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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sir Superstar

From rollicking rock anthems to big ballads, John’s catalog confirms his musical mastery

Elton John will perform Wednesday night at the Spokane Arena. (Associated Press)
Elton John will perform Wednesday night at the Spokane Arena. (Associated Press)

The numbers associated with Elton John’s career are staggering.

He’s sold more than 300 million records, recorded more than 30 albums and had more than 50 Top 40 singles. Seven straight albums hit No. 1. During a five-decade career – one that’s still going strong – he’s earned six Grammy Awards and has a Tony, an Oscar, a Golden Globe and Kennedy Center Honors. His re-recording of his 1973 hit “Candle in the Wind” – released after he performed it for Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997 – went on to sell 33 million copies, and is by most accounts the second best-selling single of all time, behind only Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”

The 67-year-old John is no stranger to these parts. He’s played Spokane a couple times, and Pullman as well, since 1999.

A review of a 2011 show by former S-R staff writer Jim Kershner summed up John’s appeal this way: “If anyone was on the fence about Sir Elton – although I saw little evidence of that – this concert probably won them over for one simple reason. John has more quality hits in his enormous repertoire than almost any other contemporary artist you can name, with the exception of another sir (Sir Paul).”

That setlist ranged from “The Bitch is Back” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” to his later hits “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” and “Sad Songs (Say So Much).” And of course, “Your Song,” which he told Cameron Crowe in Rolling Stone last year he considered a “perfect song”: “The older I get, the more I sing these lyrics, and the more they resonate with me.”

It’s hard to tell what will be on the set list for this year’s stop in Spokane, as it’s coming at the front end of a fall U.S. tour. The tour is billed as a greatest hits show, with emphasis on the seminal album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” which marked its 40th anniversary in 2013.

And if you happen by the Spokane Arena on Wednesday night, chances are good you’ll hear the crowd singing along with whatever Reg is playing.

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