Elton John resumed his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans last night after a nearly two-year hiatus due to the pandemic and his recent hip replacement surgery. The set was largely similar to the earlier legs of the tour, but he dropped “All The Girls Love Alice,” “Daniel,” “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” and “Indian Sunset” and added in “Have Mercy on the Criminal” and “Cold Heart.”
The latter song comes from his new LP The Lockdown Sessions. It features vocals by Dua Lipa and a mashup of his songs “Rocket Man,” “Sacrifice,” “Kiss the Bride,” and “Where’s the Shoorah?” It is currently Number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it his most successful single since “Candle in the Wind 1997.” He introduced it to the crowd as “something a bit more up to date” before playing it as the first encore. Dua Lipa wasn’t present, but he sang live to her pre-recorded vocals. Check a fan-shot videos of the performance here.
“I’ve been coming to New Orleans since 1971 and I’ve always loved coming to this city,” he told the crowd near at the end of the night. “I fell in love with the music of this city in 1957 when I first heard Fats Domino. The music that has come out of this city is so typical of New Orleans. It’s a funk that no other city has. It’s not Memphis. It’s not Detroit. It’s New Orleans.”
He then name-checked many New Orleans icons, including Allen Toussaint, Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack, the Meters, the Neville Brothers, Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Trombone Shorty, Ernie K-Doe. “The music is amazing and stands the test of time,” he concluded. “And this city had horrible things happen here. You’ve always picked yourself up from the ground, and you’ve come through it. You know why? Because you have character. This city has character. It has soul. Not a lot of cities can do that. You’ve done it time after time after time. You should be so proud of yourself. It’s electric, this city. You’re electric people. I’m very humbled to be here tonight.”
The tour continues Saturday night at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, and will keep John on the road through the summer of 2023. He hasn’t announced a final date of the tour yet, but he’s indicated he may play select shows after it ends. “It would be similar to what Kate Bush did at the Hammersmith Apollo [in 2014],” he told Rolling Stone last year. “She came on and played for three weeks to 4,000 people a night. If I do that, I don’t want to sing ‘Crocodile Rock’ again and I don’t really want to sing ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’ again. They are wonderful songs. They have done me very well. But there are other songs like ‘Original Sin’ and ‘American Triangle’ that I want to sing.”