Elton John, Beach Boys, Eagles Wembley Stadium June 1975

Elton John, Beach Boys, Eagles Wembley Stadium June 1975 eltontix75
Line-up (pretty great actually): Elton John, The Beqch Boys, Eagles, Joe Walsh, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Stackridge, DJ and compere Johnnie Walker. This was a big gig for Elton John. He had just changed his band, with only Davey Johnstone remained from the previous line-up, and was about to release a new album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. I went down to London with a couple of mates and we stayed at a friend’s flat in Acton. We spent a couple of days in the capital before the concert and went to see Ducks Deluxe at the Marquee club, which was pretty good fun, except one of our party took ill and we spent half the night in hospital. The Wembley concert had an amazing line-up with Stackridge opening the day, Mutter Slater on his usual top form. Next up were Rufus who featured Chaka Khan, and delivered some funky soul rhythms. The rest of the bill featured Joe Walsh (Rocky Mountain Way was a big crowd favourite) and then the Eagles who performed all their hits and were joined by Jackson Brown on piano for Take it Easy. But the day belonged to one band: the Beach Boys who transformed the London stadium into sunny California and had us singing along to endless hit after hit. They went down a storm and Elton had a lot to live up to. eltonprogwembley74 This was one day when Elton made the wrong call. He decided to devote the majority of the set to playing the new Captain Fantastic album in its entirety. Now remember the album had only just been released and most of the crowd won’t have known any of the track. This didn’t go down well with the crowd, who were up for a greatest hit set, particularly after the Fun Fun Fun of the Beach Boys. People started to leave the stadium in their droves, including us. We made our way back to Acton where a couple of the flatmates were having a domestic. We decided to avoid that and set off on our 250 mile drive home, getting back in the early hours of the next morning. Setlist: Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding; Rocket Man; Candle in the Wind; The Bitch Is Back; Dixie Lily; Philadelphia Freedom; Chameleon; Bennie and the Jets; Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds; I Saw Her Standing There; Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy; Tower of Babel; Bitter Fingers; Tell Me When the Whistle Blows; Someone Saved My Life Tonight; (Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket; Better Off Dead; Writing; We All Fall in Love Sometimes; Curtains; Pinball Wizard; Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting

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54 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Allan Orrick on June 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Also walked out of Elton’s performance after the storming Beach Boys performance. Bumped into Roy Wood (who had appeared on the Beach Boys 15 Big Ones and had Carl performing on Forever) on the way out.

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  2. Posted by Jim Barr on August 10, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I was there too and you are spot on!

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  3. Posted by E M S on August 16, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Yes, that about sums it up but what a day! I can now say (not sure to whom, though) that I was there. I’m having a bit of a Beach Boys and Eagles summer in the car too…

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  4. Posted by steve on August 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I was also there it was not as bad as all that yes perhaps Reggie got it wrong but in retrospect a great album and it needed to be heard. The year before was better who can forget The Band, Jonie Mitchell, CSN&Y with half the Beatles on stage with the towards the end. And blimey I was only 20

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  5. Posted by Andrewson on September 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    I went as a 13 year old. I think your summing up is perfect. On YouTube they have a recording of the gig and it has (which I remembr) Elton apologissing for the price of the record. I really like Captain Fantastic, but it wasn’t well known enough then. I remembr the crowd leaving and saying the BB had blown poor Elton of the stage…

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  6. I remember it well, and also left with the droves after about 20 minutes of Elton’s set. He just missed the plot completely, didn’t he?

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    • Posted by vintagerock on September 14, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Yep it was either a brave or crazy move at the time
      Probably a bit of both!
      I also think in hindsight we could have all shown Elton a little more respect and faith and stuck it out
      After all the album is pretty good. The problem was the material was just that bit too new Peter

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  7. Posted by Ian Hunter on October 16, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Was there also, Beach Boys blew the roof off. Sunny Southern California Saga in Wembley all afternoon. Beach Boys Touring Band were really kicking then after much critical pressure. 5 years to the exact day later they headined Knebworth which was almost as good. Stuck it out for Elton and glad I did because, in retrospect, the Brown Shirt Cowboy turned out to be his finest album.

