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HomeEntertainmentThe solar goes down on Elton John at Dodger Stadium

The solar goes down on Elton John at Dodger Stadium

Elton John had already worn two totally different bedazzled fits — the primary one made him appear like a lion tamer, the second a wonderful cupboard secretary — by the point he reached the encore of his live performance Thursday evening at Dodger Stadium. However as one among music’s best residing showmen, the 75-year-old pop legend knew his viewers was ready to see one explicit outfit. So when he ambled again onstage just some minutes after having ripped by “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” he did it in a glittering white-and-blue Dodgers bathrobe with matching ball cap and glasses — a callback, after all, to the enduring sequined Dodgers uniform he poured himself into whereas performing on the similar spot in 1975.

Again then John was cementing his standing because the starriest of superstars with two reveals he rightfully described in his 2019 memoir as “a complete triumph.” On Thursday, almost half a century later, he was kicking off a three-night stand at Dodger Stadium that he says will function his last American gigs as he approaches the top of a globe-circling farewell tour. “Tonight is the 269th show on the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour,” he informed the gang, including that it was his one hundred and first present within the Los Angeles space and his fifth time enjoying Dodger Stadium. (Sunday’s finale can be livestreamed on Disney+ and can function particular visitors together with Dua Lipa, Brandi Carlile and the singer’s outdated pal Kiki Dee.)

A lot has occurred since John launched the Farewell Yellow Brick Street tour — so named after the smash 1973 double LP with which it virtually shares a title — 4 years in the past in 2018. For one factor, COVID disrupted his rigorously plotted highway plans, which is why the present will head to Australia and Europe subsequent 12 months earlier than lastly wrapping for good (after having develop into the third-highest-grossing tour in historical past, with ticket gross sales of greater than $600 million). Extra fortunately, John noticed his life dramatized on the massive display screen in 2019’s splashy “Rocketman” biopic and hit the highest 10 of Billboard’s Scorching 100 for the primary time for the reason that late ’90s together with his glossy Dua Lipa duet, “Cold Heart.” This previous summer season he charted even larger with one other shrewdly conceived collaboration, “Hold Me Closer,” which has him and Britney Spears mashing up a number of of his oldies together with the deathless “Tiny Dancer.”

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Taking within the sight of hundreds of followers dressed Thursday in tinted specs and feather boas — to not point out an bold few in sparkly full-body replicas of John’s Dodgers uniform — you couldn’t assist however take into consideration the essential groundwork he laid for peacocking pop stars reminiscent of Harry Types and Dangerous Bunny.

But for all of the legacy-burnishing of the previous few years, this 2½-hour present was much less about mythology than about music: Main a rock-solid six-piece band crammed with guys he’s been enjoying with for many years (together with drummer Nigel Olsson, percussionist Ray Cooper and guitarist Davey Johnstone), John carried out almost two dozen of his best-known tunes like a person who nonetheless will get a kick out of plopping down behind a piano and letting it rip.

He took lengthy, florid solos in “Rocket Man” and “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” and bashed out funky barrelhouse grooves in “Take Me to the Pilot” and “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues.” He performed with tempo in “Bennie and the Jets,” stretching out the destructive house within the track’s swaggering glam-R&B beat, and tweaked the shapely melody of “Tiny Dancer,” clearly taking pleasure in toying with an viewers in full sing-along mode. He let his musicians get their jollies too, making room for Johnstone to peel off a collection of sizzling licks in “Have Mercy on the Criminal” and directing the gang’s consideration to Cooper’s climactic second on the tympani drums in “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.”

Elton John at Dodger Stadium.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Instances)

John’s sturdy vocals are in all probability the strongest of anybody from his technology nonetheless on the market enjoying reveals; he could possibly be playful and growly, as in “Philadelphia Freedom,” or lushly sentimental, as in “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” which he devoted to a few of the bandmates he’s misplaced over time. Often he’d modify a skyscraping melody to higher go well with a spread that’s lowered as he’s gotten older. However then he’d come again within the subsequent track and nail the excessive notice everybody was listening to of their heads, as in a stirring tackle “Levon.”

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A number of heritage acts with catalogs the dimensions of John’s — Paul McCartney, say — will shorten a few of their tunes in live performance to make room on the set checklist for extra; John did the other, forsaking the medley method to tack on a rowdy New Orleans-style coda to “Rocket Man” and ending “Burn Down the Mission” with a foot-stomping gospel breakdown. He was letting the songs breathe, and why not? As he moved from the soulful “Border Song” to the driving “Sad Songs (Say So Much)” to the robust and glittery “The Bitch Is Back,” you needed to marvel on the intricate constructions he’d devised for Bernie Taupin’s lyrics — the flowery buildings, the false endings, the little entice doorways that drop you into what looks like a wholly new track till you sense a second earlier than he modifies course that, nope, he’s nonetheless singing “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding.”

Put it this manner: I can’t bear in mind the final time I used to be to this point contained in the music at a stadium present {that a} confetti blast truly stunned me, because it did right here on the finish of that rollicking “Saturday Night.” As soon as John got here again out in that shimmering bathrobe — the Vegas-tasteful stage set resembled nothing a lot as a Cheesecake Manufacturing facility, by the way in which — he did “Cold Heart,” then bragged for a second about its chart success earlier than singing “Your Song,” which he identified had been his first hit greater than 50 years earlier. (Hey, an icon’s work is rarely carried out.) However John closed by introducing — what else? — “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” with a heartfelt due to his followers for getting his information and dressing up at his reveals and customarily maintaining him in enterprise for therefore lengthy.

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“I love to play live, and I love to see your faces,” he mentioned, and he sounded ready to surrender solely a type of issues.

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