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Elton John Says Goodbye With Glastonbury Performance

Fans flock to the Pyramid Stage to watch Elton John play the last UK show of his farewell tour.

Elton John
Image Source: Elton Hercules John at a press conference on AIDS, Ukraine, Kiev 09.11.2011 (Liukov @ Shutterstock)

The sun went down on one of the greatest British music careers ever, mate. Elton John rocked the last gig of his farewell tour at Glastonbury, and let me tell you, it was a bloody legend of a show.

The 76-year-old icon gave his fans a masterclass in songwriting and showmanship. Every song in his setlist was an absolute banger, from Bennie And The Jets to Tiny Dancer, and Your Song to I’m Still Standing. Two hours of non-stop hits, my friend!

“Man, I’m so stoked to be here,” he told the massive crowd. “This night will stick with me forever.”

Elton burst onto the stage around 9 PM, kicking things off with Pinball Wizard – a tune he hadn’t played in over a decade. And then he unleashed a wild performance of The Bitch Is Back, mate!

Taking a breather, he took in the massive crowd, estimated to be over 120,000 people, and stretched his arms out in gratitude. “I never thought I’d rock Glastonbury, and here I am,” he said with pure emotion.

“It’s a proper special and emotional night for me, ’cause it might be my last gig in England, in Great Britain.”

“I better give you lot a good show and entertain ya, ’cause you’ve been standing here for ages,” he added.

Right next to me in the audience, some fan yelled out, “Go on, you old sausage!”

Now, this show marked the end of Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, and let me tell ya, it’s officially become the highest-grossing tour of all time, raking in a mind-boggling $887 million (£697 million) at the box office!

After Glastonbury, he’s got just seven more gigs left, with the grand finale in Stockholm on the 8th of July.

This tour puts an end to a touring career that saw Elton go from a young up-and-comer rocking the Troubadour in LA to a beloved rock institution. And let’s not forget the flamboyant style he’s famous for – feather boas, platform heels, elaborate headdresses, and even pianos that burst into flames. Talk about making a statement, right?

But, for Glastonbury, Elton toned it down a bit, keeping the focus purely on his love for music. He rocked the same gold lamé suit all night, giving off the vibe of a bloke who’s happiest when he’s behind a piano, absolutely tearing it up.

He treated us to some beautiful, extended moments on Your Song and I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues. And on I’m Still Standing, he hammered the keys so hard, I thought they were gonna fly off!

I gotta say, though, his voice ain’t what it used to be. The way he pronounces words and that marmalade-like diction, it’s got a Vegas lounge singer touch to it. But here at Worthy Farm, his singing was strangely effective, slicing through the air with a clarity that no other headliner could match this weekend.

Before the show, rumors of special guests were flying around like mad. People said they spotted Britney Spears at Bristol airport. Some security guard swore they’d seen Dua Lipa. Harry Styles was in, then out, then in again.

But you know what? Elton went against the grain and put the spotlight on the new generation of musicians instead of pop stars who could easily headline Glastonbury on their own.

He brought on Jacob Lusk from the US soul group Gabriels to belt out Are You Ready For Love. And then pop newcomer Rina Sawayama stepped in for Kiki Dee on a powerful rendition of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.

Even Nashville’s Stephen Sanchez got his moment, singing his own tune, Until I Found You.

“I heard it on the radio last year,” Elton exclaimed, “and I couldn’t believe a 19 or 20-year-old could write such a song!”

The only exception to the newbies was The Killers’ Brandon Flowers, strutting onto the stage in a flashy hot pink suit to join Elton in a stunning duet of Tiny Dancer.

Their performance was so moving that the TV cameras even caught a bloke proposing in the crowd!

But overall, some fans were a tad disappointed by the lack of big-name stars. One person grumbled, “Who’s that?” when Sawayama took the stage.

Yet, there was something admirable about it, mate. Elton stayed true to himself – a music fanatic whose hunger for rock and pop has fueled his career all these years.

After two hours, the set built up to an emotional climax. Elton dedicated Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me to George Michael, “one of Britain’s most fantastic singers, songwriters, and artists.”

“He was my mate, an inspiration, and today would’ve been his 60th birthday. I wanna dedicate this song to his memory and the beautiful music he left us,” Elton said with a lump in his throat.

Then, with an extended, soul-stirring version of Rocket Man and fireworks lighting up the sky, Elton bid farewell to his UK touring days.

As he took his final bow with the band, the closing lyrics, “I think it’s gonna be a long, long time,” took on a whole new meaning, mate.

“It’s been an unbelievable journey, and I’ve had the absolute best time,” said the star, his voice choked with emotion.

And you know what? He wasn’t the only one feeling it.

If this truly was his last-ever UK show, it was the perfect way for him to exit the stage.

There were so many fans watching that Glastonbury had to enforce a “standing only” rule, asking folks to fold up their chairs and pack away their picnic blankets.

And guess who else was there? Paul McCartney, actors Matt Smith and Kate Hudson, Jamie Oliver, and Taron Egerton, who played Elton in that smash-hit biopic Rocketman. Even the film’s director Dexter Fletcher was in the crowd.

After the show, Fletcher couldn’t find the right words to describe the experience. “You can’t really explain how emotional and connected he was to the crowd. That’s what it’s all about,” he told the BBC.

And with that incredible performance, the 2023 Glastonbury festival came to an end, following epic sets from Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses, Lana Del Rey, WizKid, Lizzo, Blondie, and Cat Stevens.

Emily Eavis, the festival organizer, has already confirmed that the event will be back next year, with two female headliners already locked in. Now that’s something to look forward to, innit?

And with that, the curtain fell on yet another unforgettable chapter of Glastonbury’s history. The fields that had been buzzing with music, laughter, and love were beginning to quiet down, but the spirit of the festival lingered in the air.

As the festival-goers made their way back to their campsites, their hearts were filled with the echoes of Elton’s timeless melodies. The sounds of his piano and the power of his voice still resonated deep within them.

The night sky shimmered with stars, mirroring the twinkle in the eyes of those lucky enough to witness Elton’s grand finale. Conversations were filled with animated recounts of the show, each person sharing their favorite moments and the emotions that coursed through them.

It was a night that will be forever etched in their memories, a night where music transcended boundaries and united souls under the spell of one extraordinary performer.

But Glastonbury is more than just one artist or one performance. It’s a celebration of music’s incredible ability to bring people together, to ignite passion and ignite change.

As the news of next year’s festival with two female headliners spread, anticipation swelled in the hearts of music lovers worldwide. They knew that Glastonbury would continue to be a platform for groundbreaking artists, a place where the old and the new intertwined in a harmonious dance of melodies and beats.

So, as the sun rose on the following day, casting its warm glow over the fields of Worthy Farm, the legacy of Elton’s farewell show remained. It was a testament to the power of music and the unwavering spirit of an artist who had left an indelible mark on the world.

And as the festival organizers began their preparations for the next chapter of Glastonbury, they knew that they had witnessed something extraordinary. Elton had bid farewell, but his music would forever echo through the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to witness his brilliance.

The journey continues, the stages await, and the magic of Glastonbury will live on, year after year, inspiring generations to come. For in those fields, dreams are realized, and the power of music becomes an eternal force that unites us all.

So, until we gather again on those hallowed grounds, let the melodies of Elton’s final show reverberate in our souls, reminding us that the power of music knows no bounds. Until then, my friends, keep the spirit of Glastonbury alive and let the music guide your way. Cheers!

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