Even as he nears retirement, Elton John appears determined to breathe new life into “The Long Goodbye,” the 1953 Raymond Chandler novel that Robert Altman directed as a film in 1973.
No, the legendary English musician is not about to become an author of detective books or a film noir director. But with his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” retirement tour scheduled to last at least three years, it is clear John is all about the long goodbyes.
“After the tour finishes, I’m very much looking forward to closing off that chapter of my life by saying farewell to life on the road. I need to dedicate more time to raising my children,” John said in a statement released a year ago today when the tour was announced.
He brings his farewell concert trek here Tuesday for a sold-out show at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Until last month that venue was called Valley View Casino Center, although it was still known as the San Diego Sports Arena when John first performed there in 1972. He was 25 at the time and already so popular that he returned here just a year later for a show at Balboa Stadium.
Depending on your age, you may know John best for his bevy of hit songs and albums in the 1970s and ’80s, his film scores (“The Lion King”), his Broadway musicals (“Aida,” “Billy Elliot”), his charitable work (the Elton John AIDS Foundation), or some combination thereof.
Chances are also good that many fans are familiar with his colorful stage attire over the years, which has included Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse costumes, evening gowns, a Statue of Liberty get-up, and the extravagant, nearly all-feathers outfit that he wore on a fall 1974 tour and again on a 1977 episode of “The Muppets.”
John’s stage attire is comparatively more demure at his farewell tour concerts, some of which have stretched to three hours. Happily, his best songs are so vibrant they require no visual razzle dazzle whatsoever to paint a lasting picture.
Elton John “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Pechanga Arena San Diego, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., Midway District
Tickets: Sold out
Phone: (619) 224-4171