A little over nine years ago, a movie about the making of Elton and Leon Russell‘s The Union album was premiered.
Also called The Union, the documentary was first seen at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival on April 20, 2011.
In fact, EJW was among those doing interviews on the Red Carpet. Below is our article as it appeared the day after the big event. , . .
Entertainment Weekly, VH1 and Eltonjohnworld.com were among the media outlets invited to cover last night’s Red Carpet at the opening of the Tribeca Film Festlval.
Elton wore a lovely, large butterfly ring while the Mighty Hannibal donned a straw hat. Bernie Taupin, Mayor Bloomberg, Lauren Hutton and Julian Schnabel were some of the others gracing the Red Carpet. So was Denis Leary, who joked about trading vocals with the Rocket Man, although he confessed to this Web site’s Chief Editor that he ”really can’t sing.”
Denis later helped kick off the evening, surprising many by introducing the Bangles, who performed Walk Like an Egyptian with a Staten Island choir from PS22.
Martin Scorsese came onstage and noted that he has a long history of mixing music and cinema. Although it was thought that the director of The Union (about the album with the same name) would be in attendance, he was working on another project and was unable to attend. But he sent greetings via video.
Cameron Crowe‘s documentary also contained a nice amount of vintage footage featuring Elton and Leon Russell. In addition, it offered a fascinating view of how some of the material came together, and how Leon continuously grew stronger after going through a life-threatening emergency (undergoing brain surgery but heading to the recording studio less than two weeks later).
In the flick, Elton said he wanted Leon to receive the accolades he deserved–hitting the Billboard Top Ten with The Union and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Both ended up happening.
The final shots in The Union offered clips of Hey Ahab, which Elton and Leon sang at Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre in October (and which also included a glimpse of this reviewer).
After the screening, the festival’s co-founder, Jane Rosenthal, introduced the headliner, admitting she had always wanted to say that he would be playing the event.
Elton mentioned that Leon could not be there because of a series of shows Down Under.
Happily, it did not rain, although the forecast had called for a strong chance of showers and thunderstorms. However, as it grew darker by the World Financial Center‘s North Cove, a number of people were shivering. Even Elton quipped that he might miss a few notes because his fingers were freezing.
This was not the case, as Elton performed an abbreviated, yet excellent, set of songs, particularly a beautiful and poignant version of Rocket Man. The other numbers were Tiny Dancer, Gone to Shiloh, Never Too Old (To Hold Somebody), I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues, and Your Song.
Elton’s appearance thrilled audience members, most of whom stood up during the entire concert. They were also very pleased when the vocalist declared that New York was his ”favourite place to play in the whole world.”