Sir Elton John pays tribute to ‘inspiring’ musicians at final US tour show

The musical megastar was joined at Dodger Stadium for duets by special guests including Dua Lipa, Brandi Carlile and Kiki Dee.
The musical megastar was joined at Dodger Stadium for duets by special guests including Dua Lipa, Brandi Carlile and Kiki Dee.

Sir Elton John has paid tribute to the many musicians he has collaborated with during his lengthy career, saying they “inspired me to play better” as he gave his final tour performance in North America.

The musical megastar told crowds at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles that “without America, I wouldn’t be here” during a show that included pyrotechnics, spectacular visuals and a surprise guest appearance from Dua Lipa.

The 75-year-old singer has been performing at multiple venues around the US and Canada as part of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.

In the past week he has played three nights at the Los Angeles stadium, with the final performance on Sunday.

Elton John Live: Farewell from Dodger Stadium
Sir Elton John performs live at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

Sir Elton took to the stage wearing a bejewelled suit jacket with large glittery lapels and launched into his first songs of the evening, Bennie And The Jets and Philadelphia Freedom.

“Tonight is a very special night,” he told crowds at the 56,000-seat arena. “We are creating history tonight, with the first ever global livestream. I’m so glad to see you, Dodger Stadium.”

Throughout the evening he bombarded crowds with a barrage of hits including Tiny Dancer, Rocketman, I’m Still Standing, and Candle In The Wind, which he famously sang at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.

The Brit Awards 2021 – Show – London
Sir Elton was joined on stage by fellow British pop megastar Dua Lipa (John Marshall/PA)

Sir Elton dedicated his performance of Border Song to the “lasting genius and legacy” of Aretha Franklin, telling crowds that the US singer’s cover of the track had helped launch his stateside career.

“Tonight is a very special night for me, a very emotional night for me, it’s been a long journey,” he said.

He described meeting and performing with Franklin, including a show shortly before the singer died in 2018.

“It was a surreal experience to be in the company of genius,” he said.

As well as British superstar Dua Lipa, he also brought US singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile and English singer Kiki Dee on stage to duet with him.

He and Carlile duetted on Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, which Sir Elton dedicated to late members of his band.

He said that all the musicians he had played with during his lengthy career “inspired me to play better”.

Dee performed her 1974 chart-topping song Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, which the pair duetted on in 1976.

Sir Elton ended the main set with hit track Saturday Night’s Alright, which concluded with fireworks and confetti cannons.

Moments later he returned to the stage to begin his encore, dressed in a sparkling Dodgers-themed dressing gown reminiscent of the outfit he wore during his 1975 show at the stadium.

He invited fellow British superstar Dua Lipa on stage to sing with him and the pair shared an embrace before performing a rendition of their hit song Cold Heart.

Ahead of his closing number, Sir Elton told the crowd: “Without America, I wouldn’t be here.”

He thanked members of his crew before bringing his long-time collaborator and friend Bernie Taupin on stage to share the applause.

Sir Elton said he was bringing his touring to a close to spend more time with his family, before also bringing them out to further cheers.

“I wish you love and prosperity,” he said before beginning Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Sir Elton’s show at the stadium on Thursday was his first return to the venue in almost five decades, having last performed there in 1975.

Ahead of the performance, he shared a post to Instagram of himself poised over his piano wearing a bejewelled Dodgers team kit, in front of the packed-out stadium.

Sir Elton previously said that Los Angeles had been “the setting for some of the most important moments in my life”.

“It’s a place that Bernie and I were inspired by when we created music, it’s the first place I ever performed in the USA and it’s where I’ve chosen to perform my final ever North American tour show,” he said when he first announced the tour.

With his LA shows concluded, Sir Elton will next visit Australia and New Zealand before embarking on European tour dates.

Among the dates he played this year were special concerts at Vicarage Road, the home of Watford Football Club, of which Sir Elton became chairman in 1976.