What a night! My friend, Marcia Purday, treated me to a second row seat at Elton John’s Farewell Tour in Columbia, South Carolina. She couldn’t have gifted me a more thrilling experience. It was the first time I attended one of his concerts and, sadly, it’ll be the last.
Elton John, at 71-years-old, took the stage precisely at 8 p.m. and didn’t exit until 10:40 p.m., after two encores. What a consummate professional. I’ve been to a lot of concerts, but very few have concluded without at least one intermission. His voice is still as rich and energetic as when he launched his career in the ‘60s.
Later in the concert, he introduced his band. One member had been with him since 1969 and another since 1972. That kind of loyalty speaks volumes about his leadership and talent. People stick with him—band members and fans alike. I’ve never been to a concert where most everyone in the arena sang every word to every song.
It’s hard to name favorites because he has more than fifty Top 40 hits. If you begged me to name three, I’d say, “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road,” “Daniel” and “Candle in the Wind.” Okay, I also need to include the collaborations “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with Kiki Dee and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” with George Michael.
While Sir Elton John hasn’t lived the most exemplary lifestyle, we can still learn valuable lessons from his journey to fame. He achieved amazing success even though he came from a broken home, raised by his maternal grandparents in public housing. He practiced hard, persisted in his chosen field and gave back through volunteerism and donations. He founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992 and has raised more than $200 million to battle AIDS.
I recommend you buy a ticket to one of his last concerts. You won’t regret it. What’s one of your favorite Elton John songs?