For one last time in Las Vegas, Elton John shows he’s still standing

By John Taylor (contact)

Friday, Nov. 4, 2022 | 2 a.m.

The lyrics to Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” — just one of a plethora of the singer, pianist and composer’s legendary hit songs — include the lines “Maybe you’ll get a replacement. There’s plenty like me to be found.”

Fans inside Allegiant Stadium Tuesday for his 469th and last-ever concert in Las Vegas know there are no replacements to be found when it comes to Elton John.

The Piano Man, who has been a commanding presence on the pop music scene since the early 1970s, delighted the packed stadium crowd for more than two hours on his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road — The Final Tour” stop in Las Vegas. The tour, which ends its North American portion later this month with three shows at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, is his last, John insists. He and his husband are parents of two boys, ages 8 and 6, and the 75-year-old says he wants to dedicate himself to being with them.

His first Las Vegas concert was Sept. 15, 1971, at the old Convention Center. Since then, Las Vegas has been host to more of his concerts than any other city in the world, thanks largely to “The Red Piano” and “The Million Dollar Piano” long-term residencies, at Caesars Palace.

“This is the last time I’m ever going to do Las Vegas,” John told the audience early in the show, “so I better do a decent job.”

It was more than decent.

In all, John played 23 songs off 11 of his albums. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” his 1973 double LP with worldwide sales of more than 20 million, accounted for five of those songs including the opening “Benny and the Jets” and the title song walk-off.

In between were a medley of John’s greatest hits, including “Philadelphia Freedom,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time),” “Levon,” “Candle in the Wind,” Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and “I’m Still Standing.”

Ever the flamboyant showman, John first appeared on stage in a black sequined suit with tails, white ruffled shirt, red sneakers and red, bejeweled sunglasses with pink lenses. The back of the jacket featured a burst of sequins surrounding his name. Later in the show, he changed into a pink and silver-sequined suit, white shirt, satiny-pink sneakers and green sunglasses. His final outfit was a floor-length blue robe, with a white “EJ” monogram, worn over a black-and-red tracksuit.

It was the songs, though — not the outfits — that drew the crowd of all ages to Allegiant. Throughout the night, but especially in the second half of the concert, they stood for, sang with, danced and cheered on the pop icon.

During the up-tempo “Crocodile Rock,” John let the crowd take over the “Laa, la-la-la-la-laa” chorus. Same with the “Saturday, Saturday, Saturday” portions of “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.”

John, who for years hasn’t hit high notes like he did in his earlier days, nonetheless showed off a strong voice. His piano playing — often highlighted on two large video screens flanking the stage — was flawless.

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As he ascended from the stage at night’s end, a clearly delighted John waved farewell to his equally delighted Las Vegas audience.

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