I'm actually still listening to "Tiny Dancer." And, as lyrics from the song dances through my ears, the memory of the concert I attended with my brother is revisited.
Two years ago, in October, my brother took the liberty to purchase two tickets to an Elton John concert. As Elton is one of the musical idols worshiped in our family, Keith and I were thrilled to learn that he would be performing in Omaha. The tickets, bought from an acquaintance in our small town, placed us in floor seating, about mid-way back.
During the actual concert--which was, simply put, fantastic--the person from whom Keith purchased the tickets came back to our seats and grabbed our hands, dragging us up to her seat. Six rows back the front of the stage, Keith and I stood agape in the aisle, snapping photos of Elton John as he crooned to the audience. I remember glancing at my brother's face, seeing his mouth agape in sheer joy of being in such close proximity to his piano idol. Oh. My. God. "That's Elton!" I remember squeaking to him, my voice inaudible above the acoustics.
I can remember "Crocodile Rock," as well, and how the entire stadium screamed, "LAaaaaa, LA LA LA LA LAaaaaa, la la la la laaaaa, la la la la laaaaa!" in place of Elton John's own voice. Despite how obnoxious he or she originally thought the song was, everyone was up; dancing, singing, screaming, sloshing his or her cup of beer onto my feet...it was one of the happiest times of my life, and I am eternally grateful that I was able to share that experience with my brother.
One of the most vivid memories I have from that night is when "Tiny Dancer" was performed. When it came time for the song's climax, I looked up at Keith's face, watched him lean back and belt out the chorus with his eyes closed. "HOLD ME CLOSER TINY DANCER! COUNT THE HEADLIGHTS ON THE HIGHWAY......"
I, of course, joined in. "LAY ME DOWN IN SHEETS OF LINEN," I sang-screamed with sixty-thousand other concert goers.
Weeks later, I was filling out an intense scholarship application that required me to supply a personal essay, personal statement, and three descriptive paragraphs. One such question required me to describe how an artistic element plays to my senses. I, of course, turned immediately to Elton, using the concert experience as material.
The hard-drive on my computer slowly whirs to life as it reads the thin black disc. I bring my eyes back to the monitor and see that Windows Media Player has popped up and asked if I want to play the CD. “Yes,” I say aloud to myself, turning the volume up on my speakers. My computer stops whirring, I minimize the window, and I let out a deep breath, listening closely for the music. There is a moment of silence, and then, slowly, quietly, I hear the piano. It is soft, peaceful, a slow duple meter. After a few bars, an acoustic guitar plays a simple chord, and the music hangs, if only for a second…“It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside…” I am immediately transported back to a memory that is still so fresh that I can taste the excitement that my brother and I felt as we settled into our seats. “I can’t believe that in five minutes, we’re going to see Elton John!” I would squeak out. This elation of seeing such a piano god in person continued through the night, through his two-song encore, and even the next week. I still smile when I hear his melodic voice sing the chorus of “Your Song,” and am constantly swept up into his superb piano playing. When I visualize the sheet music, I can see notes and chords and rests and breaths and bar after bar of swimming, twirling, colorful music; something so beautiful that I absolutely, positively, have to close my eyes and sing along; drowning myself in what I believe is every girl’s wish: this song was written for me.