Saturday, January 26, 2019

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Its done. In the record-books. Finished (at least for us, for SIR Elton John he has just a few more shows on this, his LAST tour... and then hangs up his funky glasses for good).

So...last night at the Los Angeles Staples Center we saw his Farewell Yellow Brick Road - Goodbye-  tour. Jeannie had bought us tickets a YEAR (literally) ago the moment they were on sale. And they were FANTASTIC tickets it turns out!

Along with the amazing tickets, she very smartly booked us into the Los Angeles JW Marriott for the night, which is actually looking at the Staples Center! We had a corner room on the 16th floor, and here was the view out our room window:

Here's Jeannie before the show as we were waiting in line for her to buy a hat (for her to wear on vacation at "the lake", the only time she wears a hat). This was the logo of this final tour.

 I considered buying a tour T-shirt, but I think I'm out of that NEED A SHIRT from every concert I go to phase (tho I haven't been to a concert in like 25 years or more now). The T shirts were $45 to $50 each, and I have a ton of T shirts that I already don't wear. But I stood in line for moral support. As soon as we got her the hat we headed for our seats.

 The show was slated to start at 8pm, but no concert in the history of concerts has ever started on time (as far as I know)...but EJ was pretty quarter past 8 he was walking out on stage...alone. His first song: Bennie and the Jets! The rest of the band soon joined in as he started hammering away on the keys as only he can do. And I have to tell you, I was pleasantly surprised at how good his voice still is. I was honestly expecting something less than his A game, as he is getting up there in age (I was told he's 71 now!). But its apparent that EJ knows its best to go out on top, and that he is.

Our seats were in Row 7 on the right side of the stage. However, when we sat down (only SEVEN ROWS FROM THE STAGE!) we noticed that his grand piano was sitting sideways, facing us! OMG! He was so close that I could hit him with a rock (if I were inclined to spend the next year in jail). These are the best seats Ive ever had AT ANY SHOW, and I cant think of a better show to have them!

Our view of the stage before the show.

As to my general thoughts on the show, here it is in a single short and sweet thought:

I can die now. 

Not that I want to or anything, but of all the concerts Ive been to in my life, this one was the top of the heap, the creme de la creme. The ONE that wont be topped. I hadn't really expected that, but very soon in the sold out final LA show (he played 4 nights here) it became quite obvious.

Here are a few shots (OK, a BUNCH of shots) I took with my lame phone (and consider that my lame camera on my lame tracfone makes things look further away than they actually are).

 The show begins. This is the band and the super-monitor (there was a camera on the end of his piano giving the super-close-up view of EJ).

Here's the entire steup. Our seats were to die-for! I was stunned the entire show by how great our view was! Way to go JEANNIE!!!! (she is a planner-extraordinaire...planning is her superpower...eating and not gaining weight is mine).

I will try not to bore you too much, but I did take 115 pictures, hoping that a FEW came out clear. Here are a few of my plethora of shots:

 Here's a view of the crowd on the floor, and some of the stands.

 Here he's walking around the stage after a song, waving at all the fans.

 Here's a really clear shot of the view on the GIANT SCREEN above the band.

 Here you can see the entire setup...his piano, the band and the super-screen.

 Here his electric guitarist (can't remember his name) is at our side of the stage riling up the crowd.

 Here his piano is on the move to our side, and the song is "Goodby Norma Jean" (video and pictures of Marilyn Monroe were playing on the screen during the entire song).

 Here you can see HOW CLOSE he is to us at his piano-turnaround point. Just 7 rows away...WOW!!!

 Another shot of the entire affair, taken by an unknown video camera.

 Here I took a vertical shot showing (thru the lights) the nose-bleed seats WAY UP THERE...
you can barely see that there are people actually sitting up there! Our seats were the BEST!!!

 Nearing the end, they dropped a ton of confetti on the standing crowd.

 The end of the 'normal' show...the entire band bowing to the audience.

 And the encore...he played only two songs: "This songs for you" that he dedicated to all of us fans, and of course, the LAST song, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road".

 After his last song he got on a conveyor thing and rode it up to the screen where a door opened.

 Here he's going thru the door, waving goodbye.

 And here is an animated bit as hes stepping onto and then walking away on the yellow brick road (wearing the same outfit he had on for the last 2 songs).

 Walking away.....

walking away...and finally disappearing in the distance.

