Rocketman cut short by storm

Elton John on stage at the Tower Festival Headland before the weather forced an end to the show and (below) a fan doing battle with the weather.

Elton John on stage at the Tower Festival Headland before the weather forced an end to the show and (below) a fan doing battle with the weather.

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OFFICIALS today said they were left with no choice but to pull the plug on Sir Elton’s John’s first gig in Blackpool in 30 years.

The pop superstar broke the hearts of 12,000 fans when he announced – two hours into his set on the Tower Festival Headland – he had to stop the concert.

An Elton John fan doing battle with the weather.

An Elton John fan doing battle with the weather.

An incoming storm battered the stage and, six songs from the planned end of the gig, organisers called a halt to proceedings – ironically just as Sir Elton was set to sing Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

The star told the crowd: “I’ve been told there is some really bad weather on the way, the police say you need to leave right now in an orderly fashion.

“I’m sorry but I don’t want anyone to be hurt.”

In a parting gift Sir Elton pledged “I’ll make it up to you” prompting hopes he will return to the resort.

A spokesman for gig promoters Marshall Arts said: “Elton was really enjoying the night – he said Blackpool had been the best audience of the tour.”

Officials today said there was no option but to stop the show.

A joint statement from Marketing Blackpool and Marshall Arts said: “The decision to halt the concert was not taken lightly, but paramount in everyone’s mind was the safety of all present.

“During the final few songs of the set, weather conditions rapidly deteriorated and wind speeds increased, giving cause for concern.

“Met Office forecasts predicted worsening conditions and, on the advice of experts on the ground, the decision was made the concert should be terminated for safety reasons at 8.55pm.”

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The production team at the area battled to reduce the effect of the heightening winds on the stage structure.

Video screens were lowered as was the back drop, but the efforts were in vain against wind speeds which rapidly approached gale force according to experts.

Police and fire chiefs backed the decision to call the sudden halt to proceedings in order to allow fans to safely exit the headlands before the full force of the changing weather hit.

Conditions continued to worsen through the night which meant stage crews were unable to dismantle the set after the concert and instead resume their work yesterday morning.

Today Marketing Blackpool paid tribute to both Sir Elton and the fans for keeping calm.

A spokeswoman said: “Elton was made aware of the situation and duly explained this to the crowd.

“He told them how wonderful they had been and how disappointed he was to be leaving such an enthusiastic audience, which in his opinion, was the best on the UK tour.

“He invited the crowd to exit the venue in a calm and orderly fashion and the understanding crowd acted accordingly.”

While many of the crowd – some who had paid up to £80 for a ticket – backed the decision stating the gig was “superb” and “a brilliant night”, others were left disappointed.

Some have taken to The Gazette’s website and social networks criticising the organisation and the siting of a concert venue so close to the sea.

Bars running out of beer and poorly positioned seating were among the complaints. Some people have even called for a refund.

See Tickets, who dealt with online sales of tickets, said they were in talks with the promoters and no decision had been made on any possible refund or part-refund.

As for the gig itself, many have praised Sir Elton for putting on a great show.

Hotelier Mick Grewcock from North Shore said: “I thought he sounded fantastic and having him here was a great way to open the Headland.

“I think Elton did the right thing, it’s a shame but you can’t predict the weather.

“It will actually be a great thing if he comes back like he said he would.”

Mother and daughter Jenny and Sarah Burgess from South Shore agreed.

Jenny said: “It was a real shame it had to be cut short but people couldn’t be put at risk.

“Elton did a great set and it was still a decent length even though he didn’t get to finish.

“I loved hearing the older songs. It would be wonderful if he was to come back.”

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