Ray Cooper Dazzles in Elton John’s Million Dollar Piano Show

Elton John may be playing on a million-dollar piano at the Colosseum tonight, but the sound of his percussionist, the legendary Ray Cooper, will be just as priceless.

The pair have been performing together since the late 1970s, when Cooper quickly became a hit with Elton John fans as they made their way around the world performing such hits as “Bennie and the Jets.” Renowned for his superlative seven-minute drum solos, Cooper is also famous for using an impressive array of unusual percussion instruments, including a timpani and a gong. 

Which means serious Elton John fans were thrilled to learn the two Brits would be together again in Las Vegas, this time at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Elton John’s Million Dollar Piano Show, an epic 90-minute concert production featuring all the singer’s greatest hits — played upon the show’s namesake piano, a one-of-a-kind Yamaha piano made exclusively for Elton. The spectacular highly modified grand piano is covered in more than 68 LED video screens, which come to life throughout the show with animation, video, and stunning visual imagery. (Elton John’s Million Dollar Piano Show previously ran at the Colosseum in 2011 and 2012, for a select few dates. So if you missed it then, now’s the time to nab your tickets!).

After all, Cooper keeps busy;  last year he appeared on as many as seven albums as a session percussionist, including INXS’s new album and The Kinks at the BBC. Over the years, he has also toured with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Billy Joel.

Meanwhile, Elton John continues to be one of the best-known musicians in the world, with over 250 million albums sold worldwide and almost every possible award under his belt. The five-time Grammy ® and Grammy Legend award winner has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and has also received both Academy and Tony Awards for his contributions to The Lion King film and musical and Aida.

Throughout much of the Million Dollar Piano Show, Elton John will play with the rest of his band: Davey Johnstone on guitar, Matt Bissonette on bass, John Mahon on percussion, Nigel Olsson on drums and Kim Bullard on keyboards. But if past performances are any indication, you can expect Cooper to accompany Elton using a whole orchestra’s worth of instruments on the powerful ballad “Better Off Dead,” as well as “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” and “Indian Sunset.”

Other Elton John songs on the setlist for The Million Dollar Piano Show are his rock n’ roll hits “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” and “Crocodile Rock,” as well as the unforgettable ballads “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.” 

So no matter which era of Elton John’s four-decade-long musical career  moves you the most, we know his Million Dollar Piano Show will be worth every penny (and you won’t even need a million of them!).

Las Vegas, NV - 04/23/13


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