Elton John fans in Vancouver dressed up and sang along on Saturday as the singer and musician known as ‘Rocket Man’ performed one last time in Canada as part of a tour farewell which should end in mid-2023.
John, 75, played two shows at BC Place in Vancouver, the final Canadian dates of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road: The Final Tour, on Friday and Saturday.
“Good evening Vancouver!” he said on Saturday after opening with his hits Bennie and the Jets and Philadelphia Liberty.
“Tonight is a very special night because it’s our last show in Vancouver and our last show in Canada, so we better make it a night to remember.”
John took the stage wearing a black tuxedo with sparkly trimmed tails. He wore pink glasses with matching rhinestones.
Many of the thousands of BC Place fans wore sparkly outfits, feather boas and big sunglasses – iconic looks the entertainer has donned over his half-century career.
He has released 31 albums since 1969 with many of his songs co-written with lyricist Bernie Taupin. One of the duo’s biggest hits was The Rocket Man in 1972.
Here’s what Vancouver fans had to say about her music and how it shaped their lives:
“He’s an icon”
John’s opening song on Saturday night pleased Tucson Pearl, 39, who flew in from Oliver to see the show. He said Bennie and the Jets is his favorite John song.
“He’s an icon,” he said.
He said the concert, billed as John’s last in Canada, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. His wife Kerry Pearl, 40, said they don’t often splurge on concert tickets or trips to concerts, but this one was a must.
“It’s Elton John. I love Elton John. He’s my favorite, I love his music, he’s got a great style,” she said. “He has a song for everything and he just helps you through your tired times in life.”
Kerry Pearl said he listened to so many of John’s songs while she and her husband were raising their children, that her eldest son named one of their cats Elton John.
Generational love for “Rocket Man”
John Kubus, 81, came with 15 family members, all from across British Columbia and Alberta, to see Elton John perform in Vancouver.
Kubus, who lives in Penticton, wore a brightly colored shirt, a glow stick around his neck and large pink sunglasses. He said he had been a lifelong John fan but had never seen him perform live.
“It means a lot,” he said of John’s last gig in Canada.
When asked what his favorite song was, he replied, “I love them all” and described John’s music, performance style and outfits as “a bit different”.
Advocacy for LGBTQ+ people
Eighteen-year-old Lexi Binder flew in from Abbotsford to see Elton John in Vancouver and told CBC News ahead of the concert why it was important to her to be there.
“He’s amazing. I love that he’s very authentic and himself and that’s why I’m dressed like crazy,” she said. “I think I can dress interestingly and I can look around and there are other people [doing the same].”
Binder said she was impressed with John’s advocacy for LGBTQ+ people and victims of the AIDS epidemic.
“I love that he’s supportive of it and that he’s always been very open about it, back when it wasn’t as accepted,” she said. “And his music is just amazing, always has been.”
She said her favorite John song is crocodile rock.
“It’s funky, it’s a jam,” she said.
“Excellent work to stay relevant”
Sisters Sarah, Helen and Alison Ballantyne fell in love with the music of Elton John through their father.
“We grew up with dad listening to a ton of music and Elton John was right on that list so it’s just part of our upbringing,” Alison Ballantyne, 44, said outside BC Place on Saturday with her sisters who wore all Outfits inspired by John.
The sisters traveled from Vernon and Kelowna to see the concert, listening to John’s songs during the car ride.
“candle in the wind, little dancerthere are so many,” said Sarah Ballantyne, 46. She said John’s music has remained at the heart of popular culture around the world during his long career as a hitmaker.
“I think he did a great job of staying relevant and not just getting lost in the 60s and 70s,” she said.
All three sisters said it moved them to think that, according to the artist, this would be John’s last tour.
“Oh, we could cry,” they said together.