scorecardresearch Skip to main content

A glittering goodbye from Elton John at Gillette Stadium

Elton John performs at the first of his two Gillette Stadium shows in Foxborough Wednesday night.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

There were cheers aplenty at Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” concert at Gillette Stadium Wednesday night, but none louder than when, nine tracks into his 23-song set, he sang the refrain “thank God my music’s still alive” from the 1975 hit “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.” The response from the crowd, many of whom wore oversize glasses, boas, and sequins in honor of the over-the-top showman, provided an audible sense of gratitude for John as he continues his farewell tour.

Taking the stage promptly at 8:10 p.m., John kicked off his 2½-hour concert with a boisterous rendition of “Bennie and the Jets” before diving into a string of hits and deep cuts from his five-decade-plus career. The 75-year-old took the stage wearing a black tuxedo with jeweled lapels and trim, and large rose-colored glasses. He was energetic and clearly in good spirits as he interacted with his bandmates and with the audience.


Video screens capture Elton John's performance at Gillette Stadium.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Between numbers, he thanked his longtime fans in attendance, his “incredible” band, Aretha Franklin (who in 1972 recorded one of his earlier numbers, the spiritual “Border Song”), and stadium owner Robert Kraft, who was in the front row.

While John may not be able to hit all of the high notes he once did, his voice is still powerful and familiar, and his stellar six-piece band covered up any vocal limitations.

The rock legend received additional support from thousands in the audience who sang along to just about every song — especially hits like “Crocodile Rock” (John delighted in letting them take over the “la, la, la, la, la, la” in the chorus), “Philadelphia Freedom,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” “Candle in the Wind,” and “Rocket Man,” which included crowd-pleasing ethereal instrumental passages.

John’s final encore was an emotional “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” which was fitting given the name of the tour, but the two numbers preceding it provided bookends to an illustrious career: the beautiful and timeless “Your Song,” from 1970 (John’s first single to chart), and “Cold Heart,” his 2021 hit with Dua Lipa.


Elton John acknowledges his fans at Gillette Stadium.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

John is on the final US leg of his farewell tour, which ends in Europe in July 2023. ”Even though I’m stopping, I will never forget any of you, because the memories I have are so many,” he told the audience at Gillette. “As I say goodbye, I wish you love, happiness, health, and prosperity. Be kind to each other. We need so much more kindness right now.”

And while John’s touring days may be coming to an end, his musical genius will endure and continue to be celebrated for a long, long time.


At Gillette Stadium Wednesday. Repeats Thursday.