USA TODAY US Edition

The stars gather in Hollywood to get ready for the main event

Los Angeles was buzzing with star power leading up to the Oscars, from a free concert by Elton John (with a cameo by Lady Gaga!) to parties honoring women in film. USA TODAY’s Bill Keveney and Kelly Lawler report.

- — Keveney

JOHN AND GAGA JOIN MUSICAL FORCES

Elton John thanked Hollywood Saturday with a free outdoor concert, but the thousands of fans who enjoyed the one-hour-plus pop-up show were the really grateful ones.

The superstar, showing West Hollywood his appreciati­on for its support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, performed a selection of his catalog of hits for those in and around the parking lot of the former Tower Records. A highlights came when Lady Gaga joined John and his five band members near the end of the 72-minute show for a rendition of Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.

The concert was heavy on hits. The star and his band, performing in the sun on a warm latewinter afternoon, went back to the 1970s to open the show with The Bitch Is Back, fol

lowed by Bennie and the Jets.

Other classics included Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer and Levon, which featured one of a number of energetic piano solos from John, wearing a black suit accented by red sequins, with a rose on the back of his jacket.

The singer was a bit sentimenta­l when he introduced Your

Song, a tune he performed in 1970 at the famed Troubadour club just a short drive away. “Here we are, 46 years later,” he said, dedicating the song to his longtime manager.

The crowd heard songs from John’s new album, Wonderful

Crazy Night, including the title

track, Looking Up, Blue Wonder

ful (“A very L.A. song,” he said)

and a ballad, A Good Heart, from the generally uptempo new collection. He dedicated Don’t Let the Sun

Go Down on Me to the fans, with Lady Gaga, dressed in blue, drawing huge applause as she joined midsong. The two embraced onstage at the end, with Gaga, nominated for an Oscar for original song, endorsing his new album: “A beautiful record.”

The band closed with a rousing Saturday Night’s Alright for

Fighting, with band members joining John at the piano and the singer jumping up to implore the crowd to sing the chorus. It was only Saturday afternoon, but it was definitely all right.

 ?? KEVIN WINTER, GETTY IMAGES, FOR AOL ?? Lady Gaga joins Elton John for a performanc­e of John’s beloved classic Don’tLet the Sun Go Down on Me at a free outdoor show Saturday on the Sunset Strip.
KEVIN WINTER, GETTY IMAGES, FOR AOL Lady Gaga joins Elton John for a performanc­e of John’s beloved classic Don’tLet the Sun Go Down on Me at a free outdoor show Saturday on the Sunset Strip.
 ?? DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS,
WIREIMAGE ??
DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS, WIREIMAGE

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