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Since April, “the greatest songwriter on the planet”—according to Elton John, anyway—has been traveling the globe in support of his sixth studio album, All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu (Decca/Universal Music Group). It’s a stripped–down affair, with nothing but a piano accompanying…

Your new album is so pared down—it’s essentially you and the piano. How does that change the touring experience?

It’s a double–edged sword. On one hand, it’s much more traumatizing and treacherous and technically difficult because you’re just really out there and exposed. But on the other hand, I get the full paycheck at the end of the night.