Farewell, Sir Elton.

Or maybe we’ll see you later, somewhere a little farther down the yellow brick road.

But for one night, Elton John was right there, smiling in heart-shaped glasses and pounding the keys while a sequined jacket glittered on his back.

There was “Rocket Man” and “Bennie and the Jets” and “Tiny Dancer” and “Philadelphia Freedom” and “Candle in the Wind” and “Your Song” and “The Bitch Is Back” and all the songs you’d expect to hear.

Sitting, standing, dancing, hooting and singing along with the rock legend were more than 15,000 of his closest friends. (At least it feels like John’s a friend. Who else has been there for you with such nuanced words and rousing melodies for so long?)

Sign up for the Go newsletter

This complete guide of local music, movies, dining and entertainment will have you weekend ready.

Tuesday night’s sold-out concert at the CHI Health Center was like a trip down the fabled Oz highway, one last hurrah for Elton John and his fans and the songs that connect them. (Even if there are plenty of hurrahs left on this farewell tour, which will continue for a few more years. You never know. He might come nearby again.)

Every part of the concert was set up as a career retrospective, starting with the set list, which danced through the hits but also devoted a few steps to lesser-known fan favorites from throughout his career and let Sir Elton tell stories about recording old albums, working with Bernie Taupin and having songs get picked up by Aretha Franklin.

The edge of the stage was framed by a yellow brick road embedded with motifs touching on John’s career, including “The Lion King,” his foundation, “Soul Train” and even “Gnomeo & Juliet.”

Though Sir Elton is 71 years old, he’s not showing it. He may even play piano better than he ever has, delicately dancing his fingers down the keys when needed (“Candle in the Wind”) or pounding them faster and harder and with more nuance than you can imagine elsewhere (“Levon”).


Elton John, in his heart-shaped glasses and sequined jacket, made his way through the hits of his 50-year career Tuesday night at the CHI Health Center.

He’s not hitting the upper atmosphere on that “Rocket Man” high note any longer. John’s voice has actually developed a husky quality that adds heft and a bluesy quality that adds depth to his brand of piano rock, especially on songs such as “I’m Still Standing” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.”

John’s been touring since 1969, and after 50 years, he’s going to take time off to be with his family. But he showed his gratitude to Omaha on Tuesday, stopping to speak before playing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”

“It’s been the most incredible journey and one I never expected. I’ve had the most amazing time,” he said. “I’ve had enough applause to last a lifetime. ... I want to thank you. Thank you for the love, the loyalty, the generosity and the kindness you’ve shown me all that time.

“I’ll never forget you.”