Carl Studna/HST Management
Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | 8:37 a.m.
*Check out this story with all the accompanying photos at VegasDeLuxe.com.*
Shortly before 9 tonight, prolific songwriter and genius superstar entertainer Sir Elton John will sing “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” for the last time at his Colosseum residence in Caesars Palace. It’s a prophetic set of lyrics.
He’ll also sing “The Bridge” for the last time: Every one of us has to face that day. Do you cross the bridge or do you fade away? And everyone of us that ever came to play has to cross the bridge or fade away.
You can bet your last dollar as he sings and plays those two numbers tonight, there will be misty eyes and tears! It’s been a remarkable run, and I’ll be there to chronicle the subdued celebrity crowd at the final show. Pamela Anderson, who appears in the David LaChapelle video used in the production, might be a last-minute guest, I’m reliably told. All rooms and sites at Caesars Palace are sold out for tonight’s farewell.
Caesars Palace officials and AEG Live/Concerts West executives will be on hand, but Elton requested no lavish farewell ceremony. It’s supposed to all be very low key, with flowers simply being delivered to his dressing room before the show.
His Red Piano concert run began Feb. 12, 2004, with a plan for 75 shows over three years. By tonight, he will have notched 242 shows over five years! It’s a remarkable achievement for the creative force who started out in life 62 years ago as Reginald Dwight. Before superstardom, he was a pub piano-playing teenager in my old hometown of Harrow outside London.
There’s a coincidence to Elton’s Las Vegas exit: Onstage rehearsals have just begun at Mandalay Bay for Disney’s The Lion King, for which he composed award-winnings lyrics, scores and songs.
Elton told CNN’s Larry King: “I never thought I’d say I really enjoyed playing Vegas and staying there, but I actually do, and they’ve looked after me so well.” However, it’s also known that he’d begun to chafe at the contract terms and tight, hit-driven-performance format and was really looking forward to his “flight out of town.”
I’m also reliably told that he will jet right out after the cast farewell champagne party at Sea Harbour in Caesars Palace. Master chef Tony Ho will preside over the Asian delicacies being served -- Sir Elton’s favorite cuisine! He is now teaming with Billy Joel for a series of touring concerts reportedly to run three hours, with them performing more than 30 hits each show.
Sir Elton will be missed, but how long we’ll miss him is in question. He told his audience last night:
“It’s been a very good run. I’ve enjoyed every night I’ve been here in Vegas and at Caesars. Even though Cher will now be leaving at the end of this year, something tells me that you’ll be seeing both Celine Dion and me back here once again.”
Check back to Vegas Deluxe tomorrow for the final performance photos and last show report.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground. Read more of Robin's stories at VegasDeLuxe.com.