What you didn’t see on Elton John’s final Aussie tour
Elton John was not happy.
The 72-year-old revered entertainer and self-confessed thrower of tantrums couldn't get what he wanted and he was letting everyone in the world know about it.
The Rocketman, renowned for his voracious appetite for new music and artists to champion, spent considerable hours flicking through the racks of Sydney's beloved independent Red Eye Records during his three-month stay for his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.
And he was keen to procure a vinyl copy of Apple Crumble, the second album from Australian chilled funk band Winston Surfshirt and Better in Blak, the acclaimed debut album from Thelma Plum.
"I have been trying to buy it from Red Eye Records in Sydney and they keep saying it's not out. Like Thelma Plum and she's not out (on vinyl). It pisses me off," he said on his weekly Rocket Hour show on Apple Music.
Tones and I, Amy Shark and Surfshirt were John's guest on the show he recorded in Sydney and broadcast on his Beats 1 channel in early February.
"I get to meet new artists like yourselves and I become friends with them and it's just been one of the greatest things of doing this show," John said.
As well as being turned on to emerging artists including Adrian Eagle and Genesis Owusu, John also broadcast some of his Aussie favourites including tracks from Divinyls and Kasey Chambers.
"I first came (here) in '71; I am a veteran. Every time I come down here, I love to investigate the new music. We did a tour with the Divinyls and (I Touch Myself) is one of my favourites. It was very risque for the time it came out in 1990," he said.
John's patronage of new music has had a game-changing effect on the careers of many Australian artists including electronic duo PNAU, who he signed to his management company, and the late Gurrumul Yunupingu, who he helped take to the world.
But the 34 concerts - with one Day At The Green concert in Victoria unfortunately halted ahead of time by a fierce storm - were all about his love of the fans who have been watching him perform in Australia for five decades.
The generational refresh of that audience courtesy of the biopic box office smash Rocketman was obvious in the thousands of photos posted by proud parents taking their newly-minted fan-children to the farewell concerts.
Among the children cheering him on at his opening Sydney concert at the First State Super Theatre in December were sons Zachary, 9, and Elijah, 7, sitting alongside their dad and John's husband and manager David Furnish.
The boys were as excited as everyone else at the sold-out show, completely freaking out when the cameras focused on them as John mentioned their presence in the audience and they spotted themselves on the big screen behind their dad.
As he has told every audience on the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, which now concludes in Auckland in January 2021 after his was forced to reschedule two concerts when he contracted "walking pneumonia", he is quitting touring for his children.
Illness and inclement weather may have disrupted his Australasian swansong but John and his team had built a few breaks in the down under leg of the tour for personal reasons.
Their first hiatus came at Christmas when the John family spent the holidays in Aspen, Colorado.
The next came when he and Furnish returned to Los Angeles for the 2020 Golden Globes where he and his musical partner of more than five decades, Bernie Taupin, won an award for their Rocketman song (I'm Gonna) Love Me Again.
He proudly showed off that award when he resumed the Australia tour at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney on January 7.
At that concert, he also pledged $1 million for bushfire relief.
'You should all be in awe of the work the firefighters are doing. This is a magnificent country. To see what is happening here breaks my heart, so we have to come together, we have to fight. I love Australia so much," he said.
John would commute by private plane to his interstate gigs - or helicopter on shorter hops - on his Global Express M-EDZE jet, the last four letters of the registration formed by the initials of the entertainer, his husband and children.
Backstage at his shows, he reunited with old mate Molly Meldrum, actor Russell Crowe and Dame Olivia Newton-John.
In his downtime on tour, besides investing in Australian music and art - he is a passionate collector of indigenous artworks - John loved shopping and working on new music of his own at the eastern suburbs mansion he and the family called home
"Before Elton goes to Australia, I am planning on writing a flood of material for him because he wants to write while he's there," Taupin told News Corp Australia ahead of the tour.
"He's renting a home while he's touring so he feels it would be a good time to see what we can come up with.
"We're not done yet!"
As the curtain comes down on the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour at Sydney's Bankwest Stadium on Saturday, his legion of fans will be well satisfied with his swansong shows and can only hope he may be enticed back for a special occasion or residency as his bandmates have hinted.
"I am personally hoping it isn't the farewell tour because these shows have been going so incredibly; there's a special feeling to it," longtime drummer Nigel Olsson said.
"I don't really want it to end so I am hoping there will be a rest after and maybe we'll come back and do some one-off residencies all around the world. I'm keeping my fingers crossed."