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13 Jan 2008

The Eltonite Day: Today... AnnaBCN

This Sunday, a Rocket Woman, travelling around the world to see her idol... from her town to the end of the world... ladies and gentlemen, the one and only: AnnaBCN. Welcome to the “Captain and the Kid” Week. Nice to “meet” you and thank you very much for the acceptation. You and I are Eltonites in a country that Elton is not one of the most popular singers. But we still standing with our fidelity. More than this, you have seen Elton in Spain and even, abroad. Like Elton, you’re “still spinning like a Catherine wheel” to see him where needed.

But first... Could you tell us, please, who are you and where are you from?

I’m from Girona, which is a town located a few kilometers North of Barcelona, Spain

Right. When did you became an Eltonite? Remember the first time you heard Elton's music and what moves you to buy his music?

Although I’d been recording some of Elton’s songs from the radio for quite a while, it wasn’t until 1995 that I finally bought my first Elton John album (Made in England). I like to believe that I’ve always been a fan but I didn’t find out until then, and what moved me to abandon my stand-by state and finally buy an Elton John album was a friend, who made me listen to the song “Cold” and pay attention to Elton’s vocals on it. Not long after that, the compilation Love Songs was released, and I still remember being at a record store and looking at the track listing… "Sacrifice" was the first track… I instantly knew I had to buy that album, "Sacrifice" was the one song that kind of got me into Elton, I still remember recording it from the radio on a cassette tape when I was 13 years old!
But the first song that I remember has got to be “Sad Songs”, I remember hearing it on the radio and trying to sing along, but I couldn’t understand a word, specially the “Turn’em on, Turn’em on”...I had no clue what he was saying! LOL No need to say I didn’t have a clue who the singer was either!
And then the first memory I have of seeing Elton on TV and realising I would like to see him in concert is from 1992, I still remember seeing a clip on the news from Elton’s concert in Barcelona a couple of days before the opening of the Olympic Games and thinking “oh, that’s the guy who sang Sacrifice, it would be cool to see him”!

Wonderful! What was it like seeing Elton for the first time and how many concerts have you been? Have you even been front row? And also, could you tell us if you ever have been in touch with him?

I’d been waiting to see Elton for 4 years. I remember I would scan every newspaper and magazine available with the hope to find some information about Elton’s tour stopping near me. In 1998 I spent 3 weeks in London during the summer, but I missed The Big Picture tour because Elton was touring the US at the time and didn’t come back to the UK until November. I finally saw the light in early 1999, when the first rumours about Elton playing Spain began to spread. I bought a ticket for the first of the two Spanish shows that was announced for that summer. I put the ticket in a drawer and everyday I would check to see if it was still there. My excitement turned into despair when 5 days before the show Elton had to cancel all the remaining shows for that summer. However, I was so lucky that, out of the two Spanish shows he was to play one summer, only one was rescheduled and it was the show I had a ticket for, which finally took place in Pontevedra, Spain on Sept 1, 1999. The show was of course special to me because it was the first one, but everything was perfect, it was as if the stars aligned that night and everything was on my side. It was a general admission show with several rows of seats reserved to the VIPs in the front area, but mother Nature was good to us fans and sent us some rain that was enough to chase away the VIPs, so I ended up with a front row seat I’d never ever dreamt of… all I wanted was to be in the same building as Elton and I ended up right in front of him. I’ll never forget how it felt to see him and to actually realise that he was real, that it was not a video but Elton himself. It was magic!
Before that day I knew I loved Elton’s music and I had all his albums, but I always thought having seen him live once would be enough to calm me down and spend the rest of my life listening to his CDs in my living room… I was wrong of course… as soon as that first concert was over I knew I’d have to see him again… and I’ve seen him 48 more times since that night.
I’ve been in the front row a few times, and I’ve shaken hands with him twice at concerts after he accepted some flowers from me. The last time was in Barcelona in 2003, the 5 seconds that I spent standing in front of Elton with 20.000 people observing behind me felt like hours, I was so nervous and I didn’t know what to say to him.

Wow!!! yes, I remember that. I was there... well, which of those concerts remains unforgettable for you? For what reason? And how should be your dreamed concert?

The first concerts that popped to mind when I read the word unforgettable was the Captain Fantastic anniversary shows in NY in 2005, once again everything seemed to be on my side. I booked the trip and the tickets thinking I would be making one dream come true by just attending a regular show from the Peachtree Rd tour at Elton’s favourite venue MSG, but it turned up into a 3.5h-long special show. Elton’s birthday show of course was special, then the sound of Elton with the band and the orchestra and choir at the Royal Opera House was simply over this world and just for the fun of it, dancing on stage at the Red Piano was also great, and of course I have to mention finally getting to see Elton in Barcelona in 2003!!

