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Elton John an ‘economic boon’ for Newcastle

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Sir Elton John’s music, as well as his presence, is expected to lift spirits – and the region’s financial coffers – when he makes his McDonald Jones Stadium debut next month.

The legendary performer, best known for timeless classics such as Bennie and the Jets, I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues, Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time), Candle in the Wind, Sad Songs (Say So Much), Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, I’m Still Standing, Crocodile Rock, Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, Cold Heart, Your Song, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, will take to the stage for two shows on Sunday 8 and Tuesday 10 January.

In fact, the former steel city is the first stop on his Australian and New Zealand swansong, the Farewell Yellow Brick Road: The Final Tour.

City of Newcastle councillor Carol Duncan ahead of Elton John’s maiden performance at McDonald Jones Stadium. Photo: Rod Thompson

And, with Elton John mania starting to amp up around town, City of Newcastle (CN) councillor Carol Duncan believes the global superstar’s appearance is timely, especially for the business sector.

“There are so many ways in which this will benefit everyone… it’s fantastic,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“It’s a $10 million economic development driver.

“We’re hearing more than 30,000 visitors are coming from outside the Newcastle LGA, let alone locals attending the show.

“I understand a few hundred – internationally – are arriving, too.

“It’s very pleasing that we can finally bring artists of this calibre into the heart of Newcastle.

“We love our vineyards, but we love our city as well.

“We’re increasingly becoming recognised as a location that is more than capable of hosting fabulous world-class major events.”

Cr Duncan admitted McDonald Jones Stadium was also the “perfect venue”.

“It’s an amazing space,” she said.

“It’ll be interesting to see how, now that the permissions have been gained by Venues NSW and council, it will continue to grow and develop.

“We staged the Australian Supercross Championship here a few weeks ago.

“It was fabulous, people loved it.

“To me, it’s just a no-brainer that we use this venue for as much as we possibly can.”

John’s upcoming gigs will mark the first concerts at McDonald Jones Stadium since Midnight Oil, The Angels and Crowded House rocked the Hunter for Newcastle Earthquake Relief 32 years ago.

Westfield Shopping Centre is showcasing an Elton-inspired piano, too, painted by local artist Mitch Revs, while hotels and the arrival terminal at Newcastle Airport will boast a strong Elton flavour to welcome the thousands of visitors coming to town for the event.

At McDonald Jones Stadium, Revs will paint a permanent mural to mark the significance of the occasion, and the venue’s rich sporting history, among other initiatives across the city.

Australian music pioneer Michael Chugg AM said music fans were set for an unforgettable time.

“Elton is in magnificent form… and he is going to absolutely blow audiences away when he lands in Newcastle,” the Chugg Entertainment executive chairman stated.

“Young, old and everything in between – if you love music, do yourself a favour and get to a show because it’s now or never baby.

“And, these memories last forever.”

Venues NSW group general manager – event acquisition and partnerships Stephen Saunders added it was an historic occasion for Newcastle’s premier venue.

“After 32 long years, the stage is well and truly set for music icon Elton John to take over Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium in January,” he said.

“There really is no one quite like Elton John in world music.

“And, to have him perform not one but two shows in Newcastle will be a special occasion for all involved.

“We can’t wait to welcome Elton John to Newcastle and continue to secure further major events to the region.”

Event-goers are encouraged to keep an eye out on the Elton Bus, now in operation around the city, and take advantage of the free stadium shuttle services – from 3pm on 8 and 10 January, running from Glendale, Wallsend, Mayfield, Charlestown, Belmont and the CBD – included with their ticket to both shows.

Parking will be limited on event days with the McDonald Jones Stadium car park unavailable.

However, an additional park and ride service will be available from Newcastle Showground.

For tickets, please visit https://oznz.eltonjohn.com/ 

TOURING HISTORY

  • Elton John performs seven Australian and three New Zealand concerts on his final tour in January
  • He has played 238 concerts in Australia and 25 in New Zealand since he first visited AU-NZ in 1971
  • Elton’s performances at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Sunday 8 and Tuesday 10 January will be his first ever concerts in Newcastle
  • They will be Elton’s 239th and 240th shows in Australia
  • Elton will go on stage at 7pm sharp at his Newcastle shows

AU-NZ PRODUCTION

  • 24 semi-trailers’ worth of production
  • 20 semi-trailers’ worth of staging
  • Stage is 66m wide x 25m high x 24m deep
  • 700 square meters of LED screen
  • Sound system is a state of the art, Clair Global CO12 PA system
  • Total of 192 speaker boxes
  • 70 x production crew and 2 teams of 30 x staging crew
  • Plus 120 x stagehands, 8 x forklift drivers, 12 x riggers hired locally for set-up and pull-down in each city
  • 9 x 40 ft shipping containers of gear were sea freighted to Australia after the final US show at Dodger Stadium on 20 November

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