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Elton John at Harley like engine oil in water
Milwaukee JSOnline ^ | 9/3/03 | Jim Stingl

Posted on 09/03/2003 8:30:26 AM PDT by nowings

By now I'm assuming that Harley-Davidson has figured out whom to fire for putting Elton John in front of 150,000 of its best customers as the 100th anniversary party's grand finale.

So I called the company to check.

"No, of course not," said Harley spokeswoman Amy Alarupi. "No one is going to lose their job over this."

How about a forced transfer from the Juneau Ave. office to the Juneau, Alaska, outpost?

There's nothing wrong with Elton John that being The Rolling Stones instead wouldn't fix. Anyone who says he was a good choice for these leathery bikers is still stuck in last week's mind-set that it's unpatriotic to say anything unflattering about Harley-Davidson or its party.

Harley threw a fantastic bash. It was fun, it was peaceful, it came off with surprisingly few mishaps and serious crashes, and it showcased and enriched Milwaukee. Plus, the biker babes were primo.

But final impressions count, and Elton John belting out his pop hits for a Harley crowd Sunday night was like mixing engine oil and water. Witnesses said people were streaming out of Veterans Park with each new song.

Can you imagine a beer-fueled Harley rider trying to dance to "Don't Go Breaking My Heart?" Didn't think so.

You like to see fans holding up cigarette lighters during a concert, but not with the idea of burning down the stage.

Elton John is close to the right age to headline for Harley riders, and the right weight, too. Being gay does not make him a bad match for the crowd, although the idiot concert-goers using words like faggot to express their disappointment would probably disagree with that.

But his music is all wrong for the audience. He's a diva in pants who speaks not at all to the rugged, rebellious, road-hardened rockers who ride Harley motorcycles, and those who pretend on weekends to be those things. He's Metallica at German Fest, Carole King at Metalfest, and a tie score at the All-Star Game.

The problem, as you already know, was the tremendous citywide guessing game leading up to the concert. Harley threw us into a frenzy by saying the performers would remain a mystery until they took the stage. We spent weeks speculating about every major act - dead and alive - who might show up.

Harley is lauded for its marketing genius and for knowing its customers and how much they like the Steppenwolfs, ZZ Tops and George Thorogoods of the world.

Yet it gave them Tim McGraw, a country singer crooning sweet love songs, and Kid Rock, who nobody heard of until he hooked up with Pamela Anderson. The average Harley rider has saddle bags older than this guy.

And, finally, Elton John as the headliner. I was at a family reunion that night and we were groaning at the television when he came on, and feeling fortunate that we didn't have to fight traffic and wait hours to buy beer and hot dogs to see this mismatch in person.

Bo Black must make it look easier than it really is to put the right bands in front of the right crowd. Harley may want to snap her up if Summerfest sends her packing as expected.

I wanted to ask Elton John's New York publicist, Fran Curtis, how the star thought the show in Milwaukee had gone. She didn't call me back Tuesday.

If you're Harley and you're throwing the party of the century, you'd think someone would have raised his hand at a staff meeting and said, "Excuse me - Elton John?!"

Because you can tell everybody this is your song, but that doesn't make it true.

From the Sept. 3, 2003 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Archive

Elton John at Harley like engine oil in water (9/2/03)


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: 100th; eltonjohn; harley; milwaukee
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1 posted on 09/03/2003 8:30:28 AM PDT by nowings
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To: nowings
You can't make this stuff up!
2 posted on 09/03/2003 8:32:10 AM PDT by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: nowings
I would have thought Bob Seger would be the perfect choice.
3 posted on 09/03/2003 8:32:54 AM PDT by cryptical
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To: nowings
If someone isn't fired then someone else isn't doing their job.
4 posted on 09/03/2003 8:33:55 AM PDT by Bikers4Bush
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To: cryptical
Bruuuuce playing "Born to Run", or Steppinwolf playing "Born to be Wild"
5 posted on 09/03/2003 8:36:16 AM PDT by laker_dad
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To: nowings
This has all the earmarkings of some cubicle bond gnome making this decision, but if I had to guess, one of the execs wives is a big Elton John fan and none of the underlings had the ball$ to tell him that having Elton play at this gig was stupid. For claiming to know their clients very well, this was right up there as one of the dumbest decisions they could ever make....and no one will be fired, because the person who made the decision is probably one of the really high up execs.....
6 posted on 09/03/2003 8:36:24 AM PDT by irish guard
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To: cryptical
Him, the Stones, Aerosmith, Kiss hell anybody OTHER THAN Elton John.

