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May 15, 2018

Elton Says Goodbye to The Million Dollar Piano

450 shows.
1.8 million fans.
One million dollar piano.

The high-rollers of Las Vegas' famous casinos are accustomed to astronomical numbers but Elton John's residencies at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace have upped the ante.

As Elton's second blockbuster Las Vegas residency, The Million Dollar Piano, comes to an end this week, we look through the numbers that sum up his two incredible shows.

★ The May 17 performance will mark his 450th at The Colosseum since debuting The Red Piano on February 12, 2004. This is by a mile the most shows he has performed in one venue.

★ Elton performed The Red Piano 243 times at The Colosseum. It was originally booked for 75 shows over three years, but the agreement was soon extended, and the final Red Piano show took place on April 22, 2009.

★ The five-year run sold approximately 1 million tickets.

(Photo: Marc Caulfield)
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(Photo: Marc Caulfield)

Elton with The Red Piano in June, 2008 (Photo: Carl Studna)

★ The setlist for The Red Piano consisted of 15 songs taken from nine albums (and two non-album singles) released in four different decades.

  1. Bennie And The Jets (1973)
  2. Philadelphia Freedom (1975)
  3. Believe (1995)
  4. Daniel (1973)
  5. Rocket Man (1972)
  6. I'm Still Standing (1983)
  7. I Want Love (2001)
  8. Tiny Dancer (1971)
  9. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (1974)
  10. The Bitch Is Back (1974)
  11. Candle In The Wind (1973)
  12. I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues (1983)
  13. Pinball Wizard (1975)
  14. Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting) (1973)
  15. Your Song (1970)

★ The five additional members of Elton’s band for The Red Piano were: Guy Babylon on keyboards, Bob Birch on bass and backing vocals, Davey Johnstone on guitars and backing vocals, John Mahon on percussion and backing vocals, and Nigel Olsson on drums and backing vocals.

The Million Dollar Piano, 2015 (Photo: Denise Truscello)
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The Million Dollar Piano, 2015 (Photo: Denise Truscello)

★ The Million Dollar Piano was revealed on September 28, 2011 – almost exactly 40 years since Elton first played Las Vegas at the Convention Center Rotunda on September 15, 1971.

★ Created especially for Elton by Yamaha, the Million Dollar Piano is an engineering marvel. It features more than 68 LED video screens and took nearly four years to construct.

★ Elton has performed at the Million Dollar Piano a total of 207 times over six and a half years… an average of once every 11 days.

Yamaha built Elton's Million Dollar Piano, featuring more than 68 video screens (Photo: Carl Studna)

Yamaha built Elton's Million Dollar Piano, featuring more than 68 video screens (Photo: Carl Studna)

★ The original set list for The Million Dollar Piano consisted of 19 songs taken from 11 albums (and one non-album single) released in four different decades.

  1. The Bitch Is Back (1974)
  2. Bennie And The Jets (1973)
  3. Rocket Man (1972)
  4. Levon (1971)
  5. Tiny Dancer (1971)
  6. Your Song (1970)
  7. Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters (1972)
  8. Better Off Dead (1975)
  9. Indian Sunset (1971)
  10. Blue Eyes (1982)
  11. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
  12. I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues (1983)
  13. Philadelphia Freedom (1975)
  14. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (1974)
  15. Hey Ahab (2010)
  16. I'm Still Standing (1983)
  17. Crocodile Rock (1972)
  18. Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting) (1973)
  19. Circle Of Life (1994)

★ One song was swapped out during the run: Blue Eyes, sung in tribute to actress Elizabeth Taylor, was replaced by Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny), in honour of John Lennon, beginning on October 10, 2012.

Elton with band members Kim Bullard, Matt Bissonette, Nigel Olsson, Ray Cooper and Davey Johnstone (L-R) (Photo: Denise Truscello)

Elton with band members Kim Bullard, Matt Bissonette, Nigel Olsson, Ray Cooper and Davey Johnstone (L-R) (Photo: Denise Truscello)

★ The 19 films and videos used in The Million Dollar Piano were completed in less than four months, achieving a scarily tight deadline: 10 computers at a time working 24 hours a day only create a few seconds’ worth of film in any one day. Overall it took 175 people to create the 19 films.

★ Elton’s band for The Million Dollar Piano included 13 musicians as the residency began. At its close, the band consisted of: Elton, Kim Bullard on keyboards, Matt Bissonette on bass and backing vocals, Davey Johnstone on guitars and backing vocals, John Mahon on percussion and backing vocals, Ray Cooper on percussion, and Nigel Olsson on drums and backing vocals.

★ Combining attendance for both The Red Piano and The Million Dollar Piano (both are available on Blu ray and DVD), approximately 1.8 million people have seen Elton perform at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

★ So far, Elton has performed in Las Vegas a total of 485 times.

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