Elton John Concludes His Epic Farewell Tour After 53 Years of Performing
After an illustrious career spanning over half a century, Elton John, the legendary 76-year-old music icon, bid a final farewell to touring on Saturday evening. Concluding his highly anticipated Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, the singer expressed his desire to devote more time to his beloved family, including his husband and their ten- and twelve-year-old children.
With iconic hits such as “Rocket Man,” “Bennie and the Jets,” and “Tiny Dancer,” Elton John has mesmerized audiences around the world, performing these timeless classics countless times on stage.
It all began when John, a youthful 23-year-old, first stepped onto the stage. Collaborating with his steadfast songwriter Bernie Taupin, whom he met through a fortuitous advertisement, the duo released their sensational hit “Your Song,” propelling them to the pinnacle of success. John’s popularity soared in the United States, leading to a deluge of concert bookings.
However, behind the scenes, John’s life took a darker turn. Battling addiction, the artist succumbed to cocaine, initially supplied by his manager, as a means to combat his shyness. Reflecting on the 1970s and 1980s, John confessed to living much of that era in a “drug haze,” leading to mental exhaustion and profound unhappiness.
In 1977, the musician made a conscious decision to slow down, no longer desiring the relentless demands of touring. During this period, he released one album per year, as opposed to his previously frenetic pace. However, the hiatus was short-lived, as John resumed touring in 1979 and embarked on extensive concert series throughout the 1980s. It was not until the 1990s that he finally conquered his addiction.
In the present day, at the age of 76, Elton John remains as popular as ever. Despite his advanced years, he continues to release new music and collaborate with emerging young artists. Nevertheless, in 2018, John announced his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, expressing his weariness of the prolonged concert series. “I’ve been on tour almost my entire life, whether alone, with a band, or with an orchestra,” he lamented.
Age was not the determining factor, according to John. “But when you’re 75, you start thinking about being 90 in fifteen years. That realization of your mortality prompts a decision to cease touring. There’s not much time left, and I want to spend it with David and my children,” he explained.
And so, John embarked on a global journey to bid adieu to his fans, performing in grand stadiums. The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, named after his iconic hit and album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” kicked off in Pennsylvania in September 2018.
Originally scheduled to span three years, the tour encountered unforeseen challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The European leg was postponed twice, finally taking place in June 2022, including a highly anticipated performance at the Dutch GelreDome.
Over the course of this extensive tour, John delivered more than 300 concerts across 80 different countries. As expected, the tour proved to be a massive financial success, generating a staggering $887 million (€814 million) from the sale of 5.7 million tickets—an unprecedented feat in the history of concert tours.
With his touring days now behind him, Elton John has ample time to dedicate to his family and the numerous charitable causes he supports. Reflecting on his final years on stage, the singer expressed contentment, stating, “I am always very critical of myself. But honestly, I have never played and sung better in my entire life. That’s how I wanted to conclude my career—on a high note. It was my personal goal, and I achieved it.”
After five years and 330 Farewell Yellow Brick Road concerts, Elton John wrapped up his career as a touring artist Saturday night. Watch him perform “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and tell the crowd why it’s been “my lifeblood to play for you guys” https://t.co/quJ7sMQmfv
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) July 9, 2023