Saturday night was more than alright at KFC YUM Center. To be part of the audience during Elton John's final concert — ever — in Louisville was as electrifying as it was historic.
A couple of years and one pandemic behind schedule, Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour stopped in Louisville on Saturday for what the music icon told the packed arena is his final show in the city.
"After the tour ends, I will spend the rest of my life with my family," the 75-year-old said. "The first time I played Louisville was in 1971, and I have been back many times. Everywhere I have been in the United States during my career, people have been extremely kind to me, and I am grateful."
Bourbon & Beyond lineup: Who's playing at the 2022 music festival in Louisville?
Seated at his grand piano, wearing his signature bedazzled glasses, John kicked off the show with the lively "Bennie and the Jets" then moved on seamlessly into "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues."
An energetic generation-spanning crowd, many wearing sequined jackets, pants, jumpsuits and large square glasses lit up with colorful LED lights, cheered, danced and sang along to each of the 23 songs the British rock star performed during his final Louisville concert.
"Thanks for making the effort to dress up, it is so sweet," he told his screaming fans. "It's so kind of you and makes me feel like a million bucks. And you look like a million bucks too."
Ever the showman, John donned three different outfits during the two-and-a-half-hour show. And yes, every wardrobe change included a new pair of rhinestone spectacles. The entire set was filled with his greatest hits from the 70s and 80s, including "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting," "Tiny Dancer," "Crocodile Rock," "Candle in The Wind," and "Border Song."
The music legend's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road” includes more than 300 performances throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia. His first swing through Louisville during the tour was on Oct. 23, 2018. Saturday's concert originally set for April 26, 2020, had been rescheduled due to the pandemic.
The tireless performer will be 76 years old when his epic tour concludes. At a point in the music legend's career when many of his peers have lost some of their range, John and his impressive band were bursting with energy and sounded like the rockstars they have been for five decades.
Longtime veterans, guitarist Davey Johnstone, drummer Nigel Olsson and percussionists Ray Cooper and John Mahon along with bass guitarist Matt Bissonette and keyboardist Kim Bullard entertained the exuberant KFC YUM Center crowd from the first note to the last.
After golden confetti floated down from the ceiling and the band had returned for an encore, which included the only new song of the evening, “Cold Heart” — John's recent duet with Dua Lipa from his “Lockdown Sessions” album, it was time to say "goodbye" to Louisville forever.
The finale, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," concluded with John clad in a black tracksuit stepping onto a platform and ascending up the stage where he waved goodbye to Louisville one final time.
"Be kind to one another," he said. "Goodbye."
Reach Kirby Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @kirbylouisville.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Elton John returns to Louisville a last time for farewell tour concert