Elton John’s Emotional Melbourne Farewell Included A Moondance From Molly Meldrum - Noise11.com
Elton John in Melbourne 14 Jan 23 photo by Jonathan White

Elton John in Melbourne 14 Jan 23 photo by Jonathan White

Elton John’s Emotional Melbourne Farewell Included A Moondance From Molly Meldrum

by Paul Cashmere on January 14, 2023

in News

Elton John performed the first of his last two Melbourne shows at AAMI Park on Friday night (13 January, 2023) and while the night was full of memories and emotions fans were also treated to a “full moon”, thanks to Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum.

Elton spoke of his long and turbulent friendship with the Australian music media icon, calling Molly “a national treasure” and saying “I want to thank him for all the love and loyalty he’s shown me over the years. I love you.”

The dedication came before the classic ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ which Elton also dedicated to the recently passed rock legend Jeff Beck and rock and roll princess and only daughter of The King, Lisa Marie Presley.

But leave it to Molly to steal the show and that he did when he joined Elton on stage for aptly titled ‘The Bitch Is Back’ and dropped his dacks for all of the audience to see.

It was hard to tell if Elton was amused or not. Despite Molly being caught with his pants down, Elton went on with the show, pointing to Molly every time he sang the words “I’m a bitch, I’m a bitch oh the bitch is back”.

It was a very funny moment. It was always going to be a show we’ll never forget but Molly made it that little bit more memorable.

Elton John is in Australia and New Zealand this month for his final performances down under. Elton was in Australia when the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour was interrupted by the pandemic lockdowns. These final shows are to make up the missed dates, with a few bonus dates thrown in while he is here.

The majesty of the Sir Elton performance comes from an incredible band including drummer Nigel Olsson who has been with Elton from his very first album. Davey Johnstone, Elton’s music director and lead guitarist, the other stalwart of the band, has been with Elton since 1972’s ‘Honky Chateau’ album, the album that gave the world ‘Rocket Man’.

Seeing Elton for what we know really is the last time made this show all that more special. He has been a part of our lives for such a long time, dating back to 1970 and that first hit ‘Your Song’. If we went back 53 years from 1970 when ‘Your Song’ was released, we would land in 1917 where the big hit songs of that year were ‘’That’s The Kind of a Baby for Me’ by Eddie Cantor, ‘Livery Stable Blues’ by the Original Dixieland Jass Band and (I kid you not) ‘A Bachelor Gay’ by Peter Dawson.

With Sir Elton, we are quite literally watching someone as important as Beethoven out for one last round. (Beethoven’s last performance was in 1814 when he was 44 years old).

The 70s were an incredibly creative period for Elton John. 19 of the setlist songs are from that decade. Three were from his first hit album ‘Elton John’ from 1970. ‘Border Song’ came early in the set. While not a hit for Elton, in the USA is was for Aretha Franklin and he thanked The Queen of Soul for recognising his work with Bernie Taupin.

That run of albums from 1970’s ‘Elton John’ through ‘Tumbleweed Connection’, ‘Madman Across The Water’, ‘Honky Chateau’, ‘Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player’ to 1973’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ is arguably the greatest consecutive run of albums ever and they came in a four year period. Arguably, not even The Beatles or The Stones maintained that level of consistency over six consecutive albums. Half a century later, they are the backbone of the Elton John setlist.

The masterpiece ‘Funeral For A Friend/Loves Lies Bleeding’ is the centrepiece of the show. The opener of the ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ album with the instrumental first piece highlights the band part two ‘Loves Lies Bleeding’ completing the band with the return to centre stage from Elton.

The bookend to the Elton John career comes thanks to Australians Nick Littlemore and Peter Mayes (Pnau) who reinvented and reimagined the John/Taupin masterpieces with 2012’s ‘Good Morning To The Night’ and updated the partnership with the recent ‘Cold Heart’ featuring Dua Lipa. With ‘Cold Heart’ being one of the biggest hits in the world last year, Elton is retiring on the highest of highs.

Elton John setlist from Melbourne 13 January 2023

Bennie and the Jets (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973)
Philadelphia Freedom (single, 1975)
I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues (from Too Low For Zero, 1983)
Border Song (from Elton John, Elton John, 1970)
Tiny Dancer (from Madman Across The Water, 1971)
Have Mercy on the Criminal (from Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player, 1973)
Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time) (from Honky Chateau, 1972)
Take Me to the Pilot (from Elton John, Elton John, 1970)
Someone Saved My Life Tonight (from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, 1975)
Levon (from Madman Across The Water, 1971)
Candle in the Wind (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973)
Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973)
Burn Down the Mission (from Tumbleweed Connection, 1971)
Sad Songs (Say So Much) (from Breaking Hearts, 1984)
Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word (from Blue Moves, 1976)
Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (from Caribou, 1974)
The Bitch Is Back (from Caribou, 1974)
I’m Still Standing (from Too Low For Zero, 1983)
Crocodile Rock (from Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player, 1973)
Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973)

Cold Heart (from The Lockdown Session, 2021)
Your Song (from Elton John, Elton John, 1970)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973)

Elton John, Melbourne, 13 January 2023 photo by Jonathan White Elton John, Melbourne, 13 January 2023 photo by Jonathan White

Between 8 January and 28 January, Sir Elton will perform his last 10 Australian shows for Frontier Touring and Chugg Entertainment.


Remaining Australia and New Zealand dates are:

14 January, Melbourne, AAMI Park
17 and 18 January, Sydney, Allianz Stadium
21 January, Brisbane, Suncorp Stadium

New Zealand:
24 January, Christchurch, Orangetheory Stadium
27 and 28 January, Auckland, Mt Smart Stadium

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