Elton John plunges into retirement at Dodger Stadium

Forty-seven years after taking the stage at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium in a sequin-studded baseball uniform as the world’s biggest pop star, Elton John He walked onto the same stage Sunday night in a bedazzled Dodgers gown. , a more appropriate uniform for a 75-year-old man on the verge of retirement.

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

“I want to spend time with my family because next year I will be 76 years old,” he said. “I want to get them out there and show them why I’m retiring.”

She hugged and kissed her husband, David Furnish, as their two sons, 11-year-old Zachary and 9-year-old Elijah, who wore matching Dodgers jackets with “Elton” written on the back, cheerfully waved to the crowd. crew.

John then began singing “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” the inevitable final song that gave the “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour its name.

The crowd filled with Rocket Men and Rocket Women, babies in blue jeans, and L.A. ladies, many John’s age but many in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, swayed and sang as they had during the show. two hours with songs like “Rocket Man” and “Little Dancer”. Some dried their tears.

Many wore their own sequins and sequins, sparkly glasses, top hats, feather boas, and in some cases Donald Duck costumes, depicting stages of John’s 55-year career.

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

As the last song finished, John stripped off his robe, revealing another retirement outfit, a green and red tracksuit, and stepped into a small, see-through elevator that took him to an opening at the back. He then could 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 a duet of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”

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

John jumped up from his usual spot at the keyboard, grabbed a microphone, and sang and danced with Dee while their rehearsal pianist, Adam Chester, pounded the keys in his place.

John played “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” in tribute to the four bandmates who have died during his career, and after the first verse he brought in another guest, yelling, “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 1991 song.

Carlile, who was central in Joni Mitchell’s recent return to the stage, she wore her own sequined Dodgers-themed outfit. She sang her verses and did a “Can you believe this?!” She faced the crowd as John put her arm around her and was drenched in applause.

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

“I can’t tell you how it feels to be 75 and have the number 1 record in the whole world,” John said afterwards. “And this was my first success, 52 years ago.”

He started playing piano chords and sang, “It’s kind of funny, this feeling inside,” the opening line of 1970’s “Your Song.”

“That was your song, Los Angeles!” she yelled after herself.

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

“Okay, 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 to the United States in 1970 to the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, and played at a club. called the Troubadour.

The concert, which streamed live on Disney+, was the latest in a three-night adventure at the stadium (and her 103rd show in the Los Angeles area, she told the crowd). The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour kicked off 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 heads to Australia and New Zealand, then moves on to Britain and Europe. He’s scheduled to wrap up in Sweden in July, though he’s made it clear he’s just done touring, not making music.

Many of his backers have been in his band from the beginning, or very close to it, including Nigel Olsson, his drummer since 1969, and Davey Johnstone, his guitarist since 1971, who at 71 stood at the front of the stage and led the band through a harrowing 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 to all night, lyricist Bernie Taupin.

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