LOS ANGELES — The sun has gone down on Elton John’s final North American show in the place where it all began – Dodger Stadium.
“Tonight is a very special night, a very emotional night for me,” John said after playing “Philadelphia Freedom” on a grand piano wearing a bedazzled jacket with tails and sunglasses. “It’s been a long journey.”
John, 75, closed out his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in North America on Sunday, a goodbye made even more poignant since Dodger Stadium was the famed setting for John’s 1975 breakout stadium concerts.
More than 47 years ago, John’s two electrifying, sequin outfit-filled concerts at the historic baseball stadium affirmed the rising star’s supernova status.
“Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium” was livestreamed on Disney+.
“We are making history tonight, the first-ever global stream on Disney+,” said John. “And hello Dodger Stadium!”
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Still impacted by a hip injury that forced the tour’s postponement in Sept. 2021, John did not move across the stage with ease, much less jump atop his piano as he did in 1975.
But his piano-pounding numbers haven’t lost a step as he showed with an extended riff at the end of “Levon.” After finishing the song, John slumped over the piano in (possibly) exaggerated exhaustion, only to jump back to his feet to urge more applause.
The departing superstar had help from musical guests. Brandi Carlile sang the George Michael role alongside John for “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Holding a gold microphone, Carlile never lost her giddy expression about being onstage. British singer Kiki Dee, joined John to sing their classic duet “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” 47 years after the two performed the same number.
“We decide to re-enact that incredible moment,” John said.
Dua Lipa and John sang their hit remix “Cold Heart” (the same night the song won an American Music Award for best collaboration).
A cadre of Hollywood stars attended, some walking a pre-concert red carpet, including JoJo Siwa (wearing a “Rocketman” devil suit) Heidi Klum, Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, Kirsten Dunst, John Stamos, Connie Britton and “Top Gun: Maverick” star Miles Teller. Jude Law, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Neil Patrick Harris were in the audience.
Britney Spears, who recently collaborated with John on their single “Hold Me Closer,” did not make an appearance.
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For his encore songs, John returned to the stage with an outfit that harkened back to his classic bedazzled (and snug) Dodgers baseball uniform from 1975. The 2022 version was a full silver-shimmering Dodgers robe with the number one on the back. The dazzling blue baseball cap remained the same as 1975’s version.
John brought his song partner Bernie Taupin onstage. “If it wasn’t for him I would not be standing here,” he said, before calling for his family to join him.
“I want to spend time with my family, I’ll be 76 by the time I stop touring next year,” said John as his partner David Furnish brought out their sons Zachary, 11, and Elijah, 9. “I want to bring them out here to show you exactly why I’m retiring.”
The music superstar who was originally propelled by Los Angeles crowds thanked the local audience for the pivotal support.
“You made me. Without America, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “Thank you for all the years of love and generosity. I wish you health and love and prosperity.”
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John ended his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour final concert with his classic “Goodbye Yellowbrick Road.” At the song’s end, he discarded his silver robe to reveal a tracksuit and stepped onto a lift that raised him up the stage. An animated John was shown on stage screens walking onto a heavenly Yellow Brick Road.
“Be kind to each other,” John added. “And farewell.”
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