 Right after that the lights came on and the roadies got ON IT. Game over, goodbye Elton John!

I'm still in awe of the show, and SO glad that Jeannie and I were able to see it! There's just no way anybody will top that...he played his Greatest Hits selected from over 50 years of Greatest Hits! He had a LOT to choose from, and you can probably name your favorite songs and he played pretty much all of them.

WOW. That's it...just WOW. And thank you to Elton John for a lifetime of awesome music! It was truly a privilege to see you play! I'll never forget it!

And lastly, Goodby.


  1. SO very happy you had a great time! Elton was my very 1ST concert in an arena, back in 1975 or 76. Our seats were fairly close but also near the HUGE speakers they had on the stage in those days. My hearing was affected for a WEEK! But, I was still so thrilled with the whole experience, I barely noticed. Your photos are AWESOME! :)

    Sorry it's taken me so long to get back here to chat; January has been CRAP. Interminable crap! This week of course has been FREEZING but we can hardly complain - those poor folks in the Midwest, Dakotas, etc having to deal with 20 BELOW, etc?! I canNOT even IMAGINE that! That's my definition of Hell, right there. How are you holding up, Rae? Also, to clarify - I don't live in Baltimore. I live in an outer suburb of Washington, DC. I know why you probably thought Balt as it's "MD", but so are the Washington suburbs. It's sort of weird but the state is sort of split between Baltimore-focused with Baltimore TV channels, & Washington, DC-focused with Washington TV channels. My dad pointed our TV antenna ever so slightly southeast so we got the Washington channels when I was growing up on the farm & then I went to Univ of MD (right beyond the DC line) & have lived in the outer area ever since, an area nicknamed the "DMV" for DC, MD,& Va.

    Your Mom's "Celebration of Life" sounded AMAIZNG, Matt! I've never actually heard of such an event. Is this a growing thing?

    And Rae, I would worry about any current/temporary lack of fitness. Retirement is one of life's BIGGEST changes & it takes time to acclimate! To get a new routing down. I've been hopping around on various retirement blogs (& books) the past couple years to try to prepare myself & most people go thru an adjustment period, many lasting a few YEARS. I think you're doing great. :)

    Speaking of retirement, I just saw this morning that skier Lindsey Vonn will be retiring after just 2 more races. She tried to have one final season this year but was injured in November while training & this time her body would just not allow her to miraculously come back near her top level. I knew this was coming eventually, but I have SO LOVED watching her ski on TV these past 12 years. I 1st became aware of her in the pre-Olympic TV coverage of the 2006 Torino games. Picabo Street was the skiing analyst that year & said Lindsey ("Kildow" at the time) was THE NEXT BIG STAR. I loved Picabo & figured she must know so I started rooting for Lindsey that day & have ever since. I'm STILL upset that she missed the 2014 Olympics due to injury! I probably cried almost as much as Lindsey! She is not only America's best female "speed event" skier of all time, but the world's. And Mikaela Shiffrin (whom I also like) may eventually supplant Lindsey as the best overall female skier of all time, but Lindsey will still be the best DOWNHILLER, she was fearless & aggressive & graceful & just fabulous. I feel fortunate to have been able to watch so many of her races on TV, something that would have been impossible just a decade before. I miss her already!

  2. ACH!, that's "NOT WORRY" Rae! Darn fingers! DON'T WORRY about any temporary lower level of fitness. Sheesh. I'm suffering from something called "cold-induced hives" & even though I don't see it on my fingers, I'm blaming it!

  3. Well, survived the polar vortex without issues (fortunately, here it really didn't get any colder than it does at least once every year -8F, but the wind chills were impressive). Once again, so glad that I didn't have to get out to work. There were accidents all over the place from ice on the roads, then yesterday we got 5-6" of snow. Today it is still below freezing but feels so warm! I really can't imagine what keeps people in locations like Wisconsin or North Dakota if they aren't taking advantage of ranch/farm land.

    Matt,I am glad the concert met expectations, sounds like it was well worth it! Also glad your mother's memorial went well, those times are so important in a family.

    Susie, thanks for clarifying, I have thought Baltimore all these years!
    Skiing is one of the few other sports that I will enjoy watching from time to time, I guess because once I learned to ski I could relate to the effort and skill involved (it did not come easily to me!) Ice skating it another, I just enjoy the combination of athleticism and artistry. I DVR'd the US and European championships last weekend and am slowly working my way through, so haven't seen any finals yet.

