Madison Square Gardens. Check.

One word

PHENOMENAL.

Stream of consciousness

Visually stunning. Ray is a beast. EJ and the Band were awesome. Daniel made me cry. Moving piano (Wow). Confetti.

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I’ve been privileged to see Sir Elton live more than 50 times, but I’ve always wanted to see him play at Madison Square Gardens. When he announced the Farewell Tour, I figured it was now or never.  And I’m thrilled that I did.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he calls it his “favorite venue in the whole wide world” to play. And I was able to share the experience with two of my favorite Eltonites in the whole wide world: My sister Lisa (who I’ve dragged out to so many of his concerts) and Miquel Sala (who I was able to meet for the very first time).

Lisa and I arrived an hour and a half early (of course!) and talked to many excited fans (from NY and across the country). I got many compliments on my new sparkly jacket, too.

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When you walk in, the stage is immense and so so impressive. Kind of a cross between his regular concerts and the Million Dollar Piano Show. I knew this was going to be different.

And different it was! But the music and the non-stop intensity of his performance were amazing as always.

The biggest difference was, of course, the visuals. The videos and vignettes that played on the huge screen were beautiful, nostalgic, fun and even heartbreaking. (Daniel is all I need to say there). So much so that they were almost distracting.

Elton talked a bit more than he normally does during his concerts, which I loved. He explained how thrilled he was to learn that Aretha Franklin had covered “Border Song,” he dedicated “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” to Bernie, and he talked about his sobriety and regretting not being on the forefront of battling AIDS.

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There were a couple of moments in the show that he actually looked tired, something I don’t remember seeing before.  One time, he finished a song and hung his head at the piano bench for a while (to take a breather, I think).  Another time, I saw him mouth “whew” after a song.  But this is not a complaint. It’s more of an observation that he’s still doing this, giving it his all, after more than 50 years. He could just be phoning it in, but he doesn’t. Ever. And I firmly believe that he is doing this for us – his fans – and he doesn’t owe us anything.

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I sincerely hope that you get a chance to see the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. If you’ve never seen him before, it should be a bucket list item for you. And, if you have seen him play live, what a wonderful way to put an “!” on that part of your concert-going life.

Earlier this year, I described my dream set list for this tour. So how did I do? I think the set list turned out as expected – there were no real surprises (well, maybe Border Song). Regardless, it was still PHENOMENAL.  (And if you don’t believe me, check out this review of the October 18th concert).

  1. Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding
  2. Bennie and the Jets
  3. Rocket Man
  4. Made in England
  5. Rock and Roll Madonna
  6. Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
  7. Amoreena
  8. Club at the End of the Street
  9. Burn Down the Mission
  10. Blues for Baby and Me
  11. Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
  12. Original Sin
  13. Mandalay Again
  14. Take Me to the Pilot
  15. Skyline Pigeon
  16. Tiny Dancer
  17. Razor Face
  18. Levon
  19. Madman Across the Water
  20. Pinky
  21. Tonight/Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
  22. I’m Still Standing
  23. Who Wears These Shoes
  24. All the Young Girls Love Alice
  25. Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock ‘n Roll)
  26. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting

Encore

  1. The Bitch is Back
  2. England and America
  3. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 
  4. Your Song

They also played (not in my dream wish list):

  • I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
  • Border Song
  • Philadelphia Freedom
  • Indian Sunset
  • Take Me to the Pilot
  • Someone Saved My Life Tonight
  • Candle in the Wind
  • Believe
  • Daniel
  • Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  • Crocodile Rock

24 songs and nearly 3 hours of electric music, solid walls of sound.  And, for me, a lifetime of memories and music…and so much more.

Next up

Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 23 and Miami, Florida on November 24.  Just after Thanksgiving – and two more reasons to feel blessed.