David Becker / WireImage
Sunday, March 30, 2014 | 6 p.m.
Fizz grand opening
It was a double celebration for Sir Elton John’s return to Las Vegas this weekend. First up was his 67th birthday last Wednesday and then Friday night’s all-star bash combined with the official grand opening of his champagne lounge Fizz.
Additionally, as Elton makes plans for a May wedding at home in England, it is confirmed that he’s in contract extension talks with Caesars Palace officials for his show “The Million Dollar Piano.”
On Saturday night, Elton began a new month’s run of his “Million Dollar Piano” residency at the Colosseum, and Matt Lauer of NBC’s “Today” filmed all the weekend excitement and attended the show with his family.
On Monday’s “Today” show of Matt’s interview here, Elton and longtime partner David Furnish are expected to reveal their decision to officially wed, as gay marriage became legal in Britain this weekend.
The couple entered into a civil partnership in London in 2005 and has been together for more than 20 years.
In an exclusive one-on-one interview late Saturday night at Fizz, David told me: “We will fly to London to get married next month after this run of Caesars shows. It will be a much quieter, smaller ceremony than the party we had in 2005.
“This will be solemn and dignified, and our sons will be there as witnesses. I can’t give you an exact date yet because we have to finalize our travels with Zachery getting ready for preschool and a couple of Elton’s concerts, but definitely in May.
“Getting married properly puts a solid rock under our relationship. It also makes us equals and legal with everybody else. There’s no distinction anymore. It’s exactly what a gay couple wants to be — fully and legally accepted.
“We have had a great relationship now for more than 20 years. Getting married will only make it even better. It changes the dynamic because now it’s honest and legal in front of everybody. Finally, it’s acceptance.”
David also revealed for the first time (at least to me) that Elton and he had decided to work with the same surrogate and the same mother for the birth of their two children Zachery, now 3, and Elijah, 1. I had to ask who was Dad to whom!
He laughed: “Now that’s the subject of a lot of conversations over dinner back in London. We both are! We both donated. We’re certain as Zachery and Elijah get a little older, we’ll find out as they take on certain characteristics and looks, but we can safely say they are definitely half-brothers.”
Talking more about their relationship, he added: “We both think there is a massive difference between calling someone your partner and calling them your husband. Partner is an impersonal word and doesn’t accurately describe the love we have for each other.
“As a high-profile couple, we feel that it is our duty to marry to make sure that everyone knows that this is something that many gay men never dreamed would happen.”
Elton added: “I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life. I love him and am blessed to have him. He is the best partner I could ask for as we raise our two sons.”
After touring Fizz for the first time Friday night, Elton said: “I’m very proud how David’s vision has turned out and how beautifully he’s designed and decorated it. Congratulations to everybody involved in this project. Las Vegas desperately needs this.
“Here I am celebrating my birthday. Another year whizzes by, and sooner or later it will be the 70th, but who cares? I’m not counting!”
David, who is the creative director of Fizz, led the “Happy Birthday” star sing-along for Elton and added: “Champagne is a celebration of life, and this is a place where we can now go with our friends. Las Vegas is a second home for us since we spend so much time here.”
I brought up the subject of Elton renewing his Caesars contract. “Those talks are underway. We’re not going anywhere, particularly now that we have Fizz here. We really enjoy being here in Las Vegas.”
As a three-tiered, black-and-white piano keyboard-designed birthday cake was delivered, Kelly Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne, Quincy Jones, Brandon Flowers, David Spade, Nicolas Cage, The Band Perry, Thomas Hitzlsperger, members of Scissor Sisters, Britt Ekland, Kevin Farley and Peter Asher raised glasses of champagne to toast the birthday boy, his return to Las Vegas and the grand opening.
Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue of Donoghue Photography for his red carpet photos and David Becker of WireImage for his birthday photos inside Fizz and to contributing videographer Richard Corey for his red carpet video posted on YouTube.
Sharon Osbourne told us: “Whenever Elton is performing in Las Vegas, I always come to see him.” David Spade added: “I’ve seen his show before, and I will see it again. I’ve been a big fan since sixth grade.”
Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry said that they’d come to the Strip early for the ACM Awards for The Week Vegas Goes Country: “We came for a week’s vacation to see as many shows as we can, and Elton is first on Saturday night.”
The gorgeous blonde added: “Next weekend’s ACM Awards make it my favorite weekend of the year to be in Las Vegas. It’s all great fun and irreverent.”
Elton had the last word: “If I could have just one person here to sing ‘Happy Birthday,’ it would be Elvis Presley because he was everything Las Vegas.”
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.
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Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.