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    • Yup you nailed it, the Beach Boys stole the show, we saw the whole show and after how hot the Beach Boys were that day, Elton just didnt shine as bright as he hoped. But I loved the whole dam concert, remember it like it was yesterday. remember Paul mcCartney and Linda were in the audience watching the concert with their boys.

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    • Posted by janeson on June 8, 2014 at 7:24 am

      Completely agree Ian, I definitely have a special place in my heart for the Brown Dirt Cowboy – and I was there on this occasion too. I thought Elton was brave to completely re-set the tone with his new material. Also agree with Bob about the sound of Someone Saved My Life Tonight echoing ’round the stadium – I can still feel that one in every cell in my body! I stayed til the end, and I was glad I did. My recollection is that Elton truly owned that stage, and whatever crowd was left – for about a solid half hour at the end of the night, as he delivered the hits everybody’d been waiting for. Loved Kenny Passarelli on bass for Elton that night too – thought the whole event was stellar – I remember it all with great fondness.

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  8. Posted by vintagerock on October 17, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Hi Ian Many thanks I agree that the Beach Boys stole the show that day. I wasn’t at the 1980 Knebworth gig, which I regret. I did see the Beach Boys at Lincoln Festival in 72, where they also played a great set and had everyone singing along.

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  9. Posted by Sean Mahony on November 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I was there on the day and what sunshine.I thought Joe Walsh was superb as were the Eagles.The Beach boys really blew me away. I think Elton finished a great set with the ultimate Saturday nights all right……Thank you Wembley for a wonderfull day and if my days are coming to a end it will always be one of my greatest memories.

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  10. Posted by Stan Hollings on November 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    The Beach Boys really brought the sunshine that day and they did blow Elton off the stage, but it was a brilliant day. One to remember.

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    • Posted by Keith on August 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      I was staying with some Aussie friends and I agree that Beach Boys were at their best and Elton couldn’t quite live up to their performance. I remember BB having 4 encores and they had to replay some of their earlier sets because they had run out of songs. What a day, definitely my best concert experience (at the age of 18).

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  11. Posted by steve forbes on December 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I was there and waited out Eltons new tracks and was treated to a raft of hits…. Fantastic, still a huge crowd left till the end. Didn’t Santana make an appearance ??? Or am I victim of some cruel time endused mixup…

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  12. Posted by Tim Hughes on May 29, 2014 at 11:03 am

    My memory is similar. Didn’t Joe Walsh ‘officially’ join the eagles that day. He climbed out of coffin as I recall

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  13. Posted by Bob Miller on May 29, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Sorry – I was there and the sound of Someone Saved My Life Tonight echoing round the stadium still sends shivers down my spine when I think about it now! Yes – Elton had to work hard to follow the Beach Boys, but IMHO he absolutely nailed it – the ones that left early missed the very best of the day. The Eagles were brilliant, as was Joe Walsh, and the Beach Boys were epic.- I’m still trying to forget Chaka Khan and Rufus! Thanks for the memories – even if we disagree on how good Elton was – and I still think you’re wrong!

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    • Posted by vintagerock on May 30, 2014 at 7:34 am

      Thanks Bob The crowd should have given Elton more of a chance. The issue for me wasn’t how he played, but the fact that much of the material was new and unfamiliar. Cheers Peter

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    • Posted by Keith on August 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      I hadn’t heard any of Elton’s new album and I still think the BB stole the show. But I agree the “Someone saved my life tonight” was the highlight of the day. It actually had a lasting impression on me and did in fact change my life. Long story, but I related to it so strongly that I emigrated to Australia very soon after and have never looked back!

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  14. Posted by Siobhain on June 1, 2014 at 10:53 am

    What a fantastic day! Elton,Beach Boys,Eagles etc. Sure I saw Edwin Starr perform “War’ that day,am I wrong?. Going to see Eagles next week Dublin O2. Can’t wait!

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    • Posted by vintagerock on June 1, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Hi thanks Siobhain I don’t think Edwin Starr was on the bill that day; think your memory may be playing tricks. Enjoy Eagles in Dublin! Cheers Peter

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  15. Posted by Jools on June 14, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I was there. I just remember a fantastic day, thought everyone was great, especially The Beach Boys , joe Walsh, The Eagles and Elton John!!!! But I was young and easy to please. I still have my ticket ,the programme and brilliant memories….

