Rocket man could be docking here soon

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 05:00 14/06/2014
Elton John

HIGH HOPES: Rumours are surfacing that Elton John may return to Wellington.

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The Rocket Man could be touching down soon.

It is understood negotiations are under way to have superstar Elton John return to Westpac Stadium for the first time since 2006, when he wooed a crowd of more than 32,000.

If a gig were confirmed, Westpac Stadium's clogged sporting calendar in 2015 - including Cricket World Cup and Fifa Under-20 World Cup fixtures - indicates it would have to be scheduled for later in the year.

Wellington promoter Phil Sprey has brought John to New Zealand four times. He would not comment on whether he was trying to set up a concert in Wellington next year.

Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon said he was unable to give specifics on talks held with promoters.

"However, we do meet with Phil [Sprey] regularly and we're keen to work with a local promoter who supports Wellington."

The one-off 2006 Wellington concert by the piano-pumping singer from Pinner, northwest London, injected about $9 million into the local economy.

John's first album, Empty Sky was released in 1969. In the 45 years since, he has sold more than 300 million albums.

At the height of his popularity, in the mid-1970s, it was reported that sales of Elton John albums accounted for 5 per cent of all album sales globally.

The 67-year-old is still churning them out, the latest being last year's critically acclaimed The Diving Board.

Most music fans will not need reminding that John has recorded a string of perennially popular songs, including Daniel, Candle in the Wind, Bennie and the Jets, Crocodile Rock and Rocket Man.

John first performed in Wellington in 1980 at Athletic Park. He also played one-off concerts in 1982 and 1984 at the same venue.

His first gig in New Zealand was at Auckland's Western Springs in 1971. It is considered by some as the country's first international outdoor rock concert.

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- The Dominion Post

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