Even the sky was crying on Wednesday night as thousands gathered at Golden 1 Center to say “farewell” to the one and only Sir Elton John. “Rocket Man” fans of all ages and walks of life filled the arena, sparkling head-to-toe in Elton-inspired flamboyant glasses, hats, and boas.
The lights went dark, and after the legend slowly walked on stage and took his seat at his piano, all he had to do was play the first note of his timeless classic, “Bennie and the Jets,” before the crowd erupted in cheers and applause.
From this moment on, there was an overwhelming feeling of gratitude radiating throughout the arena for the entirety of the show. Without fail, after each song on the setlist—which included hits like “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” “Candle in the Wind,” and “Still Standing”—the superstar took a moment to look around the arena, take in the applause with a deep breath, and thank the crowd.
“My touring is coming towards an end, but I will never forget you guys. You have been so kind, so generous; you gave me everything I never thought I’d have,” he gushed. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.” Judging by the standing ovation and uproar of cheers that followed, it was palpable that the feeling was mutual.
His tours weren’t the only thing that the singer reflected on, however. Before introducing his song, “Believe,” Elton highlighted how grateful he is for the immense impact the Elton John AIDS Foundation has had on the search for a cure. Setting the inspirational tone of the song, he stressed, “I truly believe that in my lifetime, we will see an end to this epidemic. And I will fight all the way until it’s gone.”
With emotions at an all-time high in the arena as the show neared its inevitable end, the energy from both Elton and the crowd peaked during the upbeat “Crocodile Rock” and “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting),” as confetti poured from the ceiling while Elton stood up to take a bow with his band.
Fans stomped in unison and cheered the star’s name until he returned for his encore performances, appropriately rocking a relaxed robe (but not without his name bedazzled on the back). At the end of “Your Song,” it was time for the goodbyes. The word “bittersweet” does not seem to do justice for the moment in which Elton began singing “Farewell Yellow Brick Road”. As he and his trusty piano glided across the stage for his grand exit—the audience was entranced.
And so, he went. He and his thousands of adoring fans waved goodbye to one another for the last time, as he slowly made his descent onto the Yellow Brick Road… (or, you know, backstage and then to wherever his next show on the tour is).
The legendary “Rocket Man” himself may not take flight in Sacramento again, but the impact he and his music left on this city and this world is sure to last a long, long time.
Farewell, Elton John! Thank you for 50 years of magical music and for teaching others to embrace their inner Tiny Dancer, and to love themselves and others, no matter their sexuality, race, or religion. Wherever you go from here, be sure to pack those trademarked dazzling glasses of yours. Your future is bright beyond the Yellow Brick Road.
See photos from a remarkable evening with Elton John here.