Elton John

The County Ground, Hove.

4 stars

ACCORDING to Elton John, "sorry" seems to be the hardest word.

But watching this living legend bowing out of live performances, it's possible "goodbye" may be the hardest word.

This is the singer's farewell tour and few will have come away from this fun, energetic two-and-a-half-hour show without feeling both elated and sad.

Elton himself remained bright and breezy – almost businesslike – but then he is some 90-plus dates into his long goodbye.

Kicking off with Bennie And The Jets, Elton, 72, stuck wisely to the hits from his 70s heyday and early 80s comeback, while also finding time for a few overlooked gems.

Highlights? Well, almost all of it, from the disco sound of Philadelphia Freedom to the country-rock of Levon via the churchy Border Song. And you can’t fail with Tiny Dancer and Rocketman.

Candle in the Wind – solo at the piano – still packs a punch despite its over-familiarity.

Inevitably, though, it was the final trio of rockers that stole the show. The Bitch Is Back, I'm Still Standing and Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting had the crowd on their feet.

Elton returned for the encore in a pink dressing gown, saying: "I'm going to duet with me" before introducing Rocketman star Taron Egerton to sing Your Song to massive applause.

Then it was the finale, a sad, haunting Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, after which Elton disappeared behind the stage to be seen on screen walking off into the sunset.

The sun has finally gone down on Elton John. Shame.