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Elton John’s UAE fans create history at Friday’s concert

From being the first show for a 16-month boy to the 92nd appearance for a 57-year-old man, the December 8 event in Dubai broke some records

  • Mark Underwood, 57, attending his 92nd Elton John concertImage Credit: Supplied
  • Mark Underwood's collection of Elton John Elton memorabiliaImage Credit: Supplied
  • Mark Underwood’s ticket signed by Elton’s mumImage Credit: Supplied
  • Brian Anthony Jackson, 16 months, with his parents and grandmumImage Credit: Supplied
  • Mark Underwood's collection of Elton John T-shirts -- he has 40 of themImage Credit: Supplied

Dubai: From being the first show for a 16-month-old boy to the 92nd appearance for a 57-year-old man, the Sir Elton John concert at the Autism Rocks Arena in Dubai last Friday helped create history for his ardent fans.

As the legendary British singer regaled a huge audience on a windy night, the year-long wait for the rescheduled concert was well worth it. Earlier slated for December 15, 2016 the concert was pushed to December 8 this year after the singer took ill.

Emphatic statements

Fans and remained largely seated as they clicked away on their smartphones, taking selfies and live pictures and videos of the legend for the record. But a few in their midst made more emphatic statements.

For little Brian Anthony Jackson, it was a matter of initiation. Just 16 months old, the toddler was accompanying his parents and grandmum to what he could one day boast as his first Elton concert.

But the Rocket Man’s star fan clearly was Mark Underwood, a 57-year-old Abu Dhabi banker.

“This is my 92nd Elton live concert - the first was in 1976 - and there is the only place I could be sitting: in the front row, stage left with the perfect view of a musical legend,” said the sprightly Briton.

Flashing a prized drum stick that he had managed to collect when celebrity drummer Nigel flung it into the audience, Underwood showed framed pictures of other memorabilia he had gathered from the 92 concerts he had attended in 40 countries. He even had tickets from every show.

Sporting a beige Elton John T-shirt, he said he had 40 such tees picked up from different concerts.

The die-hard fan said, “Elton kicked off the show with rousing versions of the Bitch is Back and Bennie and The Jets, two songs from the early 1970’s. The set list was dominated by Elton/Bernie songs from his early albums from that decade, and a repeat of my last Elton concert in Italy in July this year. That didn’t matter because it was a “wonderful crazy night” to hear such timeless classics as Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Tiny Dancer, Daniel and Rocket Man.” Underwood said Elton John’s vocals and piano, along with his band were so good, he could “feel true emotion in every storybook lyric”. But the most touching moment was when half way through the concert “Elton paused to make a very personal introduction to Your Song, dedicating it to his mother Sheila who passed away earlier in the week. In fact, I have a ticket signed by her,” he said. Needless to say, Underwood is looking forward to the next Elton concert in Las Vegas in May 2018.

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