What one earth were they thinking putting a cross dressing gay brit onstage for the "big surprise" is beyond me.

"Surprise! We're idiots!"
7 posted on 09/03/2003 8:36:55 AM PDT by Bikers4Bush
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To: nowings
Maybe the "Dykes on Bikes" group requested him.
8 posted on 09/03/2003 8:37:43 AM PDT by putupon (If you want to see something here you like, post it yourself)
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To: laker_dad
Oops! Make that Steppenwolf...


Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racin' with the wind
And the feelin' that I'm under
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die

Born to be wild
Born to be wild
9 posted on 09/03/2003 8:38:23 AM PDT by laker_dad
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To: nowings; mhking
Hold me closer, Tony Danza...

}:-)4
10 posted on 09/03/2003 8:38:40 AM PDT by Moose4 (It's rusting, it's paid for and it's bigger than your car. Don't get in my truck's way.)
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To: nowings
Yep, the coulda and shoulda done better.
11 posted on 09/03/2003 8:38:56 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: nowings
Elton John was a perfect choice because- ummmm.... because... err.... ummmmmm..... How 'bout them Patriots dropping Lawyer Milloy, huh?
12 posted on 09/03/2003 8:39:27 AM PDT by theDentist (Liberals can sugarcoat sh** all they want. I'm not biting.)
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To: Bikers4Bush
Aerosmith would've been perfect.
13 posted on 09/03/2003 8:39:37 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: nowings
They may as well have featured Nathan Lane in drag as "Evita".....
14 posted on 09/03/2003 8:39:48 AM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine ("Hee Haw" was only supposed to be a TV show, not a political movement)
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To: irish guard
you're absolutely right. Elton is an out-of-the-closet homo, and Harley riders are in-the-closet homos. Justin Timberlake would have been a much better choice.
15 posted on 09/03/2003 8:40:03 AM PDT by babble-on (what about Leather Tuscadero?)
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To: nowings
I think Kid Rock was a good choice for an opening act. He's got a rebel image, a really hot filthy dirty girlfriend, and he's very pro-USA, unlike most of the rock and roll crowd. He's not a headliner, but he's OK for the Harley dudes younger than forty.

Elton John must have been selected because the Village People broke up.

16 posted on 09/03/2003 8:41:15 AM PDT by dead (Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!)
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To: nowings; Bikers4Bush
He's a diva in pants who speaks not at all to the rugged, rebellious, road-hardened rockers who ride Harley motorcycles, and those who pretend on weekends to be those things.

Nobody will be fired, perhaps, because Harley actually may have done a GOOD JOB in matching the marketing tastes of their customer base!!

I'd be curious to find how many "road-hard" anythings actually had the resources to finance a trip (especially after forking over for a Harley-brand-name) to such a concert. I suspect a large faction are the wannabe 'pretenders' that could afford the trip. And I'll bet they liked Elton just fine. And I'll bet Harley Marketing gets internal accolades for keeping on top of the changing customer base.

The real "road-hards" probably can't afford a Harley, and ride beat up rice burners to the local quickimart to buy Milwaukee's Beast to drink at home.

HA! (Donning asbestos suit.)

17 posted on 09/03/2003 8:44:40 AM PDT by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: nowings
This is a Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard, Rolling Stones kinda crowd.
Lucky they didn't riot.

