Sir Elton John lights up the Wells Fargo Center

His final show in the City of Brotherly Love


The experience was no less than humbling.

After seeing Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Foreigner, Queen, The Beach Boys, Boston, U2, Chicago, Steely Dan, Joan Jett, and more, I consider myself a concert-goer that is difficult to impress, but Elton John’s final performance in Philadelphia was an extraordinary and exciting event.

Always wanting to see Elton, as he has been an idol of mine for years, I jumped the opportunity despite it costing a good portion of my summer savings.

The legend appeared promptly at eight in the evening, striking a minor chord that shook the audience. It was the first note of his song “Bennie and the Jets”. Starting with a bang, he flew through a few popular songs before greeting and addressing the audience. Hearing him speak about his final tour and his love for Philadelphia was wonderful, it felt as though he were complimenting each person in the Wells Fargo Center individually.

Some of the highlights of the show were the visuals. On the huge screen behind him, carefully edited and artistic videos were played. Some were pulled from the past, spawning from the knight’s half-a-century long career, others were animated or recently recorded dances.

Whilst performing “Border Song”, a track about equality and being an activist for peace, John featured some of the people that have inspired him the most, such as John Lennon, who he was great friends with in the mid seventies, but was murdered in 1980. That whole song was dedicated to Aretha Franklin, who had covered it in 1972.

In honor of Elton John’s AIDS Foundation, which has raised more than four-hundred million dollars to go towards research and treatment for individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world, Elton played his less popular but more powerful song, “Believe”.

Another highlight would be the theatrical performance of “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”. The stage went dark. A pulsing noise overtook the arena. A spotlight suddenly appeared revealing Elton John, in a new outfit, sitting at the piano. As he launched into the song, the piano moved across the stage on a giant treadmill. It held the attention of the crowd for sure.

Three wardrobe changes and twenty-four songs later, the legend finished his show with “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. He stood up, took a bow, and ascended on a platform into the screen behind the stage. It was truly a privilege to see one of my favorite performers at his final Philadelphia show.

So long, Rocket man, enjoy the rest of your incredible flight.


Here is the complete set list:

“Bennie and the Jets”
“All the Girls Love Alice”
“I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues”
“Border Song”
“Tiny Dancer”
“Philadelphia Freedom”
“Indian Sunset”
“Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be a Long, Long Time)”
“Take Me to the Pilot”
“Someone Saved My Life Tonight”
“Candle in the Wind”
“Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”
“Burn Down the Mission”
“Sad Songs (Say So Much)”
“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
“The Bitch is Back”
“I’m Still Standing”
“Crocodile Rock”
“Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)”

“Your Song”
“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”