Elton John rushes to retirement at Dodger Stadium


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Forty-seven years after taking the stage at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in a sequined baseball uniform as the world’s biggest pop star, Elton John walked the same stage on Sunday night wearing a bedazzled Dodgers bathrobe, a more appropriate uniform for a 75-year-old man about to retire.

The crowd of more than 50,000 roared in the final minutes of the final North American concert of a tour John says will be his last.

“I want to spend time with my family because I’ll be 76 next year,” he said. “I want to bring them out and show you why I’m retiring.”

He hugged and kissed his husband, David Furnish, while his two sons, Zachary, 11, and Elijah, 9, wearing matching Dodgers jackets that read “Elton” on the back, happily waved to the crowd.

John then burst into “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, the inevitable closing song that gave the “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour its name.

The crowd full of rocket men and women, babies in blue jeans and LA ladies, many John’s age but many in their 20s, 30s and 40s, swayed and sang as they had done so throughout the two-hour show during songs like “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer”. Some have wiped away tears.

Many wore their own sequins and sequins, sparkling glasses, top hats, feather boas and, in a few cases, Donald Duck suits, representing milestones in John’s 55-year career.

“Thank you all for dressing up,” John said, “it makes me so happy when you’re wearing the most fantastic costumes.”

At the end of this last song, John threw away the bathrobe and displayed another retirement outfit, a green and red tracksuit, and rode in a small, clear elevator which lifted him into an opening in the background. He could then be seen on a giant video screen walking down a yellow brick road in the distance.

Many others joined John for the occasion.

Kiki Dee took the stage to sing their duet “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”.

“In 1975 this woman was here with me and we sang this song,” John said as Dee walked out. “I asked him to come and recreate this incredible moment.”

John jumped up from his usual keyboard spot, grabbed a mic and sang and danced with Dee while his rehearsal pianist Adam Chester hammered the keys for him.

John performed “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” in tribute to the four bandmates who died during his career, and after the first verse another guest shouted “Ladies and gentlemen, Brandi Carlile!”

The moment was an unspoken tribute to another late collaborator, George Michael, who dueted with John in the same way on the song in 1991.

Carlile, who was the center of Joni Mitchell from his recent return to the stage, wore his own sequined Dodger-themed costume. She sang her verses and did a “can you believe that?!” facing the crowd as John put his arm around her and soaked up the applause.

A drum machine thumped as Dua Lipa, in a black dress that contrasted with everyone’s sparkles, stepped out for the first of the encores, “Cold Heart,” her 2021 hit with John.

“I can’t tell you what it’s like to be 75 and have the No. 1 record in the world,” John said afterwards. “And that was my very first hit, 52 years ago.”

He started playing piano chords and sang “It’s kinda funny, that feeling inside”, the first line of “Your Song” from the 1970s.

“It was your song, Los Angeles!” he shouted afterwards.

About two hours earlier, after taking the stage in a tuxedo with sequins that ignited into a flame design and opening the concert with “Benny and the Jets,” he explained the importance of the city to his music.

“Alright, this is a very special night for me, a very emotional night for me, and it’s been a long journey, and I first came here to America in 1970 to the City of Angels, Los Angeles , and I played in a club called the Troubadour.”

The concert, streaming live on Disney+, was the last of a three-night adventure at the stadium (and his 103rd show in the Los Angeles area, he told the crowd). The Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour began in September 2018 with the first of over 300 scheduled dates. It was suspended in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic and resumed in 2021.

In January, John travels to Australia and New Zealand, then to Great Britain and Europe. He is due to finish in Sweden in July, although he has made it clear that he is only done traveling, not making music.

Many of those who support him have been in his band from the start, or very close to it, including Nigel Olsson, his drummer since 1969, and Davey Johnstone, his guitarist since 1971, who at 71 stood front and center. and led the band through a heartbreaking version of “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”.

John also provided a rare onstage glimpse of an even older collaborator, the man who wrote most of the words the crowd sang all night, lyricist Bernie Taupin.

“We’ve been writing together since 1967,” John said as he hugged Taupin, who couldn’t have contrasted better with his writing partner with his bald head and plain earth-toned coat. “We still love each other more than we ever have before.”


Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

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