“Wishing you health and love, prosperity. Be kind to one another, okay, and farewell. With these words, Elton John concluded the final show of his final US tour on Sunday evening (November 20 ) at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. He rode to the top of the stage in an elevator and disappeared, leaving behind thousands of fans wearing bejeweled eyeglasses, hundreds wrapped in multicolored feather boas, dozens of sequin outfits from the Dodgers and a JoJo Siwa in John’s famous orange feathered devil costume with horns.
To say it’s the end of an era doesn’t begin to do justice to John and what his live shows have meant for the past six decades. From his now-legendary run at the Los Angeles Troubadour in 1970 to 52 years later, few solo artists have left such an imprint while performing live.
Sunday’s show, attended by Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, was his seventh at Dodger Stadium, dating back to his now-iconic performances in October 1975 when Dodger’s glittering uniform (hence the tributes in the audience) made his first appearance, and its 103rd in the Los Angeles area. John noted it was 271st show of the Yellow Brick Farewell Show release, which debuted in 2018.
The sun may have set during the last US show, but the tour will continue through July 2023 with stops in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. By October, the show had already grossed over $660 million from more than 250 US shows. At the end of the tour, it will undoubtedly exceed that of U2 360 tour to be the second highest-grossing tour in Billboard Boxscore history. Only question is if he can capture Ed Sheeran’s The Division Tourwhich grossed $776.4 million.
Billboard Boxscore doesn’t cover John’s entire touring life, but in the three decades he’s collected data, John has grossed over $1.7 billion to make him the highest-grossing solo act in the world. ranking history.
But the numbers are only part of the story. John has always been a magnificent performer, never slowed down by drug addiction, health issues and now, at 75. And his last show of his final US tour at Dodger Stadium, showed why we’ll probably never see an artist like him again in our lifetime.
Here are the best moments from the show:
The extended versions of the classics: They’ve been doing it for years, but it’s still striking to hear John and his band stretch out with bold musculature on tracks like “Rocket Man”, “Levon” and “Take Me to the Pilot”, elevating the songs far beyond the radio versions. They’ve been playing together for decades and have retained a razor-sharp sharpness and blazing musicianship, led by John’s pounding piano playing, Nigel Olsson’s precision drumming and Davey Johnstone’s searing guitar work. Somehow, the extended version of “Levon” transformed the song from the delicate, immaculate studio take into a bop that had the middle-aged man in a sparkly sweater in front of me. who conceived a solo dance worthy of “So You Think You Can”. Dance” and John spectacularly collapsing on his piano the moment it was done.
John’s voice: It’s deeper now and not as smooth and clear as it was in the 70s, but the crystalline tone has been replaced by a richness that shows John’s love for the blues. This affinity always influenced his playing, but not necessarily his voice in the early years.
Her best friend Brandi Carlile: Carlile was one of three special guests on the show that aired live on Disney+ and while it was easy to guess that Kiki Dee and Dua Lipa would sing their hits with John, Carlile’s song was a surprise. She joined him for ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me’, so famously first made into a duet by George Michael and John at 1985’s Live Aid. Stepping out in her own sparkly costume (with Rocket and 1 sporting back), Carlile’s singsong but powerful voice perfectly captured the song’s desperation. However, she couldn’t hide her joy at singing with one of her musical heroes, even throwing an adorable punch as she left the stage. John stepped off the piano to join Dee in delivering a nostalgic rendition of his 1976 classic with Dee, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” which ended strong after a timid start, and for his first performance together with Lipa from their 2021 worldwide hit, “Cold Heart”.
Equipment: With a few exceptions (we’re watching you, disco album from 1979, victim of love), John’s songs have always had a timeless quality to them, whether it’s the simple, elegant beauty of “Your Song” or the raucous, driving “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” or the utter desperation of “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word”. “They look as good and relevant (and gloriously complex) today as they did when they first came out decades ago. John and lyricist Bernie Taupin, who received a warm ovation, are quite simply one of the greatest partners in music history. They’ve been creating together since 1967 and although John no longer tours, he has no indication that he plans to stop making music.
John’s Gratitude: He has always made it his business to make sure the public knows how much he appreciates their support that has allowed him to have such a remarkable career and life. He made sure to thank the fans one last time in a speech that also recalled how long he’s been a part of our lives (and through how many formats). “I was successful in America first, and you bought the singles and the albums and the 8 tracks and tapes, the CDs, and most importantly, you bought the tickets to the shows I love more than anything, that is, playing live,” he said. “So, I want to thank you because you made me. Without America, I wouldn’t be here. So, thank you for all these years of love, generosity and loyalty. The feeling was clearly mutual. To be cliché and obvious, how wonderful life was while Elton John was in the world.
List of Elton John sets from November 20:
“Bennie and the Jets”
“I guess that’s why they call it the blues”
“Have mercy on the criminal”
“Take Me to the Pilot”
“Someone saved my life tonight”
“Candle in the Wind”
“A Friend’s Funeral/Love Lies Bleeding”
“Burn the Mission”
“Sad songs say so much”
“Sorry seems to be the hardest word”
“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
“The female dog is Back”
“I’m still standing”
” Do not break My Heart “
“The Crocodile Rock”
“Saturday night is good for fighting”
“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”