Saying goodbye to one of the world’s greatest singer/songwriters was never going to be an easy thing to do. As someone who has previously seen Elton John perform four times, I was a little unsure as to what to expect from his performance. To be totally honest I was a little apprehensive as to how I wished to remember the legacy of this iconic musician, that has lasted over 50 years now, and I wanted it to both a positive one and memorable one.
My apprehension came from a place of respect and admiration, as no one can deny the talent this man has. However it was laid to rest after the opening song ‘Bennie and the Jets’ and I knew I was in for a great evening. Prior shows I have seen have been good but lacked the energy and engagement that I witnessed (alongside 13,000 others) at Sirromet Winery in Mt Cotton.
The ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour’ was a perfect way for Elton to show the world that this ‘Bitch is back’ and will be ending his career on his own terms. A career that has seen him ride the rollercoaster that can be simply summarised by the term ‘Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll’. The low times in Elton’s life were a conversation he was all too happy discuss with the crowd: “You got an idea of the state I was in (via his biopic ‘Rocketman’) and I did not want to ask for help, as I figured I could solve it myself. I knew I had a problem and I kept making the same mistakes over and over again. In the end I had two options: To carry on doing what I was doing and end up dead or get humble and ask for help. I choose the latter one and I got it.”
Throughout his two and half hour, 25 song set, the crowd was entertained with classics such as ‘Rocketman’, ‘Crocodile Rock’, ‘I’m Still Standing’, ‘Tiny Dancer’ and so many more. Rarely does one go to a concert and see someone dancing or singing to EVERY song for the ENTIRE evening. The crowd was a mixture of elderly, middle aged and even a few families with smaller kids. Many in the audience were wearing replica’s of Elton’s famous glasses, which lit up the sold-out crowd. It was an interactive crowd with those not dancing sticking out more so than who were.
The old antics of Elton John’s famous costumes and jumping on pianos were not part of this show however throughout the evening the large LCD screens took us on a historical journey. The visual stimulus we had throughout the evening reminded us of how special this farewell tour is and how extensive Elton John’s career has been. In almost an intentional display (or affirmation that Elton is in a good place right now) was his constant interaction with the crowd. He smiled, laughed, engaged with the audience and many times spent time offering the crowd pearls of wisdom, which can only come with age and the road he has travelled. There were moments of reflection as Elton discussed his AIDs charity work and how as a society our views have changed on this and the LGBTQ+ community throughout his career. In what can almost be interpreted as an acknowledgment of his past demons he told the crowd “The thing I have learnt, as I got older, was the incredible healing power of love and compassion. We live in a kind of f@#ked up world at the moment……… I truly believe love is the cure for what ails a sick world.”
With this last bit of advice, he thanked the crowd for the many years of support and said he now needs to spend time with his children and partner. The appreciative crowd once again rose to their feet to return Elton’s appreciation and acknowledgment of their support of his career. The applause did not stop and the crowd were treated to a two-song encore ‘Your Song’ and ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, which was a perfect way to end a perfect evening.
Sir Elton John we thank you for your years of blessing us with your musical talents and thank you for allowing us to experience this last tour. You journey has been an interesting one to follow. There have been highs and lows but know you can exit the stage now ‘Still Standing’.
Header Image Credit: Sonia Bettinelli