LOOKING BACK: When Elton John came to Boston’s Gliderdrome

Elton John at the Glider
Elton John at the Glider

In the period up to the 50th anniversary in November of the Starlight Rooms opening at the Gliderdrome Dave Peatling looks at another of the top names who has appeared at the venue...

There are few of the stars from the late Sixties and early Seventies still performing but one of today’s ‘mega stars’ appeared at the Starlight Room only months before the venue closed in 1973.

Elton John is now a world star but at that time he was just one of many top names which came to the Gliderdrome – and all for the price of £1.50! Today, it seems incredible that you could see someone like him for that price but it was all relative to wages at that time.

Songwriter Bernie Taupin lived in Lincolnshire and it’s often been said that Elton’s Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) referred to the Gliderdrome.

This song was, allegedly, about Bernie’s teen years going to British dance halls, where fights were common. Many of his songs are written to relate to Elton’s life, but you can’t imagine Elton fighting!

The Standard reported at the time that Boston was the start of his latest British concert tour and he and his three backing musicians gave a show where the music was ‘flawless.’ As the atmosphere built up the band broke into the opening bars of Crocodile Rock and ‘the place finally erupted.’

Afterwards Elton said: “This time I took a personal interest in where we were going instead of leaving it to agents and I insisted on appearing at Boston, as the Gliderdrome is the best venue in the east.” And he also revealed it wasn’t his first visit. He had originally appeared with a backing group six or seven years previously and remembered the van broke down in the snow!