Thursday 19th January (1995) | APLA Show

The Elton John Band was the “house band” for the APLA (Aids Project Los Angeles) review in January 1995. The APLA is largely funded by private contributions and fund raising events, and provides medical and counselling facilities for sufferers of the disease in the LA area. This is a photo of the loan kit that I used for the show (I brought my own rack system over and hung the drums and cymbals from it).

This was the first gig that John Jorgenson played with us, complete with broken shoulder (a result of a skiing accident). He managed this with the help of a specially cut-away guitar and a shoulder brace (See below!)

Rehearsals involved learning over 3 hours of material with over 25 guest artistes, ranging from Julie Andrews to George Michael, with performances from Elton John, Ru Paul, Sheryl Crow, Don Henley, Tammy Wynette, Clint Black etc… This also featured a set of songs from the Rocky Horror Show, performed by Sarah Bernhardt and a troupe of dancers. The entire event was suitably camp!

Bob Birch in a rare moment of inactivity during the APLA rehearsals

Ray Cooper behind his gear during rehearsals

Press Coverage

Los Angeles Times | Robert Hilburn

Lifting Their Voices in Faith, Hope and Charity

Standing at the podium in a flashy silver lame suit, John injected some levity into the proceedings by declaring that he was the evening’s “official gay recipient.”

John then turned to the piano to sing “Believe,” a new ballad about the power of love, and the rousing “I’m Still Standing,” which served as a salute to everyone in the AIDS campaign. The number was a fitting end to a classy evening of music in which the tone ranged from warm to witty, from celebratory to tender.

The musical sequences of the three-hour-plus event were produced by Taupin and featured a large supporting cast of singers, dancers and John’s touring band…

Entertainment Weekly | Vicki Jo Radovsky

Even A-List musicians can leave their ego behind

This year’s three-hour spectacular — honoring Elton John, Tom Hanks, and Creative Artists Agency president Ron Meyer — established its blend of gender-bending insouciance and rock & roll drive with opening act RuPaul, who sashayed onto the Universal Amphitheatre stage in slit-up-to-there red spangles for a campy version of Aerosmith’s ”Dude (Looks Like a Lady).”…

The only other standing ovation went to Elton John, for his duet with George Michael on ”Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Ostensibly Reynolds-wrapped in blinding silver from head to toe, John soloed on ”Believe,” a ballad from his upcoming new album, then launched into ”I’m Still Standing” with revival-meeting fervor, joined by the entire cast. It was a fitting finale to a night spent celebrating life, love, and lame.