Bonnaroo 2014 is officially over and it went out on about as high a note as possible on Sunday as Elton John closed down the festival. Playing to a packed What Stage field, John's two hour set was a hit-filled sing along party.
Shortly after taking the stage, John endeared himself to Bonnaroo fans by reminding him that this was his first performance at an American festival "and I know it's the best one!" He opened up with the 11 minute epic "Funeral for a Friend" from his landmark Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, before following it with "Bennie and the Jets" and "Candle in the Wind," making up the entire first side of that record. All in all, John dedicated 8 of his 21 song setlist to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road cuts, including bringing fellow piano man Ben Folds out to guest on album cut "Grey Seal."
It's a testament to Elton John's success that, in a 21 song set, only the odd Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album cut wasn't a massive hit. When you can play for 2 hours and still leave on the table songs like "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," which would be a career definer for a lesser artist, you've officially made it. John and his strong seven piece band blasted through high energy hits like "Bennie and the Jets" and "Philadelphia Freedom" then brought it back down for sing-alongs to slower numbers like "Your Song" and "Rocket Man."
One highlight of the show came midway through as Elton John took a minute to pay tribute to Top 40 DJ Casey Kasem, who died on Sunday. John related that when he came over to America in 1970, Kasem was his introduction to America and pop music and was responsible for him falling in love with both the sound and the country. "Travel safely, my good man," John pronounced before dedicating a forceful rendition of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", a song Kasem had a chance to spin many times in his career, to the fallen icon.
Judging from the crowd's reactions, the night's highlights were "Tiny Dancer" and the show closer "Crocodile Rock." Tossing whatever glowsticks survived Skrillex's performance the night before high into the air, fans chanted along to the chorus of "Tiny Dancer", although more than a few chose to insert the now famous missed lyric "hold me closer, Tony Danza" instead. For "Crocodile Rock", fans just wanted to dance. Sensing this was probably the last song they'd hear at Bonnaroo 2014, they made it count, sending Elton John and Bonnaroo 2014 out with a literal bang as fireworks exploded over the main stage.