It was hard to believe this was the first and last time we would be seeing Sir Elton John. He was retiring from an epic touring career that had spanned 51 years and there would be no comebacks, no band reformations, no one last time, this was the end and farewell.
He assured us he wasn’t retiring from music, it was just from touring as he now had a family “who needed him and he needed them”.
The Rocketman had made his way around the nation with 37 shows since November 2019 on The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. Tonight the tour had stopped on the Sunshine Coast before heading onto Sydney for the final show of the Australian leg of the tour. This show was number 177 on the world tour which started back in September of 2018. When leaving Australia on Saturday, Elton John will be continuing to the USA, Canada, UK and then will say his final goodbyes in New Zealand in January 2021. What a powerhouse!
Sunshine Coast Stadium was bursting at the seams, with a jovial, sold-out crowd, all decked out in their fearlessly fabulous best Elton John get up. Bedazzled glasses, flashing headbands, feather boas and sequins, they had it all.
Elton appeared on stage looking dashing with a twist of fabulous, in his jewel-encrusted black suit and his trademark diamond-rimmed glasses. The unmistakable intro of ‘Benny and the Jets’ started and the crowd immediately stood to their feet in recognition with deafening claps and screams. Hit after hit followed and included ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues’ ‘Tiny Dancer’ ‘Philadephia Freedom’ ‘Rocketman’ and ‘Candle In The Wind’.
The gigantic stage set up had Elton John placed at the front on his Yamaha piano with his band behind him. They were backed by three huge LED screens which flashed through images of Elton John, close ups of his hands working their magic over the keys and a kaleidoscope of beautiful imagery that took us on a journey through time with the songs.
We were taken on trips down memory lane with his sharing of stories from throughout his career as he reflected fondly on his relationships with Bernie Taupin and Aretha Franklin.
Everything went black and a scene of a threatening and vicious storm dominated the screens indicating the second part of the performance was about to begin. Elton John appeared in another fabulous suit with trademark glasses and the piano was on the other side of the stage. The hits continued to rain down upon us and included ‘Daniel’ ‘Crocodile Rock’ ‘Sad Songs’ ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ ‘The Bitch Is Back’ and ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’.
After 51 years of touring, you would think that Elton John would be slowing down, but he is going out on a high and with a bang in true Elton style. He belted out his songs, had epic building instrumentals that whipped up the energy of the audience and played standing up with his forehead on the keys giving cheeky grins and nods of appreciation to the adoring crowd. We were blown away by this man at 72 and can only imagine how spectacular he would have been in his stool-kicking heyday.
A number of times throughout the performance Elton stood up and showed his appreciation to the crowd as he pointed saying “Thankyou to you, and you, and you, and you”. Fans of all ages old and new had united to send this iconic music legend off in their finest diamonte-rimmed glasses style and were not left disappointed.
Elton was humble and appreciative and shared that “music has been my companion between the ups and downs and has kept me sane” he said “ I have kept going on because of you, you have bought tickets and my records”, “ I won’t forget you, you are are in my heart my soul and my being. I love you so much and thank you for all the love and kindness, thankyou, thankyou, thankyou”.
Elton’s encore solo performance of ‘Your Song’ had people reaching for the tissues and very fittingly the final song of the evening was ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’. He waved goodbye with the knowledge he had given the Sunshine Coast the most spectacular farewell anyone could have asked for and left the stage.
It was goodbye, for now, Elton Hercules John, but you will live long in our memories.
Images (C) Simone Gorman-Clark