This is the tour that never ends.
It just goes on and on my friends.
Do you remember that old children’s song from Shari Lewis and her puppet Lamb Chop? The words just keep repeating over and over and over…and over! That’s the final tour for music legend Elton John.
E. J. is calling an end to his touring career. These are supposedly his last concerts in the Chicago area. I get it. I really do. Fifty years on the road is enough. He wants to spend more time with his family. Plus, five decades of singing and traveling has to do some major harm to your voice and body. Like I said, I understand.
He’s not the only member of rock’s royalty to have a final tour. Paul Simon said goodbye last year. Bob Seger and George Clinton are finishing up their final shows. The difference is Elton’s finale will last for three years. That’s right, THREE YEARS! More than 1,000 days. If you’re a believer in go big or don’t go at all, this is the ultimate in musical going big.
The concerts are like a live greatest hits albums from his heydays of the 1970’s. It starts with “Bennie and the Jets” and ends with the encore of “Your Song” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” In between, are twenty-one other tunes that you’ll know from the first note. You’ll certainly get your moneys worth from his setlist. Talking about his setlist, it’s remained the same at all stops on the tour, so if you saw his Chicago/United Center concerts last October, you don’t need to see these shows in Rosemont. You’ve already seen his final act.
Talking about the 70’s, if you saw an Elton concert back then and are expecting the same thing, you aren’t going to get it. He won’t be jumping on top of his piano or doing handstands at the keyboard. Hey, he’s seventy-one years old now. It’s hard to do those gymnastic-esque moves when you’re not close to your twenties. And the bizarre outfits…well, his jackets, pants and glasses are still flashy, but if you’re looking for Elton dressed as a duck, you aren’t getting that either. What you will get is a nice multi-media screen show and some awesome music.
His band features longtime mainstays Davey Johnstone on guitar, Nigel Olsson on drums and the legendary Ray Cooper on multiple percussion instruments. If you aren’t familiar with Cooper, check him out on YouTube. He’s could do his own show. They are a lot more than just a back-up band.
This tour is about the music and the memories. All the songs are great. The best ones would be the tunes that you like best. For me, that’s the combination of “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” from the “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album and “Burn Down The Mission” from my favorite of all his albums, “Tumbleweed Connection.”
It was a great night of music. Far better than the last time I saw him when he played with Billy Joel at Wrigley Field. That was ten years ago on their “Face to Face” tour. I left that night thinking both of them were really old and it made me feel old, too. I left the Allstate Arena last night thinking he still has the energy and the skills to keep going for a long time.
Maybe the tour that never ends, never will.
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