Sir Elton John performed his 130th London concert in the city’s Hyde Park on Friday (24.06.22) night.
The 75-year-old singer had the sell-out crowd at the first night of American Express Presents BST Hyde Park singing and dancing for almost two-and-a-half hours as he brought what he himself noted was the 233rd show of his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour to the capital and admitted he’d treasure the evening forever.
He said: “Thank you for your kindness and loyalty over the past 50 years. When I stop next year you’ll be a part of my memories.”
Elton – who was backed by a six-piece band including his long-term live collaborators drummer Nigel Olsson, guitarist Davey Johnstone and percussionist Ray Cooper – kicked off his set with ‘Bennie and the Jets’, swiftly followed by ‘Philadelphia Freedom’ and ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call it The Blues’.
While the high energy songs such as ‘Crocodile Rock’, ‘The B**** Is Back’ and ‘Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting’ had the crowd dancing and singing, the slower paced numbers such as ‘Tiny Dancer’ and ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word’ didn’t subdue the audience, with most continuing to sing along, or simply staring in awe at Elton in action.
The veteran performer took the time before ‘Border Song’ to remember “magical and everlasting” Aretha Franklin, while later in the set he paid an emotional tribute to the late George Michael, who he described as “one of the greatest artists we’ve ever produced” before performing ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’, a track they had duetted on in 1991.
Not only were the crowd treated to a powerful vocal performance from Elton and his usual wizardry at the piano, he also enjoyed multiple costume changes – complete with new sparkly glasses each time – and stunning video backdrops, including the set appearing in flames during ‘Burn Down the Mission’, various clips from his biopic ‘Rocketman’ and a career retrospective throughout ‘I’m Still Standing’.
Kicking off his encore with ‘Cold Heart’, a giant digital Dua Lipa appeared on a video screen behind Elton, though the singer encouraged the audience to sing her parts.
After closing that song, Elton noted: ““At 75 years it’s good to have a number one record around the world.”
He then went on to introduce his first ever hit, nothing it had come 52 years ago, and performed an emotional version of ‘Your Song’, before closing out with the only possible choice – ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’.