Mark Mayfield

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ELTON: New York City State of Mind




Elton John wrapped up his U.S. tour last (Wednesday) night and Tuesday with his 63rd and 64th solo shows at New York's Madison Square Garden. Saying it's his favorite venue and city to play, he was clearly emotional, telling the sold-out crowd that they were the reason why he has led such an "amazing life," for which he received a standing ovation.

Elton is now off to Russia for two shows there -- Friday and Saturday -- but not without a little controversy. He reportedly has submitted a 50-plus page rider, which includes demands and pledges to show solidarity with that country's persecuted gay community, which can lead local officials to pull the plug if they feel his performances will break their "gay propaganda" laws. He says part of his wanting to perform there is to show support for the gay community. "As a gay man, I can't leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don't know what's going to happen, but I've got to go." And of course Elton fueled the fire by recently giving an interview in which he said he had sex on a Moscow rooftop with a translator during his 1979 Soviet Union tour.

At his show Tuesday at Madison Square Garden he introduced Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser of the 2 Cellos, who are playing with his band, by pointing out how cute they are, before adding that he won't be able to introduce them that way at the shows in Russia because he'll be accused of "promoting homosexuality."

After Russia, it's back to Europe for shows in France, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Lithuania before breaking for Christmas. He'll then start up again in the U.S. on February 1st in Youngstown, Ohio.

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