Elton as an encore; although Elton opened the concert with the same song.
Concert Review
This bootleg contains tracks from Elton John's live performance in Barcelona, recorded in July of 1992. This was for John's 'The One' album and quite literally was a world tour. The set list contains a number of bits from that album, as well as some old standards ("Tiny Dancer" and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting") along with some of the 80s Elton ("I'm Still Standing" and "Sad Songs Say So Much").

The way I see it, there are two types of people who like to listen to Elton John. There are people who like the old Elton (specifically the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road era Elton) and then there are people who like Elton from any era of his career. Personally, I'm of the former category although I linger more in the 70s. After that point, I just can't seem to get into his stuff. But, looking at the track list involved with this bootleg, I thought I would be entertained regardless.

This Elton John concert, although it has capable renderings of an array of John's songs, doesn't really break any new or even interesting ground from a music standpoint. I'm not expecting a reggae version of "Daniel" or anything, but if the songs don't sound that different from the studio versions, again, why am I listening? They try to kick up the energy with stuff like "Mona Lisas" and do, to a point, succeed. But then there's stuff that drags it down again like an ill-advised cover of Queen's "The Show Must Go On" that John just doesn't have the lungs to bring off or "Sad Songs Say So Much," which is marked by John getting outgunned vocally by his trio of backup singers.

In all, these two bootleg releases are OK but they are probably aimed at the Elton John enthusiast. If you are 'The One', then you'll probably love these.
Live in Barcelona - 21st July 1992
It is worth noting that AMCOS chose to release this concert in two parts (2 CD's), however they managed to stuff up the first release by labelling the front cover as Vol.1 but the CD itself as Vol.2. Therefore, when it came to releasing the second half of the concert, they had no choice but to release it as Live Vol.3. Nevertheless, the quality of the recording is quite remarkable and is at an A+ Soundboard standard.
These bootleg releases also contain single sound files, however, I have taken the time to split each sound file into its respective tracks, without causing any interuptions to the flow of the concert.  This concert has also been released under the title of 'Heat Wave' on the Big Music Italian label (see cover below)
This post consists of MP3 rips (320kps) taken from the CD releases and also include full album artwork along with the concert photos featured above. Thanks to for the recording details.
Vol.1 Track Listing:
01 - The Last Song
02 - Funeral For A Friend
03 - Love Lies Bleeding
04 - Sad Songs (Say So Much)
05 - The Show Must Go On
06 - Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
07 - Sacrifice
08 - Song For Guy
09 - Your Song

Vol.3 Track Listing:
01 - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
02 - I'm Still Standing
03 - I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
04 - Tiny Dancer
05 - Philadelphia Freedom
06 - Burn Down The Mission
07 - Simple Life
08 - The One
09 - I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That
10 - Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters
11 - Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
12 - Daniel
13 - Blue Avenue

Elton John Band:
Davey Johnstone (guitars)
Charlie Morgan (drums)
Guy Babylon (keyboards)
Mark Taylor (keyboards)
Bob Birch (bass)
Natalie Jackson (vocals)
Mortonette Jenkins (vocals)
Marlena Jeter (backing vocals)

Elton John Live Vol.1 Link (52Mb)  New Links 25/10/2015
Elton John Live Vol.3 Link (70Mb)