Light and Shadow: Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, Knoxville

Lights, shadows: Elton John's Farewell Tour in Knoxville, TN

It was more than a night to remember. It was light, shadows, music, effects — all of it — as the celebration of a life-long musical career came to a close with fans singing songs we grew up loving.

Elton John's band: Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour

The great thing about rock and roll is that someone like me can be a star.

Elton John

After a two-year wait, Elton John made good on his promises to perform in Knoxville on April 8, 2022. He came to share familiar hits on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour . . . but not just as an older musician saying good-bye. He came with gusto bringing with him an unparalleled light show, several seasoned musicians who’d played with him for decades, and all the gratitude of an award-winning musician who never takes for granted the people who love and follow him.

Elton John: Farewell Tour in Thompson-Boling Arena

The light shone on Elton John the whole evening, but for good reason. He brought magic to Thompson-Boling Arena, and, according to journalist Ryan Wilusz, “each song felt like a gift, an enchanted moment only he could offer.”

Lighting up the night: Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in Knoxville 4.8.22

Beams of light never left Sir Elton although those same beams twisted and turned to showcase other musicians who had been with the star for years — musicians like vocalist/guitarist Davey Johnstone and percussionist Ray Cooper who lit up the night in their own ways.

Staging Elton John's Farewell Tour

When the artist returned from a break to a dark stage, he sat down at the piano, hit a few notes . . .

Elton playing in darkness at Thompson Boling Arena 4.8.22

and the light returned, never letting us miss a chance to see Sir Elton from all sides. Both he and the piano moved across the stage as the light followed the star, always.

Lighted and moving: Elton John at Thompson Boling Arena

We ate it up. Especially when Sir Elton stood and addressed the crowd, saying he remembered good times in Knoxville and the good people. And then he told us why he wouldn’t be traveling and performing any longer. (Family, life, and the desire to close a successful career on a high note.)

Elton John on stage: Knoxville Farewell Tour 4.8.22

But for that one illuminated night, he owned us. We were wowed — not just with a concert of memorable moments, but an event to remember for years to come.

You should never take more than you give.

Elton John

Elton John and his entourage drew us in as multi-colored light and confetti drifted overhead, and Tennessee fans sang along to familiar tunes like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Crocodile Rock,” and “Honky Cat.”

Cascades of light & confetti: Elton John's Farewell Tour in Knoxville

But it was the farewell song, the third and last encore, that touched us. As Sir Elton John ascended the backdrop to move out of sight, he waved and sang “Goodbye Yellow Road” for one last time in Knoxville.

Farewell to Knoxville: Elton John leaves the stage

I make no apologies for my iPhone photos taken while swaying to avoid the avid fan in front of me. It was a legendary performance with or without good photos.

Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.

Elton John

And I’m linking to Patti’s post — Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #198: Light and Shadow — with gratitude. I can’t think of any time spent in the shadows of this arena that we’ve loved musical spotlights more than we did on April 8, 2022.

Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour was one heckuva grand event!

Travel lightly,

Rusha & Bert

27 thoughts on “Light and Shadow: Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, Knoxville

  1. Sylvia Bacon

    Rusha, your post is a wonderful tribute to Elton John! Looks like a fabulous concert and your pictures are wonderful. Lucky you to have been there to experience it and now share it with us!

  2. Amy

    W.O.W…!! What a performance! Thank you for sharing this incredible experience with us. The lights and colors are just amazing!

  3. Toonsarah

    You really captured the atmosphere of this special evening with your words and photos! Interestingly I was just talking earlier today with a friend who has a ticket to see him on this tour in the UK. I’ll tell him how much you enjoyed yourself 🙂

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Please share my feelings. Part of it comes from knowing the songs since Elton and I are contemporaries. But the special effects, other musicians, and his genuine chats with the audience made the night special. Thx for taking a look!

      1. Toonsarah

        We’re of an age. I saw Elton perform at Hammersmith in the 1970s – I’m guessing 1973, maybe 1974. A great evening!

  4. Sharon Frankenberg

    Rusha, you recreate magical moments with such spirit! I love sharing your experiences retold with the exact level of grace and gusto needed to replicate them in my heart. Thank you!

  5. photobyjohnbo

    Coincidentally, I happened upon his Circle of Life performance on YouTube just yesterday. Looking at your images and seeing that video, I can almost put your photos into motion in my mind. I would have loved to be at his farewell concert.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      It was truly a special event. He talked to the audience frequently. And he introduced the other musicians with love and respect for the many years they’ve stood by him. Good music. Fantastic set. Lovely farewell.

  6. Tina Schell

    Rusha – surely no apology needed – your images really captured the spirit (and of course the light) of the night! It’s funny, I love Elton and saw him in concern a couple of years ago. I was completely underwhelmed that night. The fans were so loud it was hard to hear him and he was definitely not at his best. There was no lighting like there was for your night. My favorites of his music were all from the Bernie Taupin era and he did very few of those. So glad to hear he came back with a flourish and upped his game!!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      It had to be one of his best tours. All the songs we knew and then some. But set design people really outdid themselves. Sorry you had a less than great experience, but I imagine that happens more often than these sterling ones. So glad he returned to finish his tour after Covid.

  7. JohnRH

    Wow. Quite an experience! We watched a free, streamed, EJ concert during the pandemic, 1976 I believe, with a symphony orchestra. Drop… dead… jaw… dropping… incredible. A total mind-blower. (Yes, I liked it.)

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