“Tonight is a very special night. We’re making history tonight. It’s been a long journey,” a tearful Sir Elton John said on Sunday, addressing his sold-out audience (and fans watching at home via the Disney+ live stream) during what was not only the last performance was of his three-night stand at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, but his last-ever North American stadium show.
Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour itself has been a long journey indeed: John announced his retirement from touring nearly five years ago, in January 2018. company. In the past four years, he released his biopic, Rocketman, which won an Oscar for Best Song; his autobiography, Me; and The Lockdown Sessions, an all-star pandemic album featuring Eddie Vedder, Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa, Lil Nas X, Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, Rina Sawayama and Stevies Wonder and Nicks. He has also collaborated with Lady Gaga and Ed Sheeran; co-wrote a new musical about Tammy Faye Messner with Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters and a stage adaptation of The devil wears Prada with Shaina Taub; and even persuaded Britney Spears to retire. And, of course, he’s given a whopping 272 concerts, including one on the White House lawn.
So, as the old saying goes, how can we miss him if he doesn’t go away? As it turns out, Elton will be very, very missed. On Sunday, when he returned to Dodger Stadium – the site of two of his most historic concerts – the 75-year-old was still playing at the peak of his circa ’75 powers, from the moment those exhilarating piano keys of “Bennie and the Jets” opened the show. Only once during his marathon set – when he slumped melodramatically over his piano, breathless, after jamming to an epic and extended version of one of his favorite compositions, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” – did he show any sign of human frailty. It seemed inscrutable that he wouldn’t be back the next night to knock another one out of the ballpark.
But for two fleeting hours, John delighted his audience of Elton cosplayers – superfans all decked out in dazzling Dodgers uniforms, oversized rhinestone sunglasses, “I’m Still Standing” summer suits and porkpie hats, enough sequins to make a entire JOANN fabric and Crafts superstore, and in at least one case a Donald Duck costume, just like the one John wore in Central Park in 1980. that probably blocked the view of half the line behind her.) “Thanks for changing. It makes me so happy to see you all in costume,” Elton gushed towards the end of his concert as he rocked his third over-the-top outfit of the night, a bejeweled Dodgers robe.
Elton kept his onstage banter light – he made no mention of the previous night’s tragic shooting at Colorado’s LGBTQ+ nightclub Club Q or the shocking attack on a couple in the Dodger Stadium parking lot during his Saturday concert. Instead, he expressed his love for LA by saying, “I first came here, to America, in 1970 — to Los Angeles, the City of Angels,” and recalled how LA times Music critic Robert Hilburn’s glowing review of his now legendary showcase at Hollywood’s Troubadour changed his life. “I’ll never forget. … I was the first to become successful in America. I wouldn’t be here without America.” He also reminisced about being “gobsmacked” early in his career when Aretha Franklin covered his composition “Border Song” and sentimentally introduced his old songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin.
“We’ve been writing together since 1967 and we just love each other more than ever before. He’s a great guy,” Elton gushed, hugging Taupin and telling him, “I love you. Thank you for all the gifts.” Taupin then declared John “the greatest man alive”, as the audience roared in approval.
Taupin wasn’t the only special guest at this love fest. Brandi Carlile performed “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (dedicated to John’s late bandmates John LoPresti, Dee Murray, Roger Pope, Guy Babylon and Bob Birch), in her own custom, fashion-forward performance on Elton cosplay wearing a blue/grey/white colorblock “Rocket 1” suit and looking cute starstruck throughout this whole pinch-me moment. (When Carlile performed at John’s annual Oscar viewing party earlier this year, she told the A-list crowd that John “shaped the way I walk the world as an artist”.) Kiki Dee, who had been there for John’s first Dodger Stadium show 47 years ago, came out for their classic duet “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” and Dua Lipa teamed up with Elton for their 2021 hit “Cold Heart,” which just won the Best Collaboration award at the American Music Awards. Awards ceremony a few miles away.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am, at 75 years old, to have a number 1 record around the world,” John proclaimed as Dua left the stage, also highlighting the recent success of his collaboration with Britney Spears screaming, “Hold me closer.” This seemed like a setup for a surprise Britney cameo… but again, no. Instead, John played his first hit single, “Your Song,” though the concertgoers didn’t seem too disappointed. (They were whispered “Hold Me Closer” heard when it served as Elton’s exit music at the end of the night.)
Although this was John’s last show in America, he won’t be away from the stage for long: his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour will resume in January with performances in Australia and New Zealand, before continuing in the UK and Europe and eventually ends in Sweden. in July 2023. And after that, he doesn’t rule out smaller concert residencies or occasional one-off performances. “What I love to do most is play live,” he assured the Sunday audience at Dodger Stadium. However, he still seemed at peace with his decision to quit his grueling touring schedule and bring out his husband David Furnish and their sons, Elijah and Zachary, to remind the public that his reason for retiring is to spend more quality time with his family. .
“I don’t really look back much,” Elton told Yahoo Entertainment in 2018. “But when I do, be reminded of what I did. I lived 10 years in a year. I just had a great time. I mean, there have been so many wonderful things. If you had told me in 1970 sitting here… talking about a farewell tour, I would have said, “You’re crazy!” But if you had said ten years ago that I was going to have children – two children – I would have said, “You’re crazy.” That’s my life; I’m willing to let it evolve as it should. I’ve had the most incredible career. It doesn’t end.”
Elton John’s full set list on November 20 at Dodger Stadium was:
Bennie and the Jets
I think that’s why they call it the blues
Have pity on the criminal
Take me to the pilot
Someone saved my life tonight
Candle in the wind
Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleed
Burn down the mission
Sad songs (say so much)
Sorry seems to be the hardest word
Don’t Let the Sun Set on Me (featuring Brandi Carlile)
The bitch is back
I’m still standing
Don’t Go Break My Heart (featuring Kiki Dee)
Saturday Night is good for fighting
Cold Heart (with Dua Lipa)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
· Elton John remembers how he surprised Iggy Pop on stage — in a gorilla costume
Elton John talks about farewell tour, with focus on family: ‘I can’t go on forever’
· Taron Egerton on Elton John’s song that changed his life
‘Rocketman’ star Taron Egerton on gay storyline: ‘I’m very proud that our film puts it in the forefront’
Brandi Carlile honors Ryan White on stage at Elton John’s Oscar party: ‘I don’t take it lightly standing here’
Bernie Taupin On Awkward But Important ‘Rocketman’ Scene: ‘That Absolutely Happened’
Elton John guitarist Davey Johnstone on how John Lennon’s last public performance led to reconciliation with Yoko Ono: ‘It was very special to them’
Elton John’s warning at coronavirus benefit: ‘Just recently there was another contagious disease that was ignored’
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