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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Elton John-The Million Dollar Piano (Blu-ray) (2013)

Elton John-The Million Dollar Piano (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 27-Jun-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of-Making The Million Dollar Piano
Music Video-Concert Music Video - 4 tracks filmed in Kiev, Ukraine
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 154:50
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Chris Gero
Rocket Music Enterta
Shock Entertainment
Starring Elton John
Davey Johnstone
Bob Birch
Kim Gullard
John Mahon
Nigel Olsson
Ray Cooper
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Elton John

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (4608Kb/s)
English Linear PCM 48/24 2.0 (2304Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"The B**** Is Back".

     When Reginald Kenneth Dwight first considered a serious career in music in his late teens he was already a musical "veteran", having studied music, and the piano in particular, since aged seven. With the support of the maternal side of the family Reginald built on his interest in music, and his parents' divorce when he was fourteen gave him the opportunity to become more serious about his future. Fortunately his new stepfather was also supportive of his musical ambitions – something that was sorely lacking from his rather more dour father. From age fifteen Reggie was a regular at a nearby pub, playing piano three nights a week for pay and tips. After forming a band named Bluesology with friends, Reg gained performance experience thorough backing American soul and blues artists such as Patti LaBelle and Long John Baldry. 1967 proved to be a pivotal year for Reg, as that was when he first met Bernie Taupin, and also when he changed his name to Elton Hercules John (named after friend Elton Dean and performer John Baldry). John and Taupin found that they had a symbiosis for writing lyrics and music that led to contributing original songs for other artists, and also for Elton to record himself. With his first solo album Empty Sky a moderate success, Elton built on his discography with some solid hits until his 7th album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in 1973 shot him into super-stardom. Elton John had always been a showman, but this album propelled him into a public persona that took the currently popular glam music scene and elevated it to a new level. The rest, as they say, is history....and Elton John forty years later and now with a knighthood is still going strong. This Blu-ray under review was recorded February 2012 at Caesars Palace Colosseum in Las Vegas during his long standing residency.

     The "million dollar piano" in question is a pretty incredible piece of kit, made especially for Elton by Yamaha. Despite being named Blossom (after jazz pianist Blossom Dearie), this piano is no shrinking violet, having a self-contained light show under it's polished "timbers". Elton is no less polished, even if his voice is a lot rougher after fifty years on the road. His backup singers do a good job of hitting the notes that are now out of Elton's reach, and his band is totally professional. The piano may be a marvel, but also worthy of note are the excellent visual effects and use of video screens. It would have been a real treat to see it all in person. With a back-catalogue as extensive as it is, you could always quibble about songs included and songs left out. Personal favourites of mine such as Daniel and Somebody Saved My Life Tonight do not feature, however sop like Blue Eyes, and somewhat obscure efforts such as Levon and Indian Sunset get an airing. I was also interested to see that Crocodile Rock was included as my understanding was that Elton and Bernie were never really keen on the song despite it being commercial success.

     Elton's band include long-standing members in guitarist Davey Johnstone and drummer Nigel Olssen, with Bob Birch (bass guitar), Kim Bullard (keyboards), and John Mahon (percussions).

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Track Listing

1. The B**** Is Back
2. Bennie And The Jets
3. Rocket Man
4. Levon
5. Tiny Dancer
6. Your Song
7. Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters
8. Better Off Dead
9. Indian Sunset
10. Blue Eyes
11. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
12. I Guess That's Why They Call It The
13. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
14. Philadelphia Freedom
15. I'm Still Standing
16. Crocodile Rock
17. Saturday Night's Alright
18. Circle Of Life
19. Song For Guy

Transfer Quality


     Video is presented in the original aspect of 1.78:1 with 1080i high definition resolution using MPEG-4 AVC codec. The first thing you notice is how fabulous it all looks with a predominantly red and gold colour palette. Although rich and deep it is not over saturated with nice contrast and solid blacks. The texture is fine with close-ups in particular extremely detailed. The set design itself is really all Vegas - but in a good way. It is the "Colosseum" after all. There are usual issues with concert recordings - namely light glare and colour banding but really it's all pretty good. There is also a bit of a haze at times but I'm not sure of its origins and it is in keeping with a typical live concert. Being 1080i I was looking for de-interlacing artefacts but really they were hard to find without using the pause/play function and looking for them.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio options are 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio at around 5100 Kb/s and the default stereo LPCM track at 2304 Kb/s. Both tracks are skilfully recorded and mastered with no issues to report. As you'd expect the surround mix mostly caters for crowd ambient noise, so it's purely personal preference if you'd select that over the stereo mix. Elton's voice is never obscured by the musicians, and the left-right imaging between piano and other instruments is faithful to what's on the screen.

     Note that the subtitles available (English, German, Spanish, French, and Italian) are only selectable for the featurette.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



     Animated menu with audio.

Concert Music Videos (20:36)

     Filmed in Kiev, Ukraine, 30th June 2012. HD video (1080i) and 2.0 LPCM at 2304 Kb/s: Candle In The Wind; Sacrifice; Sad Songs; Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

Featurette: Making The Million Dollar Piano (23:04)

     HD video (1080i) and 2.0 LPCM at 2304 Kb/s: Quite interesting history on creation of the piano and how all its tricks were conceived and manufactured. Overall though, nothing more than a promo for the Vegas show and Yamaha in particular. Features comments from John, Yamaha exec Chris Gero, Keith Bradley (tour director), and piano designer Akie Hinokio, amongst others. Trivia note - the piano actually costs more like $1.4m, but rounding it off to one million sounds far catchier.


     Glossy eight page booklet with photos, credits and a write-up by Laura Croker.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Region A seems to be identical apart from language options.


     The Million Dollar Piano is Sir Elton John at his flamboyant best. The voice range is very much diminished, but the talent and quality of presentation is first rate. There are better concerts by Elton available that were filmed in his prime, but if you can't make it to Vegas then this presentation is a worthy substitute.

     The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    Extras are good.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Mike B (read my bio)
Monday, August 11, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge Audio 751bd, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
Amplificationdenon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp
SpeakersB&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub

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