Elton John Talks Ending His Touring Career & Going Out With A Bang In Return To Dodger Stadium Contenders TV: Docs + Unscripted

The legendary Elton John had some definite ideas after making the decision to have his current epic worldwide tour be his last. He wanted to do something meaningful and emotional that was truly significant. He did just that in a historic global live streaming concert on Disney+ in November.

Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium was the result, and it returned Sir Elton to the venue he famously played early in his career in 1975, even donning a version of the Dodger uniform he wore then. John and fellow executive producers David Furnish and Ben Winston joined me at our Contenders TV Docs + Unscripted event to talk about how they pulled it all off.

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“We wanted to go out with a bang,” the superstar said. “And we wanted to end in Los Angeles because my career started in America at The Troubadour in 1970. And then we did the the wonderful concert in ‘75 at Dodger Stadium. … I thought it would be a wonderful thing to close the circle to play Dodger Stadium as the last show in Los Angeles.”

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He continued: “I couldn’t have been happier with the way it all turned out. I mean, we did three shows, and obviously the last night was the live show. There was so many cameras and so many bells and whistles going on. I didn’t notice anything, which was a tribute to the people who organized it and who filmed because I just concentrated what I was doing. … it felt magical. Luckily, it was magical.”

Furnish said they had been working on this for seven years, longer than originally planned due to the interruption of the pandemic, but he knew they had to make it unforgettable.

“We wanted to build — I almost call it a throne — that Elton could sit in and be celebrated, you know, to really mark the milestone of 50-plus years of touring in a memorable way. And in a way I think the fans would expect … a bit of larger than life.”

Furnish said they also wanted to honor “the gravitas of those songs and the way they’ve touched people’s lives.”

Winston, who produced this year’s Grammys as well as just wrapping up a run on The Late Late Show with James Corden this week, is no stranger to live TV, but this project was truly special.

“There was a huge amount going into it,” he said. “I think for us mostly you’re just nervous on live television, that you’re not going to let anybody down. You’re not going to let Elton down or David or Disney. But it was a huge production. We had 28 cameras, and they were digital film cameras as well, which is quite a rare thing to do. But we really wanted to make sure that we were capturing this not just for the moment but also for history.”

John’s tour is going to wrap up in Sweden this summer — and he swears this is it. He wants to spend more time with his family, including Furnish and their two young sons. Never say never again?

“I’m not going to tour again,” he said. “There may be the odd show, but I’m not touring. Touring is exhausting for me now, and it takes me away from my family and my children. I finish on July the 8th, and I’m not concentrating on anything else apart from that date. And then I have a little bit of freedom. I can relax. But I would have done 330 shows on this tour by that point.”

No matter what happens, this extraordinary moment in Dodger Stadium is a permanent and indelible record of Elton John the way he would like to be remembered.

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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