A teary Sir Elton John said Sunday, addressing his sold-out crowd during what was not only the final gig of his three-night stand at Los Angeles’s Dodger Stadium, but his final North American stadium show ever.
Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour itself has been a long journey, indeed: John announced his retirement from touring almost five years ago, back in January 2018.
During the past four or so years, he has 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’s also collaborated with Lady Gaga and Ed Sheeran; co-penned a new musical about Tammy Faye Messner with Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears and a stage adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada with Shaina Taub; and even coaxed Britney Spears out of recording retirement. He has played a whopping 272 concerts, including one on the White House lawn.
On Sunday, as 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 thrilling piano-key thumps of “Bennie and the Jets” opened the show. Only once during his marathon set — when he melodramatically slumped over his piano, winded, after jamming on an epic and extended version of one of his favorite compositions, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” — did he show any actual sign of human frailty.
But for two all-too-fleeting fleeting hours, John delighted his audience of superstar fans (including Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Joni Mitchell, Billie Jean King, H.E.R, Donatella Versace, Angela Bassett, Jude Law, Heidi Klum, Neil Patrick Harris, Christopher Lloyd, Kirsten Dunst, and Golden Globe-winning Rocketman actor Taron Egerton) as well as superfans cosplaying in bedazzled Dodgers uniforms, oversized rhinestone sunglasses, “I’m Still Standing” summer suits and porkpie hats, enough sequins to fill an entire JOANN Fabric and Crafts superstore, and Donald Duck costumes like the one John wore at Central Park in 1980. (Jojo Siwa was even spotted in an orange-horned devil onesie, complete with a massive red-feathered wingspan that likely blocked the viewing of half the row behind her.)
Taupin wasn’t the only special guest at this lovefest. Brandi Carlile joined in for “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (dedicated to John’s late band members John LoPresti, Dee Murray, Roger Pope, Guy Babylon, and Bob Birch), wearing her own fashion-forward take on Elton cosplay with a blue/gray/white colorblock “Rocket 1” suit and looking adorably starstruck during this entire pinch-me moment.
Kiki Dee, who’d 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 with Elton for their 2021 hit “Cold Heart,” which had just won Collaboration of the Year honors at the American Music Awards ceremony a few miles away.