Elton John Says Emotional Goodbye to Dodger Stadium: The poignancy surrounding the first of Elton John‘s shows at Dodger Stadium, the last dates on his final US tour, was palpable. 47 years have passed since the iconic 1975 shows at the same venue, immortalized effectively in the 2019 biopic Rocketman, and on Thursday night there were numerous fans filing in wearing the sequined Dodgers baseball uniform, “Elton 1″ on the back, that the British living legend wore back then.
Under the crisp fall L.A. air, there was a sense of anticipation as the massive crowd waited for the 8 p.m. showtime, but also one of joy. Yes, John is a Brit. But his connection with this city is strong, thanks in large part to those aforementioned shows but also earlier gigs at the Troubadour. John mentioned that, incidentally — expressing his gratitude that the Troubadour is still open.
The stage setup is perfect — the Farewell Yellow Brick Road theme was prominent with the bricks framing the piano. Before a note was played, the stage was set. It was a notably strange choice to play a Rammstein song just before showtime mind you, but we dug it.
The setlist was just about perfect too. The main man took the applause like an orchestral conductor before taking to his piano and powering straight into “Benny & the Jets.” After an admittedly chilly hour on the field, the proto-glam anthem was the perfect way to warm up.
From there, it was just hit after hit, every tune a crowd-pleaser. “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” and “Tiny Dancer” had L.A. singing in unison like an enthusiastic choir, while the rarely performed (prior to this tour) “Have Mercy on the Criminal” felt like a proper treat.
The whole band was note perfect, and it was particularly great to see guitarist and bandleader Davey Johnstone up there. One of the most overlooked figures in rock & roll, Johnstone is John’s Mick Ronson and should be revered as such.
We got one song from the Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy masterpiece– “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.” A lot more from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Not many from the ’80s and beyond. And not many deep cuts.
This was a night for the biggest songs, the sing-alongs, the music that passed Elton John’s name into music legend. So that meant “Rocket Man” and “Candle in the Wind” and “The Bitch is Back” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” During “Crocodile Rock,” the crowd’s duty was to sing the high-pitched “na-na-na” bit, which sounded great from the floor. Probably less so in retrospect.
Elton reappeared for the encores in sequined Dodgers colors, echoing 1975, though this time it was in the form of a gown. The significance was lost on nobody. Back in the day, it was game time. He was ready to play. To take the bull by the horns. This time, once these shows are concluded, it’s time for a very, very well deserved rest.
He played “Cold Heart,” the mash-up of “Sacrifice” and “Rocket Man,” which was a little strange with Dua Lipa’s vocals prerecorded. That said, 1) we saw Dua Lipa do the exact same thing at the Forum earlier in the year and, 2) Dua Lipa joined Elton for the final show on Nov. 20.
If penultimate tune “Your Song” sounded majestic, then “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” blew the walls down. Simply stunning.
If this was indeed Elton John’s L.A. Swanson, he couldn’t have chosen a better way to bow out.
Elton John Says Emotional Goodbye to Dodger Stadium
Editor’s note: The disclaimer below refers to advertising posts and does not apply to this or any other editorial stories. LA Weekly editorial does not and will not sell content.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.