Nice! Which is your Elton's item that you really appreciate, for being hard to get or for the happiness you've got to have it?

Oh, it’s really hard to choose one, there are a few things that I’m quite attached to, one of my most priced treasures is a personalised photo that I received from Elton, and also the first autograph I got from him at a concert on my “I’m still standing” piano shaped picture disc, at a concert in Nîmes , France in 2003. And last but not least, a black Versace jacket that I bought at the “Out of the Closet” sale in London in 2002, because it’s something that belonged to Elton.

Fantastic! With “Rocket Man”Elton had his first success in Spain. Then it was “Nikita”and then “Sacrifice”. But, apart for the “Candle in the wind 1997”thing, Elton hasn’t had the success I think he deserves, in sales terms. Why do you think is that so?

That’s something I sometimes wonder myself, it’s hard to believe that people my age are unable to name 3 songs written by Elton John. The paradox in all this is that, at the same time, when I tell people I’m an Elton John fan, they accuse me of having a lack of originality and liking music that’s too commercial. I think it’s disgraceful that the big music stores in Barcelona only carry 4 or 5 Elton John albums and even worse, I was accused of being an ignorant when I went to look for “The Captain and The Kid” on its release day with 3 more die-hard fans and the seller kept telling us that it was just a reissue of an album that was 30 years old and that it would probably arrive some time next week! I was offended. There was a single record store in downtown Barcelona that was selling the album on its release day. Oh, how I miss Virgin Records!!
As for the reason why he doesn’t sell over here, it’s difficult to name the causes, but I have a theory. We can’t forget that when Elton became a star in 1970 Spain was under the influence of a dictatorship and people had other worries. There was a terrible censorship and things were coming in slowly, which probably explains why Elton wasn’t heard of until 1972 with Rocket Man. The political situation didn’t begin to change until late 1975, and by the time the storm was over it was already 1977 and Elton’s golden era was gone. Of course the situation was the same when The Beatles and The Stones happened, during the 60’s things were hard but a whole generation had probably learned to live with it and they were trying to find a way to reveal and escape the day to day problems, and even local bands played the Beatles’ hits. However, when Elton became a star people were beginning to see the light and the dictator was old, meaning that the 20-year-olds, who would’ve been the ones to like Elton, had other worries and dreams beyond rock music. Of course that’s just a theory, and it could also be a matter of musical taste, but I think bad timing also played its part.

It’s true, yes... it's a strong theory, of course. Well, you know that is the week of “Captain and the kid” so, what is your opinion about the sequel from “Captain Fantastic”? It should have been published before? And that should be his last original album?

I think this album was a great idea and Bernie was back in top form with this set of lyrics, which at the same time must have helped Elton at the time he wrote the melodies because they were about himself. You can listen to “And the house fell down” and imagine Elton in his low times and you can hear the emotion in his voice when he sings “Blues Never Fade Away”. It could have been done before, of course, but I think doing it well into the 2000’s, after almost 40 years at the top was a good point to look back and review their careers.
It doesn’t mean that it has to be the last album, simply because I don’t think Elton will ever officially announce his retirement, I think he’ll be involved in music as long as he lives. In addition the album was released only a few months before Elton’s 60th birthday and 40 years after Elton and Bernie first met, which was quite significant and a good point to celebrate their career.

Hope so! Finally, could you tell me your five favourite Elton's songs in running order, for my AllSongsList?

Five only?! …hmmm…that’s a difficult one…
*Someone Saved my Life Tonight
*We all Fall in Love Sometimes
*Tiny Dancer
*The One

Thank you. Would you want to add some observation or suggestion, or something you want to say to other eltonites?

Keep rocking and let’s show the world Elton is The Best!!!! Elton deserves all the love and loyalty and I’m so proud to be an Elton fan and to have made a lot of great friends among fans.

Oh, and finally, who had the idea of the cocodrile marionettes and how you had been preparing it? I was there, in that concert, in Barcelona and everybody laughed when the screen showed these marionettes along the “Crocodile Rock” la la las...

The crocodiles were actually Stephan’s (Stephan Heimbecher, the webmaster here at Hercules) idea. He brought them from Germany for all the visitors of that were attending one of Elton’s concerts at the Wembley Arena in December 2002. So there were quite a lot of crocodiles helping Elton sing the la-la-las that night!

Thank you Anna, I envy your travels around the world to see Elton, that’s fidelity. Really a pleasure to chat with you. And I really like your website. Take care. A Greatest Discovery!!!

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