Goodbye green grassed road...

Sir Elton John during one of his live shows
Sir Elton John during one of his live shows
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If a man loves the labour of his trade, apart from any question of success or fame, the gods have called him.

Over the years, superstar Sir Elton John has lived up to that quote from Robert Louis Stevenson and turned his love and passion for his song-writing, instrument-playing talents into phenomenal global success.

With that success for the singer-songwriter-pianist has comes the accusation from some quarters of being a “diva.”

But from his promotions team, nothing could be further from the truth as far as Sir Elton’s behind-the-scenes personality is concerned.

This Saturday’s show at Leigh Sports Village (LSV) sees the first gig of the star’s Rocket Club seven-month world tour where he will only visit a handful of Britain’s venues including Nottingham, Colchester and Newcastle.

At his first-ever appearance in the borough, the chart-topper will be aiming to wow audiences on-stage with a rendition of his most famous classics. It promises to be a spectacular show by any standards.

But folk are also likely to be curious as to what Sir Elton is like off-stage, given the gossip and a certain fly-on-the-wall documentary. For instance will he be demanding any unusual features in his dressing room?

Last year during a four-show tour of Brazil, according to the South American country’s Pampulha newspaper, Sir Elton told gig organisers in Belo Horizonte to reserve an extra room for his glasses collection.

He is also said to have stipulated that the room be kept at a constant temperature of 16C and that his suite be adorned with flowers.

He is believed to have demanded four 2m high vases containing palm trees in his dressing room and seven other square vases, five containing 16 red roses and two with 16 white roses.

Not only does he have a soft spot for flowers, he is also known to love a 6ft sofa in his dressing room as well as a love seat.

Unusual demands perhaps, but his promotional team, insist he isn’t the diva people perceive him to be.

Ben Martin from Marshall Arts said: “He is very well behaved. People see tantrums and tiaras from stars and get the wrong perception.

“Elton John is as far away from that ideal as you can get.

“Considering he tours for 11 months of the year and only has August off he is very self-contained.

“He carries all of his necessities with him including the dressing room, sound, lighting, catering and much more.

“And he only requires cans of coke and sparkling water to get him through his set on stage.”

The superstar, who is rumoured to be travelling to the borough by helicopter, will be heading back to his own bed at his home, which is a four-hour car journey back to Berkshire.

Ben added: “Elton likes his own bed, which we all do, so it won’t be much trouble for him to travel back. He is really looking forward to coming to Leigh as it is one place he is never been before and as it is the first venue in the UK on the tour he can’t wait to start.

“The beauty of it is Elton loves to perform and take his show to the people.”

And the anticipation is also growing not only at Leigh Sports Village but throughout the whole borough.

Organisers have put in every effort to ensure the evening is a show-stopper.

More than 12,000 bottles of water have been ordered, 5,000 hot drinks and hot dogs, 24,000 bottles of lager and more than 14,000 bottles of cider and wine.

Caterers will also provide audiences with a wide range of other refreshments.

LSV chief executive of LSV Simon Toon admitted he is looking forward to seeing the hard work and preparation pay off.

He said: “There is such an exciting buzz around the stadium and within the town - everybody is talking about the event.

“What an incredible accolade for the borough and for Leigh to have such a global superstar perform the first of hopefully many concerts at the stadium.

“It has definitely set the benchmark especially as Leigh is only one of a few venues within the whole of the country he is performing at.

“The weather is also looking fantastic which is just another positive. I’m very excited to see such a class act.”