Sir Elton John arrives in Christchurch ahead of his show this evening. Photo / George Heard
Rock legend Sir Elton John has jetted into New Zealand for his final shows Down Under.
The 75-year-old Rocket Man landed at Christchurch International Airport at 3.15pm, straight from Newcastle, Australia in his luxurious Isle of Man-registered Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express private jet.
Kitted out in a purple jumpsuit and Covid mask, Sir Elton was snapped hastily disembarking followed by his entourage before being whisked away in tinted-out SUV.
He has just over three hours before playing his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour show at Christchurch’s Orangetheory Stadium tonight.
Sir Elton fans in old concert T-shirts mingled at the airport perimeter fence with the usual cast of keen planespotters and young amateur photographers trying to get a glimpse of the aged rocker.
The global chart-topper behind Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man, Crocodile Rock, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and dozens more, has just finished performing his final Australian tour, wrapping it up with a concert in Brisbane on Saturday.
It is the superstar singer’s first show in the Garden City in more than 30 years, but also the first international stadium show to come to the South Island in nearly four years.
Sir Elton goes on to play at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium on Friday and Saturday.
And the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour will be Kiwi fans’ last chance to see him perform live on stage.
Sir Elton set out on his farewell tour in September 2018, with a multi-year itinerary including 300 shows across five continents.
“Every time I come here I think how beautiful this place is,” Sir Elton said of New Zealand in 2020.
“I want to thank you for all the love, the loyalty, and kindness and generosity every time I visit this beautiful, beautiful country.”
When the gig was announced, then-Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said she was very excited when she heard the news.
“For the South Island to be included in Elton John’s final tour is just brilliant,” she said at the time.
Dalziel said she thinks the concert will have a “huge” impact on the city.
“It’s going to attract people from all over the South Island and further afield as well.
“It’s going to be a fantastic night. I think tickets are going to sell out quickly so people are going to have to be quick off the mark.”
It comes as the post-quake recovering city pushes ahead on its $680 million covered multi-use stadium in the city centre.
The Elton John concert is just a sign of things to come, Dalziel said.
“I think we are going to see more and more of these amazing events and it’s an opportunity for people to come together and really celebrate the joys of life.
“I grew up with Elton John. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road came out when I was 13 years old. I know that there’ll be a lot of people like me who will feel exactly the same way.”
Kiwi fans can look forward to the performance of countless favourites from Rocket Man to Tiny Dancer to Bennie and the Jets in live concert, celebrating Sir Elton’s long-time collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin.
The farewell tour first reached New Zealand in 2019, with six New Zealand shows and more than 750,000 tickets sold.