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Elton John no longer standing on Vegas

THE Rocket Man bid farewell to the Las Vegas Strip yesterday after five years and 241 shows at Caesars Palace - but said it won't necessarily be a long, long time before he returns.

Wearing a bright red shirt that matched his piano and a coat emblazoned with "Las Vegas Pirates" on its back and "Captain Elton" on its right sleeve, Elton John rolled through his hits and reflected on his time at the Colosseum, a stage he famously shared with Celine Dion, Bette Midler and Cher.

"The ex-home of Celine Dion ... and now it's the ex-home of Elton John as well," the 62-year-old said. John said later in the show that he'd like to see Dion play the venue again.

"Who are you going to get to fill in our shoes now?" he said. "You've got Bette Midler, you've got Cher. It's gonna be the Village People next."

John initially signed on for 75 shows over three years when his run began in February 2004, but casino officials say the deal was expanded because of demand.

"I really have enjoyed every single moment of this engagement," the five-time Grammy winner said after opening the show with "Bennie and the Jets."

John's tour with Billy Joel has the second-highest average gross box office revenue with a ticket price of US$115.84, according to Pollstar, the concert industry trade publication. Each show averages a gross US$2.2 million, behind only Britney Spears, Pollstar said.

Many audience members seated close to the stage Wednesday night gave the pop singer a standing ovation after each hit he played, including "Candle in the Wind," ''Rocket Man" and "Tiny Dancer."

Several of the songs were combined with complex video productions created by famed photographer and director David LaChapelle. The offbeat music videos included appearances by singer Justin Timberlake, actress Pamela Anderson and actor Paul Reubens.

"One day I might even see you in Vegas, OK? But until then, I love you," John said before ending the show with "Your Song" and kissing an audience member's hand as he exited the stage.

"I hope you don't mind that I put down in words," he sang. "How wonderful life is while you're in the world."


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