An international mega-star like Elton John would surely have a long list of demands when on tour, wouldn’t he?
It’s just over a month until the “Rocket Man” singer visits Wollongong for his Once In A Lifetime Tour, though the only exorbitant request was flowers.
Entertainment promoter Michael Chugg is the man responsible for organising the concert at WIN Stadium (and other dates on the regional tour) and said Elton’s requests were not very “extravagant” except for the thousands they’ll need to spend on flora.
“They call [his dressing room] the ‘inner sanctum’ his crew and that; occasionally when he’s touring I get invited in,” Chugg said.
“The biggest expense is the flowers [to the cost of] thousands of dollars across the tour, with as many and as much as possible.”
Around 20,000 fans are set to pack out the stadium on September 24 to watch Elton, though don’t expect to find him to be surfing at City Beach the morning after.
A helicopter has been rented to fly the singer in a few hours prior to the Sunday gig then back to Sydney afterwards.
His piano will be another spectacle of the concert, something Chugg has likened to a “spaceship”.
Any ordinary grand piano being left in the open air of a balmy springtime evening would have serious tuning issues, but this is no normal piano.
“When Elton plays solo with those pianos it’s like an orchestra - plus he’s got two,” Chugg said.
Each instrument is fitted with an array of pedals and buttons, both being brought over to Australia as part of two touring sets to make each concert on the tour seamless.
Elton isn’t the only big name Chugg has dealt with.
The concert promoter’s career spans 50-plus years and includes working with Coldplay, Florence & the Machine, Bob Dylan, John Mayer, Pearl Jam and Sia to name a few.
Out of everyone he’s met Chugg said the worst behaved entertainers were John Cougar Mellencamp and Frank Sinatra.
Sinatra was incredibly “rude” to everyone – including his son – when on tour with Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis Junior in the 1980s, according to Chugg.
While Mellencamp was “a little jerk”. Apparently whilst on tour he insisted on going surfing so they took him to Cronulla.
When some of the entourage jumped in to save him from being swept onto rocks and being hurt, Mellencamp apparently yelled at them with expletives.
The nicest performers?
Robbie Williams and Billy Joel go down as two top blokes on tour, given Chugg’s seal of approval. Though he said the majority of entertainers were alright people.