PHILADELPHIA – Goodbye can be brutal. But Elton John continues to launch his extraordinary career with grace and enthusiasm, while making sure to give fans a taste of the highlights from his vast catalog.
At Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Friday, a glowing John and his legendary band emerged before sunset and two hours and more than 23 songs later, their Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour was a footnote in history. .
The show also marked the launch of the stadium portion of the tour, which will wrap up in November before returning to Europe for the concluding run in Los Angeles. It seems like another lifetime ago that John made his long and winding goodbye; In fact, the world looked very different in 2018 when he made his show debut in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
But he’s still wooing Baby Boomer devotees and millennial newcomers alike, a refreshing span of ages evident among the sold-out crowd of more than 40,000.
During Encore, John noted – with a bit of humble disbelief – that he recent hit, “Cold Cold Heart,” his first chart-topper with Dua Lipa (who appeared on the video) in 1971, their mashup. Truly timeless “Your Song.”
This is a feat that is commendable and highly unlikely to be copied.
Overnight, John, in a bejeweled white tux jacket, black pants and lavender-framed glasses, appeared refreshed and happy behind his black Yamaha grand piano. . The hit parade began with the familiar plinking notes of “Benny and the Jets”, followed by “Philadelphia Freedom” with guitarist Davy Johnstone casually fluttering the song’s warlike riff.
75-year-old John, 75, swung happily between songs, smiling from his piano bench to talk and thanking the crowd and leading a concert, which Felt fast, but never cracked.
While some songs (“I’m Still Standing,” “Tiny Dancer”) had remarkably low keys in line with John’s current range, he mostly sounded strong, adding vocal embellishments at the end of an easy-swinging “I think”. That’s why they call it the blues” and injected “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” with loud emotion.
The highlights of this trip down the emotional road were many. The sometimes ethereal “Rocket Man” blur effect on the video added a hazy coating, as the dreamy chorus turned into an elongated piano coda. “Levon”, one of John’s least beauties in the cache of creativity The songwriter grew into a gospel throwback with Bernie Taupinbefore weaving back into the melody. And the epic instrumental “Funeral for a Friend,” a sonic explosion that melts into “Love Lies Bleeding,” remains a master class in musicianship.
Although John’s teammates never earned the nickname of the E Street Band, these exceptional players have been an integral part of their live shows. Many, such as dapper drummer Nigel Olsson (sporting his trademark gloves, headphones and a pink pocket square in his suit), treasure that is percussionist Ray Cooper and the distinctive Johnstone, have performed stages with the maestro since early gigs. has shared.
Percussionist John Mahone, keyboardist Kim Bullard and bassist Matt Bissonnet also added musical styles that prompted John to comment on how much he liked playing with the group.
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apocalyptic wave that, while their tumult was expected given the amount of shows they played, the band also succumbed to a few surprises on the set list.
“All the Girls Love Alice,” from 1973’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album, debuted this year (John unearthed the album track during several pre-pandemic farewell dates). But more unexpected was the “Mona Lisas and the Mad Hatters” tour, John’s swoon for New York City in 1972 that he hasn’t performed live since his 2018 Las Vegas run. As always, it was mesmerizing.
As the concert approached its finale – with fans feeling the wind of their time in John’s orbit – the musician expressed sincere thanks and told the audience to wish them “health, happiness and success”. love each other”.
Then, as he has done throughout the tour, John opens up on “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” his delicate rumination of life in transition and the perfect summary of a career that will be celebrated forever.