Elton John bid farewell to his globe-trotting Farewell Yellow Brick Road retirement tour in Sweden on Saturday — along with a surprise send-off from Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
Martin was simulcast into John’s Stockholm concert to thank the pop legend for his career-long contributions to music and beyond, closing out John’s epic retirement tour with an emotional tribute to his sterling run as a touring artist.
Coldplay was playing its own show in Gothenburg, Sweden, and was in the middle of performing “Rocket Man” when attention shifted to the original song’s hitmaker during each of their performances. As the “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” singer sat down at his piano onstage in the Tele2 Arena, Martin doled out praise to the 76-year-old music icon from the Gamla Ullevi stadium.
“From all of us here, from all the bands and all the artists that you’ve loved and inspired and helped, we just love you so much,” Martin said on stage. “We’re so grateful for everything you’ve done for us. Everything you’ve done for the AIDS Foundation. Every time you’ve been kind to anybody. Everything you’ve done for LGTBQ. Everything you’ve done for fashion and eye wear. Everything you’ve done for sexiness and love and dressing gowns. Everything you’ve done for music. Everything Bernie [Taupin]’s done for lyrics. Everything your band has done. The thousands of shows you’ve done. We love you so much. Happy retirement and we’re going to miss you so much, man.”
John, easily one of music’s greatest living showmen, thanked his younger contemporary onstage and the tender exchange was immortalized online by fans, Coldplay and John himself.
“Thank you @coldplay, for this special moment,” John wrote early Monday in an Instagram story.
The five-time Grammy Award winner closed out his record-breaking tour after playing 330 shows in 16 Gucci suits with 6.25 million fans. The tour, which launched in 2018, became the highest grossing tour of all time last month, according to live-event trade publication and research firm Pollstar.
“What a journey this tour has been and now we find ourselves at the end of it. Tonight is the final night,” John wrote on Instagram ahead of the show Saturday, posting a retrospective recap.
The “Your Song” and “Tiny Dancer” singer fittingly closed out the five-year concert tour with its namesake “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and thanked fans for supporting him along the way.
“Every step of the way, my fans have been there. They have stuck with me, they have supported me, they have been patient, and they have kept turning out for every single last show,” he said.
The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour was named after John’s smash 1973 double LP and was meant to be his exhaustive three-year swan song as a touring artist. John said he was retiring from the road to spend more time with his family — husband David Furnish and their young sons, Zachary and Elijah. However, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted his carefully planned outing and forced him to reschedule dates three times since 2020, extending the tour well beyond his initial plans.
“And off he goes…. 🚀,” Furnish wrote Sunday on Instagram, sharing a clip of John floating across the stage in a clear box as he and their boys waved from the audience. “One final trip down the Yellow Brick Road 💫330 shows under his belt 💪🏼🎹 Finally off the road and into the sunset 🌈☀️So excited for the next chapter together 👨👨👦👦 We love you Daddy ❤️”
The “Cold Heart” and “Hold Me Closer” singer played a handful of shows at the former Forum in Inglewood and Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles in 2019, commemorating his five-decade touring love affair with Los Angeles that former Times music critic Robert Hilburn helped launch in the 1970s. Last fall, John triumphantly circled back to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for a trio of November shows, paying tribute to his landmark 1975 concert there that launched thousands of bedazzled Dodger uniforms around the world.