Elton John Honors Aretha Franklin & Jaime Guttenberg In Pittsburgh

See Elton dedicate songs to the Queen Of Soul and Parkland shooting victim Jaime Guttenberg.

By Nate Todd Sep 17, 2022 1:18 pm PDT

Elton John stopped by Pittsburgh’s PNC Park on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour on Friday. The iconic artist dedicated “Border Song” to Aretha Franklin and “Tiny Dancer” to Parkland shooting victim Jaime Guttenberg during the concert.

Elton began his set with “Bennie And The Jets” followed by “Philadelphia Freedom” and “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.” The pianist then spoke about how honored he and lyricst Bernie Taupin were when Aretha Franklin covered “Border Song” not long after it came out in 1970.

“Now you can imagine how Bernie and I felt being two young kids from England with the Queen Of Soul, the incredible Aretha Franklin recording our song. We could not believe it,” Elton went on to talk about forging a relationship with Aretha throughout the years. He also told a moving story about Aretha’s final concert in New York City, which took place at his AIDS Foundation gala at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City on November 7, 2017 less than a year before she died.

“She was very, very sick,” Elton continued. “So I went backstage before the show and said ‘Aretha, I’ll do it. You’re too sick to do the show.’ And she said, ‘honey, I let you down two years ago; I’m not gonna let you down tonight.’ And she came out and sat down at a piano like this. And for an hour and 20 minutes blew the roof off of the cathedral. All of us who were there were crying. Because you just don’t witness greatness like that very often. And that night was pure and absolute magic. And so, I want to dedicate this song to the everlasting brilliance of Aretha Franklin.”

Elton then performed a fantastic solo piano rendition of “Border Song” for Aretha. Next, the pianist honored the memory of Jaime Guttenberg, a victim of the 2018 Parkland shooting in Florida who had a relative in attendance. “I want to dedicate this next song to the memory of Jaime Guttenberg, who used to dance to this song. I was shocked at the awful school massacre and I had an email about it just before I went on. It really upset me to think that someone so beautiful and so young could have been dispensed in such an awful way. So this is for Jamie, and thank you for dancing to my song.”

Elton and his band then delivered a powerful performance of “Tiny Dancer.” The pianist would fill the rest of his set with additional classics like “Rocket Man,” “Levon,” “Candle In The Wind,” The Bitch Is Back,” “Crocodile Rock” and set closer “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” before including “Your Song” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” in the encore.

Watch fan-shot footage of Elton John’s Aretha Franklin and Jaime Guttenberg dedications below:

Matthew Patrick Wheatley
Elton John (See 26 videos)

Matthew Patrick Wheatley
Elton John (See 26 videos)

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Elton John at PNC Park

  • Good Morning to the Night
  • Bennie and the Jets
  • Philadelphia Freedom
  • I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
  • Border Song  
  • Tiny Dancer  
  • Have Mercy on the Criminal
  • Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time)  
  • Take Me to the Pilot
  • Someone Saved My Life Tonight
  • Levon
  • Candle in the Wind  
  • Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
  • Burn Down the Mission
  • Sad Songs (Say So Much)
  • Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
  • Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  • The Bitch Is Back
  • I'm Still Standing
  • Crocodile Rock
  • Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting
  • Cold Heart  
  • Your Song
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • Hold Me Closer  
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