New York, NY — September 9, 2018 — Saturday night, superstar Elton John kicked off his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA, the first show of more than 300 scheduled performances across five continents. Taking the audience on a magical journey through his career, the show featured some of Elton's most beloved songs from his legendary catalogue including, "Bennie and the Jets," "Rocket Man," "Tiny Dancer," and "Philadelphia Freedom." Elton's music has taken him too many places, opened many doors and inspired many passions in his life. The audience experienced a rare glimpse into Elton's life and the deeply personal meaning behind some of his greatest hits, with mesmerizing, never-before-seen photos and videos shown throughout the show from his incredible 50-year career.
Elton John said, "I feel incredibly privileged and grateful to have had the opportunity to perform around the world for the last 50 years. During that time, I have been able to witness a huge amount of social, political and cultural change. I want the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour to celebrate that."
The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour celebrates the culture of possibility; honoring the past, celebrating the present and giving hope for the future. Echoing this sentiment throughout the evening, when Elton played the "Border Song," he paid tribute to all those who made an impact on our society and his life with a powerful montage of images playing above him. From the late Aretha Franklin to Ryan White, Nelson Mandela and Stephen Hawking, the song ended with an incredibly moving film of Elton and his Grandmother, Ivy Sewell, one of the most influential people in Elton's life, who dared him to dream bigger and made him believe that anything was possible.
A strong emphasis on visual art that inspired Elton throughout his life plays a major role in the Farewell YBR tour. The video accompanying "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" features wild and colorful animated characters adapted from a never-before-seen animation by graphic artist, Alan Aldridge. The characters that danced above Elton were originally created in 1975 for a Captain Fantastic animated feature film that was never produced. Another vibrant showcase of images by photographer, Martin Parr, many of which are from Elton's personal photography collection, played behind him during "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues." While playing one of his most well-know and emotional ballads, "Candle in the Wind," a short film by photographer David LaChapelle played that painstakingly recreates the fragility of Marilyn Monroe's last photo session with photographer Bert Stern.
Elton has always believed in and been known for championing young artists. Last year, in partnership with YouTube, Elton launched a groundbreaking global competition called, "The Cut," where filmmakers were given the chance to conceive and produce the official music videos for 3 classic Elton John songs. The FYBR tour performance of "Tiny Dancer" features the competition winner by filmmaker, Max Weiland.
Elton closed the show with many fan favorites including, "I'm Still Standing," which took the audience on a roller coaster ride through the many amazing places he has been. When he played "Crocodile Rock," images of his fans dressed up wearing their favorite Elton-inspired outfits danced on the screens around the arena as he belted out the tune. Finally, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," ended the show while a home video of Elton's played that chronicled the extraordinary 70-year journey he has been on as a live performer and the greatest male solo recording artist of all time.
Known for his wildly iconic looks on stage, Elton John partnered with Gucci's Creative Director, Alessandro Michele to create costumes exclusively for the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. Opening the night in an embellished tailcoat, fans were delighted to three wardrobe changes throughout the evening, with looks ranging from colorful "Rock n Roll" custom suits to lavishly decorated robes and finally, to end the evening, a black and red tracksuit that echoes the one seen on the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album cover from 1977.
The incredible band that joined Elton on stage featured many familiar faces 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.
The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, in global partnership with AEG, will consist of more than 300 shows across five continents, in front of over 6 million fans before the tours conclusion in 2021. The U.S. dates became the fastest selling American Express presale of all time, selling 450,000 tickets on the first day, with 76 of the dates selling out instantly. These dates mark the superstar's last-ever tour, the end of half a century on the road for one of pop culture's most enduring performers.
Please visit EltonJohn.com often for new concert announcements.
ABOUT ELTON JOHN:
Elton's career achievements to date are unsurpassed in their breadth and longevity. Elton is one of the top-selling solo artists of all time, with 38 gold records and 31 platinum and multi-platinum albums, over 50 Top 40 hits, and he has sold more than 300 million records worldwide. He holds the record for the biggest-selling single of all time, "Candle in the Wind 1997," which sold over 33 million copies. 'Diamonds' the Ultimate Greatest Hits album, reached the Top 5 of the UK album charts on its release in November 2017, becoming Elton's 40th UK Top 40 album in the process, reaching Gold status before the end of the year. This release celebrated 50 years of his songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin. He has also written the music for stage and screen successes Billy Elliot: The Musical, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, and The Lion King, which was named the highest-grossing stage show or film release in the world. To date, Elton has delivered more than 4,000 performances in more than 80 countries since launching his first tour in 1970. Among the many awards and honors bestowed upon him are 5 GRAMMYs including a GRAMMY Legend award, a Tony and an Oscar, a Best British Male Artist BRIT Award, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Kennedy Center Honors, Legend of Live Award, 13 Ivor Novello Awards and a knighthood from HM Queen Elizabeth II for "services to music and charitable services." Only a few days ago, he received the Crystal Award for this long-standing fight against HIV/AIDS at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In 1992, Elton established the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which today is one of the leading nonprofit HIV/AIDS organizations and has raised over $400 million to date in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
ABOUT AEG PRESENTS:
AEG Presents is one of the world's largest live music companies. The company is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performances, including producing and promoting global concert tours, regional music events and world-renowned festivals. AEG Presents operates in North America, Europe and Asia with 15 regional offices. Touring artists include Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Elton John, Celine Dion, Kenny Chesney and more. The festival roster includes the iconic Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Stagecoach, Desert Trip, Firefly, Hangout, and British Summertime at Hyde Park, totaling more than 40. The company owns, manages or exclusively promotes in more than 75 clubs and theaters worldwide, including Agora Theatre, Cleveland; Forest Hills Stadium and Webster Hall, New York; Shrine Auditorium and The Fonda, Los Angeles and Eventim Apollo, London. AEG presents more than 12,000 shows annually and conducts business under such globally renowned brands as AEG Presents, Goldenvoice, The Bowery Presents, Concerts West, Messina Touring Group, Marshall Arts LTD, and Madison House Presents. For more information visit www.aegpresents.com .
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—From a press release