If this is indeed a farewell to Des Moines, then Sir Elton John gave the thousands of people who came to the Wells Fargo Arena memories that will last a lifetime. If nothing else, it was an electric way for John to fill a room the day after his 75th birthday.
The British pop icon didn’t need to say a thing to receive the roar of adoration from the more than 14,000 people who packed into the sold-out Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday night at 20 hours. As the chords played over the arena speakers and the audience was bathed in light and sound, the crowd was thrilled even before John launched into his opening performances of “Bennie and the Jets.” and “Philadelphia Freedom”.
“Hello, Des Moines,” John, dressed in a sequined suit with a cobra on the back, said from the bench of a black Yamaha Disklavier grand piano. “We finally got here, and I’m sorry for the time it took.”
The pandemic rescheduled the Elton John show in Des Moines
This latest appearance was part of John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” tour, originally scheduled for Des Moines on June 11, 2020. Around the time tickets for the show were first announced, over 14,000 turned out. are sold out within an hour of their availability.
But COVID-19 threw those plans out the window, pushing the show back nearly two full years from the original date.
John said this final world tour will serve as a final salute, of sorts, to his international audience.
“Before the kids, I thought, ‘This is what I’m going to do until the day I die,’ but I don’t want to travel far from my kids,” John told ‘Good Morning America’ in 2018. when asked why he decided to retire now. “They need me, I need them, more than another tour or another show.”
John and his partner, David Furnish, had their first surrogate son in 2010. The couple’s second son followed in 2013.
Although the eventual end of this tour may represent the pop sensation stepping away from the spotlight of the tour, John assured viewers of his “Good Morning America” interview that he still intends to do some music. music.
John has a long list of accolades over his decades of performance. He’s been on the Billboard 200 album charts 49 times, has five Grammys to his credit, and dozens of gold and platinum albums.
His music has also touched the world of film, where he worked on the music for Disney’s “The Lion King,” which was later adapted into the highest-grossing Broadway show of all time. More recently, his life was the subject of the award-winning 2019 biopic, “Rocketman,” as well as the 2016 documentary, “Elton John: Music Man.”
After:Here’s what Register readers said is their favorite Elton John song
Sir Elton John’s setlist for Des Moines
- “Bennie and the Jets”
- “Philadelphia Freedom”
- “I guess that’s why they call it the blues”
- “Border Song”
- “Little Dancer”
- “Have mercy on the criminal”
- “Rocket Man”
- “Take Me to the Pilot”
- “Someone saved my life tonight”
- “Candle in the Wind”
- “A Friend’s Funeral / Love Lies Bleeding”
- “Burn the Mission”
- “Sad Songs (Say So Much)”
- “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
- “The female dog is Back”
- “I’m still standing”
- “The Crocodile Rock”
- “Saturday night is fine”
- “Cold heart”
- “Your song”
- “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
Among the pieces performed, “Rocket Man” was noteworthy. The sound of a countdown played over the arena speakers and a network of lights – a makeshift star field – passed through the audience. Behind John and his group, a giant screen showed glowing images from outer space as audience members began waving cellphone lights, further adding to the alien aesthetic.
After the song, John took a spin on stage, during which an audience member held up a sign reading “Happy Birthday Sir EJ” and received a salute from the performer. Other members of the public waved happy birthday signs at her or shouted good wishes – one near the stage tried to hand her a bouquet of flowers (to no avail).
Each of the performer’s songs was accompanied by a visual on the screen behind him – sometimes a full music video, other times a psychedelic animated screen playing before showing a close-up of John’s live performance .
Later in the show, John put the arena speakers through their paces as the sounds of a thunderstorm played over synth music while the audience was illuminated by a dark purple light. Eventually, a spotlight rose on John – now wearing a pastel patterned suit – as he and his piano glided across a smoky stage playing “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”, with a fleet of digital candles illuminating the scene. screen behind him.
Before starting to play “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me”, John took a moment to introduce his band members. He then assured the crowd that he had a beautiful 75th birthday and that age “doesn’t feel so bad”. He took a moment to reflect on the recent passing of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who died Friday at the age of 50 while touring with the band in Bogota, Colombia.
“I woke up this morning to see that Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters had passed away and I was so shocked…a true musician…who loved life,” John said. “His music will live on, but I can tell you he was a great, great guy. So this song is for him, his family, his wife and his kids.
This isn’t Elton John’s first trip to Des Moines
John previously came to Des Moines in 2010 at the Wells Fargo Arena and in 1973 when he performed one of the most attended Iowa State Fair Grandstand shows in history, bringing an estimated 19,400 rock n’ ‘roll to the scene for his appearance.
John and his band left the stage after a raucous performance of “Saturday Night’s Alright”, but John returned solo for the last three songs of the evening, “Cold Heart”, “Your Song” and, finally, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. “, while wearing a sparkly dress.
Before performing that last song, John reflected on the tour stop in Iowa, which marked the 202nd of his farewell tour, with more than 100 shows ahead of him.
“My first gig in Iowa…was in 1973 at the Iowa State Fair, and this will be my 13th and final show in Iowa,” he said. “I need to spend time with my family because I’ve been on tour since I was 17. …but it’s been an amazing adventure and you’ve made my life incredibly happy.