Elton John at Aami Park

13 Jan 2023

Tonight marks Elton John’s second last ever performance in Melbourne and his 56th performance in Victoria since his 1971 debut at Kooyong Stadium. The ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour commenced in 2018 and although John managed to make it to Australia in early 2020, the tour was cut short due to the pandemic. Now, after two years of COVID interruptions, he’s finally back on stage by popular demand for this special encore performance.

Wearing one of his signature bedazzled outfits including a tuxedo with a sequined-tailed flame pattern and matching rhinestone-rimmed glasses, the Rocketman takes to the stage at 7:30pm sharp with no support or introduction needed. Good Morning To The Night plays on the stereo as John arrives on stage and takes a seat at his grand piano. “Melbourne, I never thought I’d be back but here we are here for the last two shows and we’re going to make them the best possible!” He shouts.

As he begins to play, we instantly recognise the very first note of his first iconic hit, Bennie and The Jets. It’s the perfect start to the start of his set filled with all his beloved classic hits. At 75-years-old, he may not be hand-standing on the piano anymore, but his performance abilities are still in top shape as he demonstrates enormous vocal strength, and he plays the piano as if his life depends on it. He stands up between songs so we can catch a better glimpse of his full outfit and even walks across stage and bows at audience for their applause.

He dedicates the first single (Bordersong) from his self-titled album released in 1970 to the long-lasting-eternal talent of the incredible Aretha Franklin. Before singing he shares a heartfelt memory to the queen of soul who also covered the song at the time it was released.

John and his and continue with Tiny Dancer and a song they haven’t performed live in a while, Have Mercy On The Criminal. Long-time percussionist Ray Cooper is a highlight to watch during this number with pure joy on his face as he excitedly taps along on his drums and tambourine to the dramatic track. Rocketman (I think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time) features an epic piano solo outro is a crowd favourite after recent success of the movie based on his life and modern interpretations on the charts.

Psychedelic visuals flash up on the screen for Take Me to The Pilot and John declares that Someone Saved My Life Tonight is from one of his favourite albums released in 1975 Captain Fantastic And Thew Brown Dirt Cowboy. Candle In The Wind is played solo with montage of visuals of Marilyn Monroe (aka Norma Jeane) who the song was originally written about but in more recent times became an anthem to Princess Diana.

After a quick intermission with a storming backdrop of thunder for a dramatic effect, John returns in another fabulously flashy outfit, this time a sparkly pink number with matching glasses. The sun begins to go down by this time and the venue is filled with a sea of flashing red and blue LED lights from the audience wearing his iconic merchandise glasses. The band gives an incredible performance of Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding and Burn Down The Mission as they jam together on stage to showcase their musical talents.

John slows down the pace and changes the mood for Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, which he shares for the lovers in the audience and dedicates Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me to music fellow lost musical icons, Lisa Marie Presley and Jeff Beck who both sadly passed away this week.

Ian “Molly” Meldrum is spotted in the audience and John gives him a special tribute before he’s invited on stage and joins in for The Bitch Is Back. The long-time friends share a hug, kiss and then in an unexpected twist, Meldrum pants drop and he flashes his bare butt to the audience. John continues his performance as if it’s business as usual, playing the piano as Meldrum moons shocked onlookers. As the song concludes, the screen fades to black and graphics play on the screen again as Meldrum pulls up his pants and is escorted off the stage.

The show recovers quickly as John and his band charge forward to bring it home with some his most lively hits to finish. Everyone gets up on their feet for I’m Still Standing and from then on the audience remain on their feet dancing through Crocodile Rock and Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.

After a quick pause and exit from the stage, he returns for an encore as the audience gives what feels like an endless applause. He leads the audience in an a cappella version of Cold Heart – his recent chart-topping interpretation with Pnau and Dua Lipa and everyone joins in to sing at the top of their voices for Your Song one last time.

John says his final goodbyes and thanks his loyal fans for sticking by him and making him feel at home in Australia after all these years. “Look after yourselves and be kind to each other. I wish you all the happiness, love, health and prosperity. Goodbye and farewell,” he says, before concluding with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. We farewell Sir Elton John down the yellow brick road one last time.


Words by Michael Prebeg

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