Halloween may have seemed like it arrived early at Bridgestone Arena on Monday night.
In reality, it was people who dressed as their favorite Elton John persona as they packed their way into the sold out show. The rock ‘n’ roll singer brought his Farwell Yellow Brick Road Tour to Nashville for the second time in as many years.
If this was the final Nashville show like he claims, it was a totally celebration as he made sure to pack all of his biggest hits into his performance. He even had some celebrities dancing who were in attendance, including Kacey Musgraves, who made her way to the side of the stage, filming parts of the show on her phone.
Even John himself seemed to be having a grand time, which was good to see after he was forced to postpone Saturday’s show in Indianapolis due to him feeling “extremely unwell.” The rock icon proved early that he was feeling fine, slamming the lid to his piano several times, standing and pointing to the audience as he relished the applause that he received from the audience.
“I’ve been so lucky and so blessed. I’ve been so grateful to play music for a living, it’s the greatest thing in the world,” John said. “There’s been one constant thing about this whole journey and it’s been you guys out there. Without you, I wouldn’t be up here… as much as I love to write songs, the greatest feeling as a musician is to come here tonight and play to a human being in get a reaction.”
Monday’s show also was a look back at a distinguished career that is plentiful in highlights. In fact, the outer layer of John’s stage, was carved with some of the singer’s highlights throughout the years. Included in those etchings were a couple films that he had been a part of the soundtrack, as well as covers of some of his records.
“It’s been the most amazing journey and I never imaged that it could happen,” John said. “When I started out, I just wanted to a songwriter, but nobody recorded out songs, so I recorded them and that’s what happened. I started playing shows to promote the records and all hell broke loose.”
While the tour featured the same name as his seventh studio album, John’s displayed his array of hits throughout the years. Leading off the night in appropriate style, was “Bennie and The Jets,” which yes, a smash hit from that record.
One of the additional treats on Monday, was getting to hear some of the stories and thought process that went along with some of his songs, and his relationship with his esteemed songwriter Bernie Taupin. According to John, the two have been collaborating for nearly 52 years.
“It’s the longest relationship of my whole life,” he said. “The way we right songs is a little unusual. He gives me a lyric and I go away into another room… as I’m reading the lyric, a little movie appears in my mind.”
Sometimes those lyrics that were given were quite a lot, which led to some of John’s more elaborate tracks, including “Indian Sunset.” Which made from incredible moments during the set, really selling a story to the audience.
Toward the end of Monday’s show, there were several moments where John tooted his own horn a little bit. During “Crocodile Rock,” John showcased his relevance in pop culture, showing clips of his moments on TV, including his appearance on The Muppets, ranging to his cameo on The Simpsons in the early part of this century.
While it was fun getting a look back in his legacy celebration, John did bring up some of his darker times, including the decision that led him to getting sober. While talking about his own personal demons, he did offer advice to those who may be struggling.
“I was self-obsessed and living in a bubble and had no idea what was going on around me,” John said. “I had two options. I was either going to carry on or I was going to ask for help. So, I decided to ask for help. Boy did I get it.
“I got sober and I got clean and I waited so long to ask for help because I thought it was a sign of weakness. If any of you are struggling with things and keeping it inside, it’s the worst thing that you can do… talk to somebody and it will get better straight away, I promise.”
Well for John once he got sober, it led to the creation of the Elton John Aids Foundation, working at times with the United Nations. To date, the foundation has raised more than $450 million toward fighting HIV and AIDS, helping 100 million people.
“I don’t care who you vote for or what color you are or what religion you are," John said. "It’s none of my business. What I care about is bringing you together and have a great time. And we need to be kinder to each other and we need to come together.”
That message was heard and welcomed in Music City as the audience rose to its feet to applaud the singer – which happened more than a few times on the night. Late in the show, John thanked the crowd for coming out.
He also was adamant in stating that would be his final tour and at 72 years old, who could blame him? However, he did have one final proclaim to his longtime fans.
“I love my family and my kids and I want to be with them. I’ve had enough applause to last me a trillion lifetimes. I won’t forget you. God, how could I forget you? You’re in my soul and my heart and every fiber of my being. You have given me so much love and shown so much generosity, so much kindness and so much loyalty.”