Elton John in the Pouring Rain

The Greek amphitheatre in Taormina, Sicily is a magnificent place to see a concert. The theater is perched on the top of a hill with views of the city and sea beyond.

We ate dinner early so we could be in line outside the theatre by 8PM for the 9:30 concert. We knew it wasn’t looking good when we heard the rain pounding on the roof at dinner, but tried to be optimistic and tell ourselves this can’t last. The concert is still two hours away. But as we walked to the theatre, just five minutes from the house, the stairs that led to the street where the theater is located had turned into a cascade of water, like a water feature in a park.

The line at the theater entrance was crowded with umbrellas layered on top of each other like scales on a fish.  We didn’t have to wait long before they let us enter the theatre. Still raining. Mirta was smart enough to find us a spot in the front row of the upper section, such that we had a good view of the stage with no one sitting directly in front of us, more importantly, with no umbrellas in front of us. Still raining.

Shorty after 9PM they made an announcement that everyone should take a seat because the concert was about to begin. And there he was Elton John, dressed in black with a bright blue shirt and the columns of the ruins behind him lit in successive colors, first green, then red, then blue, then white. The first part of the concert was just him on the piano going through the last four decades of songs. He really is quite the piano player, singer and showman.

Still raining. Mirta and I are huddled under one large umbrella, with water dripping down my back from other umbrellas behind me and on my pants and shoe from Helena’s umbrella next to me. In no time my pants are soaking wet as well as the cushion I am sitting on. Thankfully it isn’t so cold and I have on a wool sweater that stays warm even when wet, that is, until the wind starts to blow.  Mirta and I huddle closer. Still raining and Elton John is still playing. The puddle of water on the stage in front of his piano is getting larger and larger. Every so often a stage hand comes and wipes down the keys between songs.

The second half of the concert Elton John is joined by a percussionist in a black suit and sunglasses. And energetic performer who dances around the back half of the stage filled with various percussion instruments. As he strikes the large drums, the water sprays from the drum heads. The stage is covered but with so much wind and rain it is impossible to keep the set dry.

Some people start to leave, but the people near the stage are enthusiastic and Elton keeps playing. We start to sing, “hold me closer tiny dancer”. It starts to rain harder and more people start to leave. Elton picks up the beat and a couple in front of us starts to dance. They are in rain slickers and the woman is wearing white rubber boots. Still raining and Elton is still playing. More people start to dance, others leave.

By this time we are drenched but the music is good and we like the more upbeat tunes to move to and keep warm. Elton asks the audience if they want more and he gives them just one more song about five times. Still raining, the concert ends after two and half hours and we wade through the puddles back home laughing all the way.

For links to all the posts in this series see the Taormina, Sicily page.

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