Wollongong was pumped for Elton John on Sunday and Elton didn’t disappoint.
As the rock icon alighted from his chopper early in the afternoon, loud cheers erupted from those perched high on balconies overlooking WIN Entertainment Centre.
One of those was Harbour Street resident Robert Laidlaw, a proud gay man who’s been a lifelong fan of the British superstar.
‘’When he got out of the helicopter I was screaming at the top of my lungs,’’ he said. ‘’He gave a bow and a kiss – I’m sure it was for me.’’
Mr Laidlaw is a neurosurgeon, but became a Rocket Man (his favourite song) for the night. That’s what was emblazoned on the back of his tee-shirt while the front proclaimed: ‘’And I’m gonna be high as a kite by then’’. And he certainly was high on enthusiasm.
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‘’I’ve been a fan of Elton John for 32 years – because I’m a gay man and I see him as a gay icon,’’ he said.
‘’I’m very proud of him and how he’s living his life – although I’m a bit jealous he’s been allowed to marry. It’s disappointing that we haven’t had that chance in Australia yet – but who knows?’’
Meantime Christine Kilpatrick from Sylvania has attended every Sydney concert Elton has performed – the first at just 14 years of age.
‘’I’ve just turned 60 and I still adore him,’’ she said. ‘’His music has resonated with every aspect of my life. I’ve brought my adult children along, my nieces and nephews, and my friends so everyone can experience Elton.’’
Lizzy Rich from Wellington, NSW, added some sparkle to the crowd, with her handmade coat of many colours.
She bought the tickets for husband Aaron’s birthday – who last saw Elton alongside another icon, Billy Joel, back in the eighties but reckons he’ll be just as good a few decades on: ‘’Age doesn’t matter,’’ he said.
Mrs Rich added: ‘’I’ve always loved Elton John – I love his flamboyancy and his incredible music, his talent and his songwriting – he’s the consummate performer. My husband loves him too – even our four-year-old son.’’
For seven ‘Tiny Dancers’ from Newcastle, the concert was a great way to celebrate their 35-year high school reunion.
One of the seven, Kim Roulston, said the group now kept in touch via their shared social media page, entitled Tiny Dancers.
‘’We call ourselves that because of her shared love of Elton,’’ she said. ‘’So coming here seemed the perfect way to celebrate our reunion. His music is so happy – it makes you want to dance.’’
It was a long wait between concerts for Kerry Gray, of Albion Park, who last saw Elton in 1984 in Sydney.
‘’I’m wearing the hat I got from that concert – it’s been sitting on top of the wardrobe for quite some time,’’ she said.