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Elton John, Billy Joel announce Fargodome show

Rock's key men on the keys - Elton John and Billy Joel - are returning to the Fargodome in May.

The pairing of pianists is routing its spring "Face 2 Face" tour through Fargo, playing the dome on May 2, a Saturday. It's a return engagement for the Piano Man and the Rocket Man, who will duet and play solo sets. They drew a crowd of 21,996 to the dome in 2003, its 10th-largest concert.

Tickets will go on sale via Ticketmaster Jan. 31 and are priced in three tiers: $54, $99.50 and $179.50. Roughly 22,500 tickets will be available.

Dome officials made the booking public in a news conference on Thursday, at which Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker plugged the show. The mayor said he's been a huge John fan since the death of Princess Diana.

"He has become a very special person to me," Walaker said of John, who is a British knight.

John and Joel's is the third major show the dome has announced since December, including concerts by the Eagles and Kenny Chesney. And AC/DC played to more than 21,000 on Saturday.

Walaker praised the run of shows as proof of the dome's value.

"I don't think you can find anybody who voted against it, even though they did," he said.

Rob Sobolik, the dome's general manager, credited the momentum to the good turnout for last April's Bon Jovi concert - 24,812, the best dome crowd in a decade. He said that got the ball rolling, showing the industry that Fargo was an option for major concerts.

Recent sales are considered by promoters weighing whether to book a show, said Catherine Swedberg of Jam Productions, the promoter for AC/DC and John and Joel.

If you go

* What: Elton John and Billy Joel

* When: 7:30 p.m. May 2

* Where: Fargodome

* Tickets: $54, $99.50 and $179.50

* More info: (701) 235-7171