Elton John’s record-breaking Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour reached its conclusion tonight with an emotionally charged show at Sweden’s Tele2 Arena. This landmark 330th – and final – date marked the end of a truly historic, ground-breaking tour which sees Elton say goodbye to touring after 50 years on the road. The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour kicked off on September 10th, 2018, in North America and has subsequently seen Elton play to over 6.25 million fans across the UK, Europe, North America, and Australasia.
After leaving the stage in Stockholm, Elton said, “When we set off on my final tour in 2018, I couldn’t have foreseen in my wildest dreams the twists and turns and the highs and lows this tour – and the whole world – would have experienced in the next 5 years. And every step of the way, my fans have been there. They have stuck with me, they have supported me, they have been patient, and they have kept turning out for every single last show. Tonight has been magical. I’m trying to process it, and I don’t think it will sink in for a while yet that I’m finally finished touring. I can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss the fans and how much their support has humbled me – it will stay with me forever”.
Taking the audience on a magical journey through his career for the final time, tonight’s show featured some of Elton’s most beloved songs from his legendary catalog, including “Bennie and the Jets,” “Rocket Man,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Philadelphia Freedom” climaxing in a three-song encore of “Cold Heart,” “Your Song” and a spine-tingling finale of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”
During the set, a live video link-up with Coldplay, who were playing live in Gothenburg at the same time, delivered a message of thanks to a clearly deeply moved Elton on behalf of the many artists and musicians he’s supported and platformed during his touring career. Chris Martin said: “Elton, from all of us here (in Gothenburg), from all the bands and artists you’ve helped and inspired, we love you so much. We are so grateful for everything you’ve done for the AIDS Foundation, anytime you’ve been kind to anybody. For everything you’ve done for LGBTQ. Everything you’ve done for fashion and eyewear. Everything you’ve done for sexiness, and love, and dressing gowns! Everything you’ve done for music, everything Bernie has done for lyrics, everything your band has done over the thousands of shows you’ve done. We love you so much, we’re going to miss you so much.”
Elton also gave an emotional send-off to his incredible band, who have joined him on stage throughout the tour – and the previous 50 years – including Davey Johnstone, Musical Director, Guitarist, and backup vocals, Nigel Olsson on the drums, Ray Cooper on percussion, John Mahon on percussion, Kim Bullard on keyboards and Matt Bissonette on the bass.
Having toured relentlessly since 1970, playing almost 4,600 shows in 80 countries in the ensuing half a century, Elton made the decision in 2017 that the time was right to come off the road so he could fully embrace the next important chapter of his life and dedicate more time to his family. The ensuing Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour has subsequently broken records, pushing boundaries and shattering expectations in a five-year period of celebratory activity that has solidified Elton’s status across the generations in the very highest echelons of popular culture. Each leg of the tour has been greeted with an avalanche of critical and commercial success. Highlights include 8 nights at Madison Square Garden, 10 nights at London’s O2 Arena, headlining a sold-out BST in London’s Hyde Park, 2 nights at Watford Football Club’s Vicarage Road (July 2022), and a mammoth 46 dates across Australia. The U.S. leg of the tour concluded with 3 sell-out shows at Dodger Stadium in November 2022. The concert was live-streamed on Disney + in every single territory the channel broadcasts in, a global first. And, of course, there was last month’s historic Glastonbury Festival headline slot. The Sunday night Pyramid Stage closer was widely heralded as one of the greatest performances in the festival’s rich history, attracting one of the largest crowds ever witnessed at the festival. It also received the biggest-ever televised audience for a Glastonbury set, reaching 7.6m overnight on BBC1.
The success of the live tour has been underpinned by release of the commercial and critical hit film ‘Rocketman’ and global bestselling autobiography, ‘ME’ in a sustained 5 year period of unrivaled cultural celebration. Cold Heart with Dua Lipa (PNAU remix) saw Elton top the UK single chart, becoming the first artist to score a top 10 solo hit single in 6 consecutive decades in the process. Diamonds, the Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection, continues to be a permanent fixture in the charts as new audiences discover Elton’s unrivaled songbook. Last week it reached a new peak position of #2 in the UK albums charts, an incredible 5 years after its release, achieving 4 times platinum status in the process.
In Stockholm tonight, the sun finally set on Elton’s illustrious touring career as he bows out at the very top of his powers. Fans around the world can now only wait and speculate on what will follow from a true icon who has consistently challenged the norm, pushed boundaries, and shaped popular culture like few others.
Tonight’s Setlist (Stockholm, January 8th, 2023)
Bennie and the Jets
I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
Have Mercy on the Criminal
Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)
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)
Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
The Bitch Is Back
I’m Still Standing
Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road