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November 03, 1987|RANDY LEWIS | Compiled by Terry Atkinson

"Elton John Live in Australia." J2 Communications. $29.95. Reaching deep into his repertoire during this 1986 performance with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Elton revives several infrequently played songs such as "The King Must Die," "I Need You to Turn To" and "60 Years On." But these expanded arrangements merely add sonic density, not new texture or insight, to the taut original versions. The usually kinetic Englishman remains rooted to his piano bench for most of the 97 minutes captured here (an expanded version of a cable special), so the cameras try to manufacture a sense of action through lots of needless quick cuts. John's '80s work is represented by just three songs, but even his dozen or more '70s hits here suffer from a business-as-usual treatment. The hi-fi stereo sound is terrific, but even with the wild wigs and outfits John displays, this is not a definitive live show from one of rock's most colorful performers. Information: (213) 474-5252. **

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