Elton John bids U.S. ‘farewell’ with star-studded Dodger Stadium concert

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Photo courtesy of Disney+

Autumn Okuszka, Features Reporter

On a hot and humid day in mid-July, I sat with a crowd of 40,000 people at Comerica Park for my first time seeing Sir Elton John, the “Rocket Man,” in concert. I sang along to “Crocodile Rock” and was moved when he honored Detroit’s own Aretha Franklin before performing “Border Song.” I left that night believing it would be the last time I got to see a legend like John perform before he truly walked the “yellow brick road” into retirement.

That was until Disney+ announced they would be streaming John’s final concert in the U.S. as it happened live at Dodger Stadium. It’s a place that holds a lot of history — not only for the baseball team it houses, but for John himself. 

John first performed at Dodger Stadium in Oct. 1975 at the height of his career, memorably dressed in a sequined Dodgers baseball uniform and cap. It was only fitting that John ended the U.S. leg of his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour at the stadium where it all began. 

“It was vital I finish in Los Angeles — Dodger Stadium has history, and I have history,” John said. “I want to go out inside a place that has [an] atmosphere, an aura to it. I’m revisiting the past in a hopefully glorious kind of way.”

While 50,000 people packed the iconic Dodger Stadium, over 2,000 miles away I got to enjoy the concert from the comfort of my own home. 

The show opened with interviews with John as well as an abundance of well-wishes from people he has crossed paths with throughout his life. Some of the most notable messages came from President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, Quincy Jones, Lil Nas X and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — with the latter pair thanking John for being a good friend to Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana.

Then began John’s performance, with a setlist filled with his most memorable songs. The only variation was the musical guests John had accompany him on some of his greatest hits.

John’s first guest was Brandi Carlile, who joined him on “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Next was a duet between John and Kiki Dee, reuniting after having their song “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” climb to the top of the charts in 1976. Last but not least, John performed “Cold Heart” with Dua Lipa —  a recent hit dominating the charts over 50 years after John’s first album.

The stars on stage weren’t the only ones in attendance, however. Celebrities seen in the audience included Neil Patrick Harris, Jojo Siwa and Taron Egerton — who played John in the 2019 biopic “Rocketman.” 

John did not don his original Dodgers getup, as he stated in a recent interview that he “wasn’t the same size” he was back in 1975. Instead, he referenced the iconic outfit by wearing what he is most comfortable in during the encore — a robe. 

John’s last concert in the U.S. was not only a sight to see for those in attendance, but for people across the globe. It almost felt as if I was seated in that iconic stadium watching the iconic Rocketman before he rode off into the sunset.

Even though John is retiring from touring, his legacy lives on through his fans, his music and amazing concert films like this one. 

“Elton John Live: Farewell from Dodger Stadium” is available to stream now on Disney+.