Something I never expected to see in Dodger Stadium during Elton John’s last live concert in North America — a peek at his belly. But due to the poor fit of the icon’s first wardrobe choice (a sequined tuxedo jacket with tails, and pants that needed adjusting every time he stood up to acknowledge the crowd), at a certain point a bit of pink skin became visible through a gap in his button-down shirt.
This tiny wardrobe malfunction was the only notable misstep during an intense marathon of music seeped in legacy, and it proved to be charming, in a way — a moment of human fallibility that felt all too relatable. Especially because this semi-final stop on the “Farewell Yellow Brick Road: The Final Tour” was otherwise transcendent, an invitation into the passion Elton John has for his work and a celebration of his decades making some of our most beloved songs.
Things kicked off a little later than anticipated (attendees had been warned that the show would start promptly at 8:00 p.m. PT, though the show didn’t actually begin until closer to 8:15). But when the moment came, the crowd was summoned to its feet by the pounding opening notes of “Bennie and the Jets” thundering from the piano at center stage, in center field.
While the concert was broadcast around the world on Disney+, John played primarily to the live crowd, a packed stadium more than ready for the greatest hits along with a surprising number of deeper cuts. The odds were pretty good that you heard your favorite Elton John song over the course of the evening — but there were also a few surprises mixed into the setlist.
The first several songs stayed pretty close to the versions we remember from decades of radio play; John dedicated “Border Song” to the late Aretha Franklin, reflecting on her last live performance at his 2017 AIDS Foundation gala. “It’s a surreal experience to be in the company of genius,” the genius musician said without a trace of irony.
“Tiny Dancer” remained transcendent as ever, though the concert really began to feel special with the treatment of “Rocket Man,” which John and the band extended for several minutes into a truly otherworldly soundscape. And as the show continued, deeper cuts were introduced, creating a richer journey into his vast catalog.