Elton John proclaimed to a 15,000-strong audience in Mackay that this bitch was back, and could take on terrorists in a bedazzled blue suit and patent red shoes.
The British superstar kicked off his regional tour of Australia in the north Queensland city on Friday night, and launched straight into the music, ignoring the hot-button issues many expected him to address.
He opened with his 1974 hit, The Bitch Is Back, marking his 187th concert in Australia.
From there, it was a virtuosic two-hour display. Bennie and the Jets, his 1974-ode to glam rock, followed in quick succession by another ’70s classic, Daniel.
Clearly enjoying every second, Elton sat at his grand piano, flanked by a full band of regulars including his longtime drummer Nigel Olsson and a guitarist he’s worked with since 1971, Davey Johnstone.
Elton generously played all his hits from Tiny Dancer, Your Song, I’m Still Standing to Crocodile Rock, performing the kind of piano solos that would make a Conservatorium student squirm with delight.
Each song was delivered unwaveringly, the strength in his voice belying his 71 years, and Elton enjoyed a warm reception from an adoring crowd.
There was meaning behind his music, often without any explanation.
But he also explicitly paid tribute to his duet- partner and friend George Michael, projecting his face to his onstage screen while he sang Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.
His one social comment came in relation to recent global terrorist attacks in Manchester, London, Nice and even Sydney.
“We live in strange times, people being mown down by cars, people being blown up,” John said.
“It seems to be part and parcel of our daily life and I hate it so much and I want to sing this song in remembrance of everyone who’s had to suffer at the hands of brainless idiots over the last few years at the hands of brainless nightmare idiots.
The veteran then launched into a poignant version of his 2001 song I Want Love.
Elton avoided the looming same-sex marriage vote, having already called for a yes result on his Facebook page.
He also reclaimed his 1972-hit Rocket Man, performing it with no mention of recent barbs exchanged between the US President Donald Trump and his own newly-christened rocket man, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un.
His parting gift was a performance of the original version of his 1973 song Candle In The Wind, a fitting encore after more than two hours of hits.
“This won’t be my last time in Australia,” he said.
* Elton John’s tour continues in Wollongong, the Yarra Valley, Hobart and finishes in Cairns.