Elton John’s Final Final Farewell

Elton John’s Final Final Farewell

Back in September of 2018, Elton John embarked on his farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, stopping in New Orleans in early December for one night at the Smoothie King Center. The tour was conceived as a three-year sojourn across the world with multiple stops in dozens of cities, finally ending in late 2021. And then a funny thing happened on the way to retirement, a pandemic swept across the world. With hundreds of shows postponed and canceled in 2020 and John only playing three private shows in 2021, the Yellow Brick Road Farewell is now scheduled to restart in New Orleans on January 19th and end in Sweden in July 2023.

The scrolling mini-movies accompanying Elton John’s songs on the massive screen

For those of you who saw Elton John last go-around, you got treated to a major theatrical performance at the Smoothie King Center. The stage and massive screen behind it had all the bells and whistles worthy of a farewell tour by the legendary pianist. The show opened with a rousing rendition of his #1 single “Benny and the Jets” and continued for three hours, including a whopping 25 songs. It was a veritable greatest hits show, but that’s exactly what the seventeen thousand fans wanted to see. Just about every song that night was written by Benny Taupin and recorded by Elton John in the 1970s and early 1980s. Although the writing partners had released dozens of albums after hits like “Rocket Man,” “Crocodile Rock,” and “The Bitch is Back” became famous, John seemed to feel that a farewell performance should stick to what the fans know best.

Scanning the setlists in other cities, you can see that every show was just about the same, except for the final two songs and the encore. In New Orleans, the set ended with “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” followed by a very brief intermission. Elton John and his capable backing band returned to the stage for the encore, “Your Son,” and “Yellow Brick Road.”

John, who likes to stand and bow to the audience between songs, was the consummate entertainer. The huge screen behind the stage took his fans on a journey through his life, including his early days as a party-boy rock star, and images of the work his foundation has done to combat AIDS across the world.  He delivered a memorable performance that left the middle-aged audience with plenty to smile about.

Now, over three years later, Elton John will restart his farewell tour with a show at the Smoothie King Center on January 19th. It will be interesting to see if the setlists pick right back up where they left off or if the Rocket Man will add some twists to the second go-around. Either way, I feel quite comfortable in saying that the show will be amazing and worth every penny. With the high Omicron numbers in New Orleans, you might even be able to snag a last-minute ticket at a discount. If you can, go!

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