Elton John to Rock Arena

WHEELING – Last-minute tickets to see Elton John perform in Wheeling tonight may be hard to come by, as Denny Magruder said the show is a “virtual sellout.”

The executive director of the Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority, which is hosting the 8 p.m. concert at WesBanco Arena, said only limited seats remain available.

Arena staffers were preparing for the arrival of the hit songwriter at the venue by setting up the stage, welcoming the musician’s crew and bringing in furniture and other concert needs requested by Elton John’s team on Monday.

“On concert days they move in the morning, spend the day setting up, doing sound checks, rehearsals and then doors open for people to come to the show,” said Magruder. “It’s like magic after the show. A couple of hours later, they’re back in the truck and heading to the next city. … It’s so miraculous to see how the facility changes overnight.”

According to Magruder, the arena’s staff is prepared to accommodate the musician’s detailed stage set-up and his large entourage that includes an entire orchestra.

“Elton John is a little more detailed than some, so we’re putting up the stage right now, their caterers are moving in and their furniture is arriving,” Magruder said. “We take care of their needs – this becomes their home for a day. Some come early in the morning and we get to feed them, if they need dry cleaning or someone needs to go the mall. Life on the road is not easy all, and it’s not just one person. In reality, the entourage might be more than 30 people.”

According to Magruder, some of the singer’s crew members already were in Wheeling Monday, but Elton John had not yet arrived. He said that while the crew comes in on buses, the singer typically arrives on a private jet.

“The stature of an Elton John show, that’s huge,” Magruder said. “Elton’s one of the major artists. Let’s be honest, if you come to his concert practically every song he sings is a major hit. …

“There’s an air of excitement out there. If you go to the grocery store or the banks today, you’ll hear people talking about Elton doing his show,” Magruder said. “We love that the ‘Elton Johns’ choose to come and play in Wheeling. It’s nice to be able to say that our list of performers includes people like that. I think it’s big not only for the facility but for the entire community.”