Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is a live album by Elton John and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra recorded at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on 14 December 1986. The concert was the last of a series of concerts done throughout the last two months of 1986. The concerts consisted of two sets: the first was limited to John and his 14-piece band, including backing vocalists and the Onward International horn section, and his flamboyant stage dress, featuring Mohawk and Tina Turner wigs and some outlandish eye wear; the second featured John, the band and the 88-piece Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, with him dressed as Mozart. The album features most of the songs recorded in the second half of the show, excluding "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting", "Carla/Etude", "Cold as Christmas (In the Middle of the Year)" and "Slow Rivers". This was the last album to feature John's old vocal register (or at least what was left of it at the time) prior to his throat surgery which occurred on 5 January 1987.
John's band was essentially the lineup used on Leather Jackets, which he was touring behind at the time, including Jody Linscott and special guest Ray Cooper, both of whom played percussion.
James Newton-Howard, who was at the time an up-and-coming film composer in Hollywood, joined John to conduct and write larger, augmented charts of not only his own previous work on "Tonight," but also Paul Buckmaster's original arrangements, since the music was to be played by 88 musicians, instead of the smaller studio orchestra for which the compositions were originally designed. He also wrote brand new full orchestra parts for songs such as "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", which previously only had horn arrangements.
John's live sound engineer, Clive Franks, handled the recording of the band (assisted by Keith Walker and Dennis Fox), while album producer Gus Dudgeon supervised recording of the orchestra by Leon Minervini and Nic Jeremy. Dudgeon took the tapes back to Wisseloord Studios in the Netherlands for mixing with engineer Graham Dickson, who had also worked on Leather Jackets. In the US, it was certified Gold on 5 January 1988 and Platinum on 13 October 1995 by the RIAA.
A home video release commemorated the concert and was originally released on both laserdisc and VHS. The Laserdisc edition included much of the "Elton & His Band" portion of the show (except "Heartache All Over the World"), and reinserted "Saturday Night's Alright..." at the end of the symphony orchestra portion. A version of the Laserdisc program has surfaced on DVD. Of the "Elton & His Band" portion, "Daniel" and "Medley: Song For You, Blue Eyes, I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" were issued in 1988 as bonus tracks on the Rocket Maxi-Single for "A Word in Spanish" (UK/Europe only) as EJSCD 18, 872 299-2. The audio from "Carla/Etude" from the concert appeared on the To Be Continued... boxed set.