Elton John Farewell Tour Ended 5 Years After It Began

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Elton John at the final concert of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, Stockholm, Sweden, July 8, 2023 (Photo: Ben Gibson / Rocket Entertainment; used with permission)

Elton John was 70 years old when he announced his farewell tour in his typically grand style with a live streamed press conference on January 24, 2018. It began nearly nine months later that Sept. 8 in Allentown, Pa., at the PPL Center. And it continued, pausing for great lengths many times for health reasons (hip surgery, after he fell on a hard surface) and a global crisis that no one could have anticipated. Through it all, John‘s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour traveled around and around the globe where on a typical night he performed two dozen songs as well as several wardrobe changes, naturally)—that featured most of his biggest hits as well as several chestnuts from his phenomenal catalog.

The superstar had said that the tour would encompass as much as three years and 300 dates and expected to perform on every continent before he called it quit. And on July 8, 2023, nearly five years after it began, Elton John, who turned 76 on March 25, closed his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour with his second performance in two nights at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.

Want some wild facts? That final show was originally scheduled to take play nearly three years earlier but was rescheduled on three different occasions. It was first planned for Sept. 19, 2020, then moved to Sept. 18, 2021, and then Oct. 2, 2021.

It was the 330th show of a tour that was seen by an estimated cumulative audience of 6,250,000. Billboard reports that in January 2023 it became the highest grossing tour in history (passing Ed Sheeran’s “The Divide” tour; yes, you read that correctly). The publication says it’s the first tour to pass the $900 million mark.

The final North American date took place with the third of three concerts at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on November 20, 2022, that was streamed live on DisneyPlus.

Watch him perform several favorites at the final concert of the tour

At the final concert on July 8, 2023, the star gave an emotional send-off to his 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.

Elton John saluting his band at the final performance of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, Stockholm, Sweden, July 8, 2023 (Photo: Ben Gibson / Rocket Entertainment; used with permission)

Watch him play “The Bitch is Back” and “I’m Still Standing” at the final concert

After leaving the stage in Stockholm, John 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.”

While John has retired from the rigors of touring, he hasn’t said that he won’t be setting foot on stage again. Don’t be surprised if he continues to perform the occasional concert or appear at a significant event. He’s written a book about his years on the road. Farewell Yellow Brick Road: Memories of My Life on Tour, described as a lavish retrospective, arrives September 24, 2024, via Hyperion. The 256-page book is available to pre-order in the U.S. here and in the U.K. here.

Elton John, Stockholm, Sweden, July 8, 2023 Setlist
Bennie and the Jets
Philadelphia Freedom
I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
Border Song
Tiny Dancer
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
Crocodile Rock
Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
Cold Heart
Your Song
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Related: Links for 100s of classic rock tours

Best Classic Bands Staff

4 Comments so far

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  1. TimF
    #1 TimF 9 July, 2023, 00:53

    Fare ye well Elton John. You were a thrill to see in my youth and I’ll miss you during the winters of our age. Thanks for the many songs and concerts

    Reply this comment
  2. tyre
    #2 tyre 9 July, 2023, 06:41

    One of the greatest entertainers of our time with a great dedicated band!

    Reply this comment
  3. Shaw
    #3 Shaw 9 July, 2023, 14:41

    I first heard of Elton back in 1972 .. I’m still listening.. All these years on stage performing
    For us .. I saw him a dozen or more times. Back to back with Billy Joel
    I was able to catch my last 2 concerts on This FINAL TOUR
    You are a remarkable singer musician & an amazing performer .. My 1st concert was The Bicentenial Year 1976 at the former Schaefer stadium in Foxboro MA I was mesmerized ❤️❤️❤️

    My tour of Elton’s concerts ended July 28 2022 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro MA
    THANK YOU ELTON JOHN FOR 50 years of music You will always be #1 on my Hit list
    I will miss the concerts and you
    No one in my eyes comes close to you
    LOVE YOU My dream was hope to meet you someday⭐️TAKE CARE

    Reply this comment
  4. Rich
    #4 Rich 10 July, 2023, 06:04

    I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him in concert 13 times in total in three different states. What an amazing experience each time. The first time I saw him in Hartford in 1980, he performed the John Lennon song Imagine. I was speechless. I’ve purchased every single thing he has put out and probably done more to fund his retirement than my own! You have been the soundtrack to my life and I will always cherish you.

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