    Thanks for the encouragement too, Susie. I printed off a training plan for the half marathon and started it this week -- 4 weeks behind, but if I stick with it I will be able to finish the race (probably not run the full distance). I have an elliptical, not a treadmill -- I am counting on drier and warmer weather soon to get the running miles in. If the HS track isn't covered with snow/ice I am okay with being out there if it is close to 40F. I think. We will see if my resolve holds up!

  4. Hey Rae, glad to hear you are still out there...I cant imagine what its like to actually retire...Im betting its pretty normal for the best laid plans to go to crap. Just gotta figure out what to do with this phase of your life...gotta stay BUSY! So sorry about your weather. (and you to Susie)..sheesh..another brutal winter! So glad Im not in it (yet). We are just getting rain....lots of rain (for us)..which is KILLING my bike riding! (cuz its all about me!) But Im on work-travel right now so any riding would be very short...(back down in LA/El Segundo..was here a week 3 weeks ago, then back again a week ago for 3 more back home on the 15th of the schedule holds).

  5. Well, this week's weather was MUCH better! Even though it's rained off & on the last 3 days, the temps were still in the 40s/50s & even into lower 60s! I hope your weather warmed up too, Rae!

    Speaking of wintry weather, are you & Jeannie still sure you WANT to move to VA? Sure, you'll be (mostly) avoiding earthquakes & annual fires, but "gaining" snow/ice/cold, brrrrrr. Plus, er, the state's state government is currently undergoing a, er, state of duress. Yep, one's past does sometimes have a way to come back & bite you in the present.

    Ooh, speaking of biting, what did you do about Abbie's tooth? Was there anything you could do? And hey, the Westminster Dog Show is this coming Monday & Tuesday nights. I LOVE that event! Love, love, love looking at all the doggies! I like/love all of the "Groups" except the "Toy", just not my kinda dogs. And no, Abbie's breed is not in that Group, I believe it's in the Terrier Group along with the larger size of the breed. I have about 10-15 fave breeds but Bassets are my absolute fave. EVERY TIME I see one on TV, I instinctively go "awwwwww, lookatthatsweetie" & then talk babytalk to it on the TV! It'd be embarrassing if anyone heard me! :)

    Hey, did Jeannie make it thru the "shutdown" without going crazy? I felt so badly for her & all the others, especially those who live paycheck to paycheck or had a big expense due last month (college for kids or medical appt, etc).

    Have you & Jeannie decided where in the Richmond area you want to live? In town or suburbs or farther out in the country?

    Well, gotta run. Stay safe & warm everyone & don't forget the Dog show! :) :)

    1. Hey Susie...glad you got some better weather. Ours is still crap (for us)...rain rain rain. Sure, we need rain, but enough is enough! I'm still down in El Segundo (work)...been here almost 3 weeks now...its rained every weekend (how does it know?). AND...we are supposed to transport tomorrow night (Weds) but a gigantic storm is coming in we pushed off our transport till Thursday night..then load the aircraft Friday night, fly home Saturday night, and unload the aircraft Sunday night. Current forecast is rain the next 4 days. No matter how this plays out we will be working in it...not really looking forward to the next few days. Be glad when its over.

      And NO, not really sure I want to move...I'm SO not a fan of winter...and I recall really being cold in VA in the winter (humidity and cold...brrrrr!) And it's flat unless I drive a ways.

      Abbeys tooth was just putting it back..shes ok without it tho (turns out it wasn't a fang...but the tooth next to the fang). Shes still as feisty and ornery as ever.

      Jeannie and the shutdown....turns out a good furlough is totally wasted on her...all she did was fret about NOT being able to go to work. Id be out on my bike EVERY DAY...why cant I be furloughed?? Id be GREAT at it! but NOOOO...I never get furloughed. Work work work.

      Anyway...Jeannie has our place all picked out already...(somewhere outside of Richmond I think). I'm totally not looking forward to it...I kind of like riding bikes pretty much all year, decent weather, lots of kind of area. But such is life...I will survive. Hawaii would be MUCH more to my liking...but that's off the table as long as her brother stays in VA.

      OK...gotta run. Hope your weather is better too far this isn't what the Groundhog predicted.