to Elton John. with love, zurich

Who knows how Elton John would have taken the news that Taylor Swift’s tour would gross more than his farewell tour, ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ (which references the 1973 album), with which he had accompanied the British pianist for nearly five years. Earnings is greeting its loyal viewers. Seriously, “this will be my last concert” is a phrase devoted publics have heard at least twice in their lives. Debut in 1977, at London’s then Empire Pool Wembley (today OVO Wembley) the artist was in utter personal crisis and in the wake of an album – ‘Blue Moves’, released in 1976 – which was not the first time Bank’s Break the rankings, thanks to a revelation that Puritan America experienced as a betrayal. Also in 1984, Sir Elton announced a half-way through concerts at Wembley Stadium (still Wembley Stadium, but a different building) to return to Live Aid a year later. And with another world tour.


Skyrocketing hotel rooms, tickets from 98 to 260 francs, 300 for posterity, and other Eltonjohnny gadgets. Even merchandise for the rich has prices: bright glasses cost 25 francs, a cup too, a T-shirt costs 50 (cheaper ones), but nobody gets offended in Zurich , because Elton John has never been a champion of the working class and dated the royals of England long before Springsteen met Obama.

It’s a Saturday on 1 July and the city on the border, a few kilometers away, is hosting Coldplay; Twenty minutes after kick-off, the Hallenstadion with glittering glasses is already in the stands for ‘Bennie and the Jets’ and ‘Philadelphia Freedom’, the white Elton John that decimated the black music charts in the mid-70s. The singer says, “We finally made it.” “Thanks for having the tickets, we will repay you with an amazing show.” Because it is a farewell concert, but the recovery of the show has also been missed due to the pandemic. And standing still, the Hallenstadion will stand tall.

For those who have never seen Elton John live, everything is always the ‘big show’. For once, it was also for those who have experienced another concert for years as a sign of courtesy, duty, pilgrimage, and the ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’, it has been known for some time, a Van Gogh and Monet have intense experiences, but the artists are still alive and well. And so, thanks to a wall of screens inside which pianists and musicians are divided over several floors, ‘Rocket Man’ is no longer just ‘Rocket Man’, but a flight into space at more modest prices than Elon Musk .

Ben Gibson / HST Global Ltd. t/a Rocket Entertainment

‘Border Song’

Frankly, some show moments in Zurich are bigger than others. Like a tribute to Aretha Franklin, who in 1970, when Elton John conquered the United States to the tune of ‘Your Song’, she sang her ‘Border Song’, a sisterhood contained in the masterpiece There was a hymn, on which only his name is inscribed. “Me and Bernie (Taupin, songwriter, ed.) We couldn’t believe it, the Queen of Soul sang our song!” Pianist recalls last meeting with Aretha, 2018, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York: “She was already very sick, skeletal, but the audience was everything to her that night”. Time to thunderous applause in the Zurich area and a piano and vocal version of ‘Border Song’, accompanied by the Queen of Soul, shows close-ups of all who crossed the border, from Lady Dee to Little, on screen is broken Richard, from Elvis to Marilyn (who would later sadly camp out in projections of ‘Candle in the Wind’), from Rosa Parks, the first black woman not to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, to Martin Luther King From Pele to John Lennon. Till mother Sheila, mother of Reginald Kenneth Dwight, later known as Elton John.

‘Like Him, No One Else’

The Hallenstadion floating in deep space has ‘Rocket Man’s’ tail always outstretched, an instant moment as simple as it is hypnotic, at the end of which John Mahon, percussionist and backing vocalist added to the historic Ray Cooper (Key) in Russia Tour) makes a face like “And this time also we created history”. Coincidentally, Cooper, with his drums, tambourine and timpani, occupied the entire floor of the ‘building’ that housed today’s Elton John Band, a formation that lasted until 1992, with the departure of bassist Dee Murray, who now have Also included are white musical director Davy Johnstone. on guitar and the iconic Nigel Olsson on drums. “Today is my favorite band, because every time they inspire me to do more”, says Elton, before remembering Tina Turner, in his Zurich: “I confess, I didn’t know she Was so sick.” She was the greatest entertainer we ever saw, the likes of which we will never see again.” She thanks her husband Erwin Bach for making her happy, “because she deserved it”, and for ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ ‘ dedicates to her, which goes a little further, ‘The Bitch Is Back’, which Tina sang on more than one occasion.

There would be another story, which comes from a point called ‘Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy’, a 1975 autobiographical album. It is called ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’ and is the story of the fiancé of a young woman – early seventies Elton – who attempted suicide by not only turning on the gas, but also the windows. “Thank God my music is still alive,” he sings in that piece. Thanksgiving in which we gladly participate.

Ben Gibson / HST Global Ltd. t/a Rocket Entertainment
Elton John

head to tail

On screen, along with ‘I’m Still Standing’, all Elton has ever scrolled by, in a collage of video clips, television appearances, excerpts of all kinds, and non-human versions (of the Simpsons); On ‘Crocodile Rock’ the performer forgets the words and everyone on stage laughs; It’s just rock and roll on ‘Saturday Nights (Alright for Fighting)’, but you’d like to say: More honest than your father, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard, who was already 76, Elton John now also snaps his fingers on the high octaves, in the name of the piano rebellion that was established by his predecessors and rewritten by him in a more modern way; He bangs his fingers until he can’t take it anymore and collapses exhausted on the instrument.

Finally, the secular ritual of repeat, where ‘Your Song’ begins with ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, at the end of which Sir Elton takes an escalator and disappears behind the scene like Truman Burbank from ‘The Truman Show’. Let’s go It will soon reappear from behind, on the main screen, along a road that looks like a yellow brick road, but it could also be the road that leads to pianists’ heaven. But not now, not then (because, finally: are we really sure this was the last concert?).

Ben Gibson / HST Global Ltd. t/a Rocket Entertainment

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