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The new millennium saw less of Elton in the studio and more expanding his repertoire. His music took the stage by storm with Billy Elliot the Musical and a record breaking 60th sold out show at Madison Square Garden on his 60th birthday.

2000

One Night Only shows.

One Night Only shows.

Elton John returned to the Madison Square Garden stage on October 20, 2000 for two sold-out nights. He was joined on stage by Billy Joel, Mary J. Blige, Ronan Keating, Bryan Adams, Anastacia, and Kiki Dee, who each did a duet with Elton on one of his classic hits.

The shows were recorded for a forthcoming live album, but, as the recording equipment didn’t work on the first night, everything had to go to plan on the second. This gave the album its title, One Night Only.

Rocket Man live at Madison Square Garden 2000.

2001

Elton John performs and collects an award at the 43rd Grammys.

While many were critical of Eminem at the time, Elton was a big fan. At the Grammys in 2001, Eminem took to the stage to perform Stan and as the 1st verse finished, the curtain dropped around the anonymous keyboard player to reveal Elton, who then sung Dido’s parts in the chorus of the song.

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Elton picked up an award for the Best Musical Show Album for Aida, with Tim Rice.

Elton John - Written In The Stars featuring LeAnn Rimes.

Later that year, Elton released his first studio album since 1997's The Big Picture.

Later that year, Elton released his first studio album since 1997's The Big Picture.

Songs From The West Coast was seen by many as Elton returning to his roots and the sound of the early 1970s. This   was helped by the fact that Elton's string arranger from that time, Paul Buckmaster, returned for five songs on this album.

The album also earned Elton a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for I Want Love. The video for that song, directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, featured actor Robert Downey Jr. lip-synching the entire song in one take.

The Red Piano

Conceived by Elton John and David LaChapelle, The Red Piano residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas was originally planned as 75 shows over three years. When the curtains closed on the final show in March 2009, there had been 248 shows in total.

The Red Piano in Las Vegas.
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The Red Piano in Las Vegas.

2005

Billy Elliot the Musical

Billy Elliot the Musical premiered at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London’s West End on May 12 2005. The musical is based on the 2000 film and features music by Elton, with Lee Hall (who wrote the film’s screenplay) providing the lyrics.

Left: Elton on stage with the cast of Billy Elliot. Right: Elton and original Billy Elliot Liam Mower in 2005.

It’s not very often you can say a film changes your life. I had no idea what I was walking into when I accepted an invitation to the premiere of Billy Elliot at the Cannes Film Festival.
Elton John

On June 18th 2005, Elton held a benefit performance on the pitch at Watford Football Club. Lifelong Watford supporter Elton, became the football club's chairman aged 29.

June 18th 2005 - Elton on stage at Watford Football Club.
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June 18th 2005 - Elton on stage at Watford Football Club.

2007

On March 25, 2007, Elton celebrated his 60th birthday by playing a record-breaking 60th sold-out show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

In addition to the regular live band, Elton was also accompanied for several songs by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and was joined on stage by comedians Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams.

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