Elton John Bolts From Lisbon Gig

ByABC News
September 15, 2000, 5:44 AM

Sept. 15 -- Elton John left a VIP audience in Lisbon in the lurch, walking out of the $200-per-seat gig just before the concert was to begin, organizers said.

The Madman Across the Water was reportedly angry that the Estoril Casino audience which included prominent government officials, bank heads and top newspaper editors was taking too much time moving from the dining room into the arena. He also reportedly feared that he would be playing to too many people in empty-seat suits.

Casino staff said John, 53, told them he needed to get some air and wanted to take a drive just before the concerts 11 p.m. start.

But he never came back.

He Never Said Goodbye

Elton said he was going to get some air, but then he jumped into his car and went to the airport to catch his private jet, Casino spokesman Nuno Lim De Carvalho was quoted as saying in the New York Post. He never said goodbye or anything to anyone.

Promoters told the New York tabloid that the show had been sold out for weeks. Diners, they added, were simply waiting until the last minute to take their seats inside the arena.

A spokesman for the flamboyant singer had no comment.

Sir Elton, known for musical hits such as Your Song, Rocket Man and Crocodile Rock, was supposed to play to a crowd of 1,250 at the Casino, located just outside the city.

Casino manager Mario Assis Ferreira told Portuguese radio he was planning to sue the singer, who has sold more than 200 million records worldwide.

It was a tantrum, but this kind of behavior has consequences, threatened De Carvalho.

ABCNEWS.coms Ed Mazza, Wall of Sound and Reuters contributed to this report.