The word “legendary” gets thrown around a lot in recent social media and fan culture but it’s a rare genuine moment when the status actually holds a deep sentimental meaning. In Elton John’s case, the legendary status is more than worthy.
With a defining career spanning 50+ years, the iconic musician has had more Numbers 1 albums and singles than you can carefully count, has played to millions of people globally and has continually grown and evolved as an artist throughout it all.
In the midst of a demanding career that has seen it all and has recently inspired the blockbuster smash hit film ‘Rocketman’, he’s finally ready to say goodbye to the glitz and glamour of the stage and focus on his personal and family life.
It’s not often that you get to say goodbye to your heroes without having to mourn their personal life, and the ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour’ is the perfect moment to pay your respects and have one final sing and dance along with him in the most lavish and perfect celebration of his iconic career.
Within the 2 hours and 45 minute duration that Elton John graced the stage, he had me feeling a rush of emotions while smiling, laughing, singing, dancing, cheering and crying my way through the beautifully perfect set.
Showcasing his raw talent and the art of adaption at the sold out Brisbane Entertainment Centre show for the first of his Queensland dates, the legendary musician didn’t hold back on giving one highly memorable show. From the opening bars of ‘Bennie And The Jets’, he immediately had the crowd in an standing ovation of excitement before euphorically dancing along to the rest of the song.
“Good evening Brisbane! We are really excited to be here. Thank you for buying a ticket to the show and we hope you like what you see and what you hear” he exclaimed to the sold out crowd that packed into the arena.
Explaining that they had no percussionist for tonight’s performance due to a last minute hospital visit, he still managed to keep the instrumentation feeling more than lively without one of the main elements present.
Cautiously selecting a setlist that not only saw the chart toppers like “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues’, ‘Tiny Dancer’ and ‘Rocket Man’ selected, but also saw him diving into a setlist of fan favourites like ‘All the Girls Love Alice’, ‘Border Song’, ‘Indian Sunset’ and ‘Take Me To The Pilot’, early into the show.
Nothing about Elton John’s career has ever been described as “simple” and this farewell show certainly wasn’t going to be any different. From the intricate detailing of the ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ inspired staging to the three costume changes, the dramatic interludes, the floating piano to the updated new visuals on the giant LED screen that included beautiful scenery, reflective montages, voguing sequences and some Rupaul’s Drag Race alumni cameos. Everything felt very well thought out and importantly on purpose.
He wanted this show to be one final celebration of his career and it definitely lived up to that vision. He took a few moments during the show to chat to the crowd and share his wisdom and candid memories, but also took the time to genuinely thank them for their love and gratitude throughout his career.
With ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word’, ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’, ‘Candle In The Wind’, ‘Daniel’, ‘Funeral For A Friend’ and ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ sprinkled throughout the middle of the set, he consistently stood up and down from his seat at the piano to point, wave and smile at the excited crowd who kept giving him standing ovations.
One of the more poignantly emotional moments came during his heartfelt speech about his AIDS charity and the importance of awareness before performing ‘I Want Love’. It was a really candid and truly authentic moment that was felt by the whole crowd as he explained why he felt it was such an important subject for him to use his platform to talk about.
I had taken my dad with me to the show as my plus one, and we haven’t always agreed on particular things over the years and his views on me coming out as gay weren’t the easiest to initially receive. But over time, we’ve grown and healed the wounds of the words that were said and it was truly beautiful to see my dad getting emotional while watching Elton talk about the LGBTQI+ community and see him empathising with the people that lost their lives to the tragic AIDS disease.
It was a therapeutic and special moment for me that proved the growth we have had as a society recently and also highlighted just how important it was for artists like Elton to talk about issues like this so candidly.
As he started to reach the end of his set, the big singalong favourites like ‘The Bitch Is Back’, ‘I’m Still Standing’ and ‘Crocodile Rock’ saw the majority of the crowd on their feet euphorically dancing away. But as the final piece of confetti fell during ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’ every single person in attendance was on their feet applauding the magical show Sir Elton John had delivered from start to finish.
From the moment he walked off stage, the crowd started cheering for more and after a quick costume change into a robe, he walked back on stage for an emotional performance of ‘Your Song’ before the fitting closer ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ that sim graciously floating across the stage on his moving piano.
Taking off the robe to reveal his infamous baseball outfit, he jumped onto a cherry picker that carried him to the top of the stage structure and into the darkness as he waved goodbye to the adoring crowd for one last time.
This captivating show was a true celebration of a career that has made a huge impact on so many people. And while he may not be able to hit the high notes like he used to, and he may even forget a few lyrics during the nearly 3 hour show, he has still got the pure talent that he has always had.
Elton John is a born performer, and this show proved why he is a legend in so many ways.
Check out the full gallery captured by Zac Montgomery Photography BELOW;
Photos by Zac Montgomery
Elton John Australian Tour
Saturday 21 December – First State Super Theatre, Sydney
Monday 23 December – First State Super Theatre, Sydney
Tuesday 7 January – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Thursday 9 January – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Saturday 11 January – Hope Estate, Hunter Valley
Sunday 12 January – Hope Estate, Hunter Valley
Tuesday 14 January – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Thursday 16 January – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
Saturday 18 January – A Day On The Green, Siromet Wines Mt Cotton
Sunday 19 January – A Day On The Green, Siromet Wines Mt Cotton
Wednesday 22 January – Carrington Park, Bathurst
Saturday 25 January – Hanging Rock, Woodend
Sunday 26 January – Hanging Rock, Woodend
Wednesday 29 January – A Day On The Green, All Saints Estate Rutherglen
Friday 31 January – A Day On The Green Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley
Saturday 1 February – A Day On The Green, Rochford Wines Yarra Valley
Saturday 22 February – AAMI Park, Melbourne
Tuesday 25 February – C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Wednesday 26 February – C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Saturday 29 February – North Queensland Stadium, Townsville
Tuesday 3 March – Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
Wednesday 4 March – Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
Friday 7 March – Bankwest Stadium, Sydney