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24 seven: Arts - Rocket man flies in by helicopter.

Byline: with Joe Riley

SIR Elton John plans to arrive for his Summer Pops gig at King's Dock on July 9 in high style.

The Rocket Man looks certain to trump his first visit to the Pops in 2000, by turning up in a helicopter.

Last time, half a million people gazed riverwards prior to Elton's three-hour one man-one piano marathon in the King's Dock big top. The QE2 was sailing out of the Mersey.

But this time there will be no such distractions. All eyes will be on the skies as the spectacle-loving singer touches down at adjoining Queen's Dock for the connecting quarter-mile limousine ride to the 4,500-seater Pops tent.

But you can't just land a `copter at will. Liverpool's health and safety office has to sanction the drop-in, while air traffic controllers at nearby Liverpool airport need to know that's not an unidentified flying popstar on the horizon.

Meanwhile, the insurance companies are insisting on a two-engined helicopter for safety reasons. Elton John (below) is presumably an ultra-expensive liability.

Whirly-bird commuting is becoming increasingly popular celebrities, who can no longer risk motorway queues or laterunning planes and trains.

Sir Elton is basing himself at his London home for a number of UK summer gigs, and a personal helicopter service is the best way of ensuring both home comforts and a prompt working start-time.

But I can reveal the promoters insist it's their job to deliver the show, not pay for the transport.

``If Elton wanted to come to the Pops by bus, then he could,'' said Southport-based Pops producer Chas Cole.

.ANOTHER of our musical knights, Sir Paul McCartney, may just make it to the Summer Pops - as a member of the audience.

The by then newly married ex-Beatle has been invited to attend one of the gigs as a guest.

No prizes for guessing that it's for the Liverpool Philharmonic's first ever fullscale Beatles music bash on July 10, when the orchestra will be joined by top Fab Four cover outfit, The Backbeat Beatles.

Some chance, I hear you say.

But there are reasons why Macca may yet surprise us all by occupying a dockside seat.

The conductor on the night is his personal friend John Wilson.

Plus, I happen to know that Macca is intrigued by the success of the Pops, and delighted that his mate Elvis Costello is playing this year on July 22.

Meanwhile, the Pops publicity machine is cranking up the superlatives: ``The Beatles night will be like seeing the real thing backed by a 70-piece orchestra. Now how fantastic will that be?''

Very - especially if 25% of the absolutely real thing is sitting in Row A.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 31, 2002
Words:446
Previous Article:24 seven: Movies - Video.
Next Article:24 seven: Arts - Micky takes the wheel on stage; Comedy festival sees top rank play revived.


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