So9

18 posted on 09/03/2003 8:46:17 AM PDT by Servant of the Nine (A Goldwater Republican)
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To: Servant of the Nine
This would be like Justin Timberlake opening for Metallica.
19 posted on 09/03/2003 8:47:44 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Servant of the Nine
Merle & Aerosmith, then.
20 posted on 09/03/2003 8:47:52 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: nowings
Any reaction from Hell's Angels?
21 posted on 09/03/2003 8:51:39 AM PDT by Dante3
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To: nowings
Motorhead would have been perfect!
22 posted on 09/03/2003 8:53:25 AM PDT by TheSpottedOwl (This cow is independently owned and operated)
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To: sam_paine
I was in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on Sunday and the place was crawling with Harleys. At a rest stop I ran into a couple who rode up from Dallas (on their bikes, unlike many who trailered them). I'm told there were bikes/riders flown in from all over the world for the event. Some said half a million people were in Milwaukee over the weekend.
23 posted on 09/03/2003 9:00:02 AM PDT by sarasota
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To: All
Not sure if this is a recent thing or not but from the contact us portion of the website "Sorry but we are unable to receive e-mail at this time."

24 posted on 09/03/2003 9:01:06 AM PDT by Bikers4Bush
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To: sam_paine
The real "road-hards" probably can't afford a Harley, and ride beat up rice burners to the local quickimart to buy Milwaukee's Beast to drink at home.

Ewwwww, Milwaukee's Beast! I would personally drink iced tea before I'd drink anything with "Milwaukee" on the label. My favorite cheap beer is Natty Ice :-D

25 posted on 09/03/2003 9:02:22 AM PDT by TheSpottedOwl (This cow is independently owned and operated)
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To: Moose4
ROTFLOL! Classic..
26 posted on 09/03/2003 9:04:04 AM PDT by prarie earth
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To: sam_paine; babble-on
Jealousy is an ugly thing.

Your envy is showing.
27 posted on 09/03/2003 9:04:17 AM PDT by Bikers4Bush
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To: babble-on; Bikers4Bush; martin_fierro
"Elton is an out-of-the-closet homo, and Harley riders are in-the-closet homos."
28 posted on 09/03/2003 9:06:55 AM PDT by Vigilantcitizen (Herman Cain for Senator.)
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To: Servant of the Nine
Umm, perhaps fear of riots is why they did not have a G n R / Metallica / George Thorogood type of band...;)
29 posted on 09/03/2003 9:09:57 AM PDT by bt_dooftlook
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To: Bikers4Bush
Not sure if this is a recent thing or not but from the contact us portion of the website "Sorry but we are unable to receive e-mail at this time."

Perhaps this is why...

Elton John is close to the right age to headline for Harley riders, and the right weight, too. Being gay does not make him a bad match for the crowd, although the idiot concert-goers using words like faggot to express their disappointment would probably disagree with that.

Ooopsey!

30 posted on 09/03/2003 9:10:47 AM PDT by TheSpottedOwl (This cow is independently owned and operated)
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To: babble-on
Harley riders are in-the-closet homos

My guess is you do not have the balls to say that to a Harley rider. But, if you ever grow a pair and actually express your feelings to a biker, I hope you enjoy soft foods.

31 posted on 09/03/2003 9:16:37 AM PDT by 11Bush
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To: nowings
You guys (and the author) are still living in the '70s. Bikers were rebels in those days. The "Easy Rider" culture was in full swing. Hell's Angels terrorised the land. Unfortunately, those 20-something hellraisers are now 50-something, middle-aged capitalists with bulging portfolios and stomachs. Just like Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper and Elton.

Today, Harley riders today are a diverse group of people and include a lot of yuppies who are weekend bikers. They are a symbol of the establishment, not rebellion. Elton was the perfect choice.

Who the hell cares about bands like Steppenwulf that are stuck in a time warp, now parodies of their former selves assuming that they're even living. Rebels without a clue.

Harley is no longer synonymous with "heavy metal" and the Harley people don't want it to be. Elton's music is timeless, spans 4 decades and was a good choice.

32 posted on 09/03/2003 9:19:55 AM PDT by marshmallow
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To: nowings
WIth all the money Harley has, I expected them to bring Elvis in for the show.

