I want to say thank you. Ever since I came to Manchester early in my life, I have always loved this town. There is something special about it. You all have a love for music. An incredible love for music. And I want to thank you all for your love and support over the last 50 years. It’s amazing. I mean, I will never forget you guys because you are up there [in my head], in there [in my heart], and in my soul. You are very, very special people. Thank you for the love. I am blown away by your kindness and loyalty. Thank you, Manchester.
With these words, Sir Elton John has said goodbye to his Mancunian fans: a sentiment that only intensified the connection between him and and his Northern audience, stoking the flame of an already buzzing arena. Indeed, what an absolute spectacle it was at the AO Arena on 31 May! Elton John, one of the most decorated and talented musicians of our time, graced the stage once more for the rescheduled dates of his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour. Having suffered from a painful hip injury and global events beyond anyone’s control, this was a concert long in the waiting, but I can safely say it was well worth the delay.
From the first notes of “Bennie and the Jets,” it was clear that Elton was not letting any obstacle stand in his way. His signature flair was very much present, only accentuated by the buzz and anticipation in the room. His every move on the piano was effortless, his voice resonant, clear and, above all, filled with emotion that reverberated throughout the arena.
Elton’s storytelling and charisma shone brightly in between performances. It was as though we were invited into his living room for an intimate chat, all while being in the vast, electric environment of the country’s biggest arena. His sharing of personal experiences and the backstory of his songs was touching, providing an extra layer of depth and understanding that made the experience truly unique.
The setlist was a career-spanning journey that catered to every Elton John fan, from the well-known hits such as “Rocket Man,” “Tiny Dancer,” “I’m Still Standing“, “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word“, and “Your Song” to the lesser-known but equally significant gems. What was exceptional was Elton’s ability to make the songs feel fresh and contemporary, while still retaining the heart and soul of the original compositions.
Despite the physical challenges he’d experienced in recent years, Elton’s energy was palpable. Each performance was an exuberant testament to his enduring talent, his love for music, and his commitment to his fans. The standing ovation that greeted him at the end of the night was a testament to his undimmed brilliance, a musician at the top of his game despite any setbacks he might have faced.
I must also commend the production. The stage design, lighting, and sound quality were impeccable, serving as the perfect frame to Elton’s glittering talent.
As he finished with the poignant “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” there was hardly a dry eye in the house. This was not just a concert, it was a celebration of an extraordinary career and an unforgettable evening for all who were privileged to be there.
Despite all the adversities, Elton John’s concert was a triumphant celebration of a phenomenal career. Thank you, Sir Elton, for an unforgettable night of music and memories. It was, indeed, more than worth the wait.
Elton John stays in Manchester until 3 June, after which he continues his journey on the Yellow Brick Road.