In 2008, on the debut episode of Spectacle!, a music and talk show hosted by the bespectacled and by now highly respected Elvis Costello, Elton John spoke highly of three of his primary piano-playing influences: Laura Nyro, David Ackles, and Leon Russell. At that time, only Leon Russell was still alive.
In 2005 Elton John celebrated the 30th anniversary of 1975's excellent autobiographical album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy with a concert performing (almost) the entire album in sequence at Madison Square Garden. (Elton opted to exclude "Tower of Babel" and "Writing" from the concert.) It accompanied the release of a Deluxe Edition double-CD set that featured a 1975 performance of the as-yet unreleased entire album given with a brand-new band before a Wembley Stadium crowd. Now to say that playing an album to an audience unfamiliar with the songs nor the band was a challenge would be an understatement, especially as the bill was filled with hitmakers like the Beach Boys, Chicago and the Eagles.
The original Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland /1971-1993
In January 2004 Elton John assembled his band at Tree Studios and Silent Sound in Atlanta Georgia to record his twenty-seventh album, By this point the Elton John Band had solidified, with longtime associates Davey Johnstone on guitars and vocals, and Nigel Olsson on drums and vocals, joined by Bob Birch on bass and vocals, John Mahon on percussion and vocals and Guy Babylon on keyboards. By this time, the latter 3 had worked extensively with Elton.
When it opened in 1955, Tomorrowland was one of the original four cardinal realms of Disneyland. (The others were Frontierland, Fantasyland and Adventureland.) Walt Disney's plan was for this land to represent "A vista into a world of wondrous ideas signifying mans achievements."
In May 1999 I saw a movie that would profoundly change my life. That movie was Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It came out at the perfect time in my life like the film's protagonist Anakin Skywalker, I was 9 years old.