Sir Elton on premiership form at new Derbyshire stadium

Elton John performing at the B2net stadium in Chesterfield
Elton John performing at the B2net stadium in Chesterfield

Last Monday Sir Elton John played in the Mall for a TV audience of millions.

Five days later he was performing for a more intimate crowd at the B2net stadium, home of lowly Chesterfield FC.

And the local crowd got the better deal because Elton was back on form after a bout of pneumonia that had landed him in a Las Vegas hospital only two weeks ago.

There was speculation that promoters had made a mistake when they booked the concert in ChezVegas (the town’s affectionate nickname).

Even the star of the show – well known as the president of Watford FC – seemed surprised to find himself performing at the Spireites ground.

“I never thought I’d play Chesterfield but here I am at this fantastic football stadium,” he told the enthusiastic crowd, adding: “I wish we had one like this!”

It was a big day for the town, which had never before hosted a stadium concert – much less a rock event that attracted a crowd of more than 15,000.

Support act 2Cellos got things under way, then joined the rest of the seven-piece band and four backing singers as Elton launched into Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.

Wearing a fuchsia pink shirt and a black, rhinestone-studded suit, the veteran star set the stadium rocking harder than any football match in its short history.

The appreciative audience soon got into the mood as he belted out hit after hit from a four-decade repertoire.

He may be 65 but Elton has more stamina than many men half his age. He was on stage for well over two hours, showing just why his popularity has withstood the rigours of time.

A string of 24 songs ranged from lesser-known ballads – Grey Seal and Levon – to all his best-known favourites, including Rocket Man, Daniel, Nikita and I’m Still Standing.

He must have sung all of them hundreds of times over the years but they still come over with all the vitality and sparkle of his larger-than-life personality.

Backed by original band members Nigel Olsson and Davey Johnstone, Elton went down a storm. Fortunately, the weather did not…

After days of torrential rain, the skies cleared in time for Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.

And, as darkness fell, the light show lit up half of Chesterfield.

Crocodile Rock finally brought the evening to a crescendo, then the star reappeared to sign autographs for those in the front row before finishing the show with Your Song.

“That’s your song, Chesterfield. Thank you.”