The Rocket Man takes up residence in Las Vegas for a £30m purse

Sir Elton John yesterday announced a deal that is set to make him the greatest pianist in Las Vegas since Liberace.

The "Rocket Man" has signed up for 75 shows at the famous Caesars Palace, for which he will be paid a reported $50m (£30m).

"I cannot do this show anywhere else in the world," said Sir Elton. "It's back to costume changes and Velcro."

The shows will begin next February, with the 56-year-old performer turning out five times a week for five weeks a year for three years.

The shows will take place in Caesars Palace's 4,100-seat auditorium, The Colosseum, which was originally built for Celine Dion and her musical show,A New Day.

Sir Elton will perform his show, The Red Piano, when Dion is on holiday from her own three-year contract.

The show's production designer, photographer and video director David LaChappelle, said: "The wild and wacky days are here again."

Mark Juliano, the president of Caesars Palace, said the show was expected to generate $61m, with tickets selling for $250, $175 and $100. Sir Elton, whose wealth has been estimated at £230m, would not comment on the details of his contract. "Let's just say, I'm very well paid," he said. The singer/songwriter recently raised an estimated £1.4m after using Sotheby's auctioneers to sell off the furniture from his London townhouse.

Sir Elton was forced to cancel one recent event because of a minor medical procedure but yesterday dismissed reports of on-going throat problems by singing out: "My voice is fine."

Flamboyant showman Liberace became one of the great attractions in Las Vegas, where he played regularly from 1944 to 1986. Gamblers would finish off their day on the poker tables by heading off to see "Mr Showmanship" and his famous piano candelabra.

The Nevada gambling mecca is home to the Liberace Museum - catchphrase "The Legend Lives On" - where visitors can tour piano and car galleries as well as see his costume and jewellry collections.

The pianist, who died in 1987, also had a villa in Las Vegas with elaborately painted ceilings and six bathrooms.

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