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Showcasing an album in concert
Showcasing an album in concert

When Elton John stopped in Los Angeles this month on his latest concert tour, he came in with one of the biggest storehouses of hits in pop music history. But instead of diving headlong into his catalog, he and his old friend Leon Russell devoted the centerpiece of their time together at the Hollywood Palladium to a complete performance of their new duet album, "The Union." The performance ran counter to several bits of conventional wisdom about pop music today: Veteran artists must rely in concert on their hits to satisfy fans, the album format is dead or dying in the era of the downloadable individual track, and the ability and willingness of the pop audience to focus...