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Elton John Brings Farewell Tour to Oakland

In honor of Sir Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, Diablo reflects on the pop icon’s memorable East Bay moments.


Elton John’s January 18 concert will be his last in the East Bay.

Photo by David LaChapelle

When Elton John brings his Farewell Yellow Brick Road world tour to Oakland’s Oracle Arena on January 18, the megastar will treat fans to thrilling renditions of hits from his five decades of music. In honor of this landmark concert—which has drawn rave reviews in other cities—we dug up some trivia about John’s time in the East Bay through the years.



First Shows in the East Bay: 

Pre-superstardom, John played at the Berkeley Community Theater on October 21 and 25, 1972, in support of his album Honky Château. He opened most shows on that tour with “Tiny Dancer.”

6 Performances in Berkeley between 1972 and 1982.


First Performance in Oakland:

John played at the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena on September 9, 1973—one month before the release of his blockbuster​ Goodbye Yellow Brick Road record. Fan Michael Collins Morton, a Concord resident at the time, recalls the incredible concert. “It was one of the greatest shows I’ve seen,” Morton says. “The encore was ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,’ and the place exploded. Elton jumped on top of his piano as everyone was stamping their feet. The whole arena was shaking.”

14 Shows John played at the Oakland Coliseum between 1973 and 2019.


At the Oakland Coliseum in 1973, John’s gravity-defying piano theatrics wowed fans. Photo by Dan Cuny.

Most Infamous Oakland Concert:

On October 10, 1974, John’s performance was almost derailed due to a case of food poisoning, which caused him to cancel an afternoon appearance on KFRC radio. “At the show in Oakland that night he was pale and queasy through the first couple of numbers, but proceeded to do his usual,” Rolling Stone magazine wrote of the incident.

1 Hours John spent on the air with KFRC two days later, answering listener questions to make amends for missing his earlier appearance.




John performed in Oakland with Billy Joel in 2001. Photo by Peter Crooks.

First Local Shows with a Co-Headliner:

John shared the stage with Billy Joel at the Oakland Coliseum in 2001 and 2010. The pair dazzled audiences at dueling pianos, performing each other’s songs as well as their own hits, and ended both shows with back-to-back classics “Candle in the Wind” and “Piano Man.”

3 Years since John’s last onstage appearance in the East Bay region: a corporate event for Oracle held on Treasure Island. (Beck was the show’s co-headliner.)




More Must-See Shows

These legends will also perform in our area in the near future.

Don McLean: Hear the “American Pie” singer recount the history of rock ’n’ roll at Yoshi’s in Oakland on January 15. yoshis.com.

The Revolution: On January 19, Prince’s Purple Rain band performs at Berkeley’s UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall. theuctheatre.org.

Booker T. Jones: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee comes to Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage on February 1 and 2. thefreight.org.

A Bowie Celebration: Musicians who worked with David Bowie play his songs at Livermore’s Bankhead Theater on February 12. lvpac.org.

Toni Braxton: On February 24, the R&B legend takes the stage at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre. paramounttheatre.com.


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