Elton John had pretty simple instructions for Bernie Taupin when he told the lyricist to begin writing songs for his upcoming album, Wonderful Crazy Night. “I just said that I even wanted the slow songs to be optimistic,” John recently told Rolling Stone. “I wanted to make a happy record. ‘Joyous’ was the word I chose. Not happy, joyous. I said I want it to feel joyous from beginning to end, and even the slow songs should be joyous.”
In October, fans got their first taste of the album (out February 5th) when John dropped the lead single, “Looking Up,” and now he unveils a live rendition of the song taped that same month. John’s longtime live band (featuring guitarist Davey Johnstone, bassist Matt Bissonette, keyboardist Kim Bullard, percussionist John Mahon and drummer Nigel Olsson) joins him here alongside percussionist Ray Cooper.
The song hasn’t entered the set list of Sir Elton’s live show at this point, though he did play it at the Royal Albert Hall last month as part of the Royal Variety Performance 2015. He plans to sprinkle in the new material when the tour hits Paris in February. “We’ll see how many album tracks we can squeeze into our set,” John told RS. “It’s difficult when you have a catalog and an audience expects to hear every song they know, but with these songs, I think they’ll become staple Elton John songs.”