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Elton John ends 14-year run with flourish, on to royal wedding

Elton John gave us one last blast on Thursday night, ending his 14-year residency with a fancy cape, a performance filled with hits, and two fancy cakes.

“We’re going to go out on a high. We’ve had the most magnificent time here,” John told the audience after showing off a glittery gold cape that reminded the audience of Liberace’s legendary stagecraft. Later, cakes shaped as a grand piano and a pair of platform boots were rolled to the stage.

“We’re finishing here, then we’re starting, in September, to start our big farewell tour,” John continued. “We’re really looking forward to that. But meanwhile, we’re just going to concentrate on tonight and have a fantastic last show.”

John’s next gig is at another palatial venue — the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle early Saturday morning in Windsor, England. It’s not been reported if he’ll play the actual ceremony, or the reception. John and his husband, David Furnish, have a home in Windsor.

John referred to his sendoff, “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” world tour starting this fall. But Thursday, his accomplished, airtight backing band rocked the Colosseum one last time, with fan favorites “Philadelphia Freedom,” “I’m Still Standing,” and the show-closing “Circle of Life” performed to dazzling LED scenes at the back of the stage.

John has been relentlessly generous, and groundbreaking, in his technical artistry throughout his 450-show series, beginning with David LaChapelle’s work on “The Red Piano.” LaChapelle even filmed segments of the video for “Pinball Wizard” at Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.

That was a decade ago, a testament to Sir Elton’s long run in Vegas, which started just two years after Celine Dion opened the theater. In all, John performed 243 shows in “Red Piano,” and another 207 in “Million Dollar Piano” — the instrument itself outfitted with a video display — for the even 450. He played for 1.8 million fans at the hotel, and another 4,286 at Thursday’s sold-out show, with Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner and hotel GM Sean McBurney in attendance.

The night ended as hundreds of balloons stamped with “E” and “450” were dropped on the audience. Many ticket-holders popped those balloons and stuffed them in their pockets, a fitting memento from the end of one of the great residencies ever on the Strip.

Contact John Katsilometes at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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