Kicking off in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Saturday night, John, 71, played his greatest hits in the first of more than 300 shows around the world planned for the next three years.
John announced in January that he wanted to quit traveling to focus on his family, saying his priorities had changed after becoming a parent to two children with his husband David Furnish.
The British singer shared photos and videos from his 50-year career, including a film of his late grandmother, and paid tributes with a montage of photos to those who had influenced him, including late singer Aretha Franklin, South African leader Nelson Mandela and physicist Stephen Hawking.
As he sang "Crocodile Rock," images of fans in Elton John-inspired outfits were shown on large screens, and during "Candle in the Wind," a short film about Marilyn Monroe's last photo session played.
John closed the show with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," dressed in a black and red track suit like the one seen on the cover of the 1977 album cover of the same name, while showing a home video of highlights of his life.
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