It’s sad to say, but the great (and knighted) Elton John is on his last ever concert tour. The pop rock powerhouse got his start with his first album, Empty Sky, in 1969, and he’s ending it with a world tour that is equal parts amazing and pangingly sad. The artist isn’t even gone yet and it feels like he’s left us too soon. But for now, fans across the country and the world have one last shot at seeing the star perform live. Ticket prices may be sky high, but it’s well worth it for those who can manage to grab one.
TD Garden hosted the Boston stop on Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, and it was packed. Fans poured in during the hour leading up to the 8 p.m. show as classic rock hits played over the loudspeakers. As the start time crept closer and closer, the anticipation in the room rose to nearly-tangible levels. What song would he start with? There are so many iconic tracks to choose from, but how would Elton kick off this night? As it turns out, perfectly.
Forceful piano chords beat out the first few notes of “Bennie and the Jets” and fans went wild. The lyrics of the song rang true for this track and for the rest of the show. “You’re gonna hear electric music / Solid walls of sound.” The music was electric, and the Garden shook with peals of electric guitar, percussive slams on the drums, and, of course, inspired key work by Elton himself.
The star spent the entirety of the concert seated at his black piano, with the exception of the two small breaks he took to change from a pink suit into a white one, and from a white suit to a red (with a long green robe to cover). But fans on the other side of stadium needn’t have worried, Elton’s piano was placed on a large moving piece of the stage, allowing the star to glide back and forth, and round and round.
Elton followed up with bigger and bigger hits— just when it seemed like he had played every song the audience could have wanted, he would pull another one out of his sleeve. For his fifth song, Elton chose “Tiny Dancer.” As fans stood up and cheered, Elton slipped into the innocuous piano notes that begin the song. And as he warmed up to the music, he seemed to be enjoying himself almost as much as the fans were.
While it’s probably obvious that Elton can’t hit the high notes he once did— especially evident during his rendition of “Rocket Man”—none of the songs were any worse for wear. Elton altered the cadence or pitch of the songs, changing them from the studio versions played on the radio or available to stream. This concert was an opportunity for fans to hear their favorite Elton John songs for the first time—as sung by the artist in an entirely new way.
The highlight of the show was, by far, the last seven songs. Elton spent some time talking to the audience and introducing the members of his extremely talented band. After, he leaped into the hot streak with an emotional and resonant “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” He followed it up with two defiant (but tonally different) anthems, “The Bitch is Back,” and “I’m Still Standing.” The crowd surged to their feet with the synth-tones of “Crocodile Rock,” and Elton seemed to smile with the knowledge that many people had come to see him with this song in mind. “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” featured an on-stage video compilation of famous movie fights including punches thrown by Indy in Raiders and the Thug Tug brawl from The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
Elton retired off stage for a brief wardrobe change before returning for the final two songs: “Your Song” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” While both songs were incredible to watch and to listen, it was clear that this was the end of the concert. With a smile and a wave, Elton departed the stage as an animation showing him walking down the yellow brick road played on screen.
Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour – Boston Setlist
- “Bennie and the Jets”
- “All the Girls Love Alice”
- “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”
- “Border Song”
- “Tiny Dancer”
- “Philadelphia Freedom”
- “Indian Sunset”
- “Rocket Man”
- “Take Me to the Pilot”
- “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”
- “Candle in the Wind”
- “Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding”
- “Burn Down the Mission”
- “Sad Songs (Say So Much)”
- “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
- “The Bitch is Back”
- “I’m Still Standing”
- “Crocodile Rock”
- “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”
- “Your Song”
- “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
Featured Image by Wikimedia Commons