Would have been a better choice than a bloody bi-sexual Diana-worshipping redcoat.
33 posted on 09/03/2003 9:24:55 AM PDT by ninenot (Democrats make mistakes. RINOs don't correct them.--Chesterton (adapted by Ninenot))
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To: marshmallow
Harley ISN'T selling this "time warp"? paleeeze.
34 posted on 09/03/2003 9:27:40 AM PDT by shuvlhed
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To: irish guard
Yeah, Bluestien has always been a dip.
35 posted on 09/03/2003 9:27:49 AM PDT by ninenot (Democrats make mistakes. RINOs don't correct them.--Chesterton (adapted by Ninenot))
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To: shuvlhed
Hey shuvlhed, getta load of #15.
36 posted on 09/03/2003 9:29:25 AM PDT by Vigilantcitizen (Herman Cain for Senator.)
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To: ninenot
Well, when this kind of decision is made, you can bet Willy G. had nothing to do with it.
37 posted on 09/03/2003 9:30:43 AM PDT by irish guard
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To: 11Bush
Leather Pants? Check!
Large Groups of Guys with one or two female hangers on? Check!
Sexuality sublimated into tough poses? Check!
Fondness for anonymous dehumanized group sex? Check!
Reliance on Nazi memorabilia as totems? Check!

OK, am I describing the Hell's Angels or the Castro District circa 1980?
38 posted on 09/03/2003 9:32:02 AM PDT by babble-on (Suggested Movie Rental: Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising)
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To: marshmallow
Your post is a joke. I know of a group of bikers who would beat the shit out of you for even saying Elton John. You are mistaken if you think the HARLEY crowd has turned into a bunch of poofter boys. In fact, the Harley crowd and the American South will never give in to the liberal Spew World Order Types.
39 posted on 09/03/2003 9:32:09 AM PDT by ohioman
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To: nowings
Well, that is sad...
40 posted on 09/03/2003 9:35:36 AM PDT by Porterville (I spell stuff wrong sometimes, get over it, you are not that great.)
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To: nowings
Only one band would have worked for this show

AC/DC...there is no substitute...this is their crowd.

41 posted on 09/03/2003 9:38:48 AM PDT by My Favorite Headache (Which one will lose? Depends on what I choose or maybe which voice...I ignore.)
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To: nowings
Elton John?? Who opened for him -- KD Lang?

The cynic in me believes this is part of the ongoing conspiracy to integrate, infiltrate, and indoctrinate every part of Americana with a "gay-friendly" components...

Hadn't we also just noted 'Gay Day' being held a couple of weeks ago at Veterans Stadium during a Philadelphia Phillies game? And what of the Episcopal Church's "new" gay hierarchy?

Next stop: Richard Simmons as the keynote speaker for the next NAR convention.

42 posted on 09/03/2003 9:39:23 AM PDT by F16Fighter
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To: Bikers4Bush
Jealousy is an ugly thing. Your envy is showing.

Come on. I donned the firesuit! You MUST do better than that!

43 posted on 09/03/2003 9:39:30 AM PDT by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: marshmallow
You couldn't be farther from the truth if you tried.
44 posted on 09/03/2003 9:40:29 AM PDT by Bikers4Bush
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To: 11Bush
My guess is you do not have the balls to say that to a Harley rider. But, if you ever grow a pair and actually express your feelings to a biker, I hope you enjoy soft foods. <----

There'a a very thin line between bravery and stupidity in the relative safety of cyber space eh?

45 posted on 09/03/2003 9:41:07 AM PDT by Delbert (Loving Ewe)
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To: F16Fighter
Huh? NAR?? That I can believe. That should be NRA.
46 posted on 09/03/2003 9:41:08 AM PDT by F16Fighter
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To: My Favorite Headache
I heard the Doobie Brothers opened the show. Seems about right to me...big Doobs fan.
47 posted on 09/03/2003 9:44:21 AM PDT by Nightbird
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To: sam_paine
To do better would probably get me banned.

At the least a suspension.

I have friends who went, to say that the mood was ugly in certain areas when the princess started playing would be putting it mildly.

The walkout started immediately.

48 posted on 09/03/2003 9:46:11 AM PDT by Bikers4Bush
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To: marshmallow
bzzzzzt! wrong answer. I hardly think the Harley Riders appreciated a flamer like Elton at their party. I used to really like his music, the older stuff, but now he is a national spokesman for Butt Pirates R' Us, not cool....
49 posted on 09/03/2003 9:46:15 AM PDT by Delbert (Loving Ewe)
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To: babble-on
Is that because they didn’t ask you to prospect?
50 posted on 09/03/2003 9:46:43 AM PDT by shuvlhed
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