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  16. I agree with the comments above. I sat down while the Beach Boys were on thinking I would rather stand for Elton John. What a mistake! Still I was there, and for the CSNY, and Joni MItchell gig the year before!!

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  17. Posted by Tanju on June 30, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    İt was the first concert i went to and enjoyed it soooo much.Good old days

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  18. Posted by jim marshall on July 3, 2014 at 3:53 am

    seem to remember headlines,elton outsurfed,the beachboys were great and stole the show,agree that we should of given elton some slack with his new album but he triumphed with hit after hit after capt.fant,so glad i stayed

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  19. Capt Fantastic had been out for a month before – some of us knew all the lyrics and were irritating teenagers singing along to all this ‘new’ stuff.

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    • Posted by vintagerock on July 6, 2014 at 7:20 am

      Many thanks Robert I really should have listened to the album before I went to the concert Best wishes Peter

      Reply

  20. Posted by Gillian Chopin on August 14, 2014 at 12:03 am

    That was the best concert – we left before Elton started playing – in hindsight I wish I hadn’t!!! Can’t remember what we paid for our seats – we weren’t on the field – we had seats in the stands – the stage was to our left – we had a really fantastic view. I will always remember the crowd drowning out the Beach Boys in their exuberance. Fabulous memories.

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  21. Posted by fredric on August 17, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    thanks for memorializing the concert…i drove from italy for the show… and i can emphatically say you missed out by leaving early,,,, elton was “fantastic” !…i left completely fulfilled by his perforrmance

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  22. Posted by Tony Kenny on August 29, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Yeah most got that gig nailed. The Beach Boys were awesome,if I recall the first couple of numbers suffered from a bad mix but really came alive with Sail on Sailor. Jackson Browne and Joe Walsh live with the Eagles, then hearing later that the great Bernie Leadon had quit. History. What great summer day, locked in my and my wife’s memories, still together after all these years. 3.50 ticket, magic

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  23. Posted by andrew verrier on September 11, 2014 at 4:02 am

    I WAS THERE, HAD GREAT SEATS, 140,000 WENT OFF WHEN THE BEACH BOYS STARTED

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  24. Posted by John on September 25, 2014 at 3:01 am

    I was there too, traveled overnight by bus from the north. Sat on the field but also walked around a lot, including along the royal box where they collect the FA Cup. Stayed for the whole concert as I knew the Captain Fantastic album having bought it a few weeks earlier. Most vivid visual memory is the red Indian headdress worn by Chaka Khan. Most vivid musical memory is the sound of the Eagles on the huge speakers.

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    • Posted by vintagerock on September 25, 2014 at 6:09 am

      Great memories John many thanks Peter

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    • Posted by Tony Kenny on September 25, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Chaka’s head dress was some thing else but my enduring memory is the Beachboys set.
      The Eagles were musically super, but stagecraft rubbish. I told my wife “we may have stayed and listened on the HiFi.
      Memorable gig though.
      Tony

      Reply

      • Posted by vintagerock on September 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm

        Many thanks Tony Cheers Peter

      • Posted by fourhealth on September 25, 2014 at 8:33 pm

        Everyone raved about the Beach Boys’ set, which was good, but I think people got carried away because the weather was sunny and seemed made for the surfer sound. I could not get into it as much because Brian Wilson was absent that day, and he was the songwriter and voice of the band.

      • Posted by vintagerock on September 25, 2014 at 9:21 pm

        Happy Days Cheers Peter

  25. Posted by Jo on October 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I was reminiscing about this the other day and found your blog. Great to get some gaps filled in! I was 18 and went to the previous CSN one as well. Both were amazing days. Re fourhealth – Brian was there – they shuffled on to the stage to wave but he didn’t play

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  26. Posted by Mark Webb on October 19, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    yep, I was there, with my mates from Chichester, Brian and Peter Nash, very hot day and recall a lot of people left after Elton had done the Yellow Brick Road Album in full and when he started to play Captain Fantastic. The Beach Boys were very good,
    Cheers,
    Mark

    Reply

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