Sir Elton John truly knows what it means to go out in style, as he bid adieu to ‘The City Of Brotherly Love’ with his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour for a two night stint at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. This was the second of two sold-out nights with Elton John in Philly and his entire production was just spectacular full of glitz, glamour, vivid colors and a the stage that was just impeccable, built with bricks that had engravings of different things and people that contributed to the longevity of Elton John’s career and as well as things Elton enjoys including Gucci, Elton John’s Aids Foundation, Lion King, Soul Train, a star, flowers, Billy Elliott (the movie), To Russia with Elton, a Microphone, different images of Elton himself, Elton posing with his Piano and much more.
The tour kicked off on September 8th in Allentown, PA for opening night and we were thrilled to see that Philadelphia marked the second and third dates of his farewell touring schedule. Philadelphia has always held a special place in the heart of Elton John and it is quite apparent that he sends that love right back to us… “Philadelphia Freedom” anyone? You can’t show any more love than that, and of course, when Elton broke into that song during his nearly three hour set the crowd went absolutely wild, erupting into a well deserved sing-a-long. The soul of Philadelphia music has always been incredibly meaningful to Elton and he fondly recalls playing his first show at Philadelphia’s own, Electric Factory back in 1970. The ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour will span the entire globe for the next few years, wrapping up sometime in 2019 and we are proud to have witnessed this epic tour in it’s beginning stages.
Elton kicked things into high gear right away opening Set 1 with his classic hit “Bennie & The Jets” before plowing into “All The Girls Love Alice”, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” and “Border Song”. It is also worth pointing out that Elton’s entire backing band was completely on point, many of these guys including percussionist Ray Cooper, guitarist Davey Johnstone, and drummer Nigel Olsson have been with Elton since the beginning and much like Elton, himself, have showed no real signs of slowing down anytime soon. Seriously, they are all stellar musicians in their own right.
Elton also paid many homages throughout the evening to some people that were very influential to him throughout the course of his massive career including his long-time writing partner Bernie Taupin, who he immensely praised before launching into the gorgeous “Indian Sunset” telling us that Taupin had written the lyrics for the song and when Elton first read them he thought it would make for a fantastic film. Elton was eventually able to compose a brilliant piece of music to accompany Taupin’s lyrics and the rest is history. This has been the pairs working relationship for years and they are rarely together in the same room at the same time, which is just mind-blowing considering the incredible body of work this power duo has created over the years. Elton also dedicated “Border Song” to the late Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin and during his performance of “Border Song” several videos were played on the ginormous screen behind him in which featured icons such as Martin Luther King, Princess Diana, Rosa Parks and many more who have left a lasting impression on Elton and his music.
Speaking of impressions, Elton John’s style has always been one to leave a lasting impression on those around him and this show was no different. Throughout the evening he went through three different costume changes, which of course featured his infamous diamond encrusted glasses and various sparkly suit jackets embellished with gems that spelled out his name and or initials and a pink robe specially designed for Elton by Gucci creative mastermind Alessandro Michele for this tour. He looked utterly fantastic and of course totally glammed out! Elton looked and sounded amazing and his voice is the same powerhouse that it has been throughout his incredibly successful career.
So much emotion pours forth from Elton’s vocals and without a doubt Elton has one of the most recognizable voices in the musical realm. Listening to him sing is almost a spiritual experience of sorts and the audience gleefully soaked up every moment spent with him this evening. Other stand-out songs from the evening included a fantastically fun and upbeat jam session on “Levon” and a gorgeous David LaChappelle directed video accompanied “Candle In The Wind” to close out Set 1, before a quick intermission.
Elton’s Set 2 started off with the fierce and fiery “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” before blasting into “Burn Down The Mission” and “Believe”, during which Elton explained to the crowd that he feels “love is the only cure for what ails us” and went to explain the ways in which he felt the human spirit truly came together regardless of race, gender, religion or politics after the tragedy of September 11th. Elton also took some time out to thank the audience for their unwavering support over the years and admitted that while he loves making albums, he really enjoys playing live the most, as he adores the reactions of the audience. He went on to say. that the audience’s reaction was what he was going “miss the most” once this tour reaches its’ end, however his memories will “last a lifetime.”
Elton wrapped up Set 2 with an upbeat mix that included “I’m Still Standing”, “Crocodile Rock” and “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” and ended with an encore of “Your Song” and, of course, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Judging by the reaction from the audience’s roaring standing ovation, no one is looking forward to saying ‘farewell’ to Elton John anytime soon, but alas, all good things much come to an end at one point or another and Elton can bid us ‘farewell’ knowing that he has touched many lives with his music, activist work and more that will continue to live on in our hearts for many, many more years to come.