Earlier this year, Elton John and his piano-playing idol, Leon Russell, released an album together, aptly titled The Union. It's a gruff but gorgeous collaboration that sounds better than anything either living legend has recorded in at least a decade. The album received a five-star review in Rolling Stone, in which David Fricke wrote, "Each goes back to what he first did best. Then they do it together."
John and Russell celebrated their Union by performing the album in its entirety on the night of its release at New York City's Beacon Theatre. The evening began with Russell performing six of his classics, beginning with his biggest hit, "Tight Rope." Then, about 26 minutes in, the duo ran through The Union, hitting a high note with the rowdy "Hey Ahab." John capped the evening with an hour of his signature hits, which begin around the 1 hour, 33 minute mark after a rousing ovation from the Beacon audience.
Joining John and Russell this evening were Jay Bellerose (drums), Russ Paul (pedal steel guitar), Marc Ribot (guitar), Jackson Smith (guitar), Keefus Ciancia (keyboards), Mike Compton (mandolin) and Dennis Crouch (bass).
Special thanks to Fuse.tv and The Beacon Theatre for the recording of this performance.
-----NPR Listen to the show in it's entirety here