© Reuters Photo File: Elton John On January 19, 2022, in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, Farewell Yellow Brick Road has been performing as it returns to complete its 2020 Tour, which was postponed due to the Corona Virus (Covid-19) ban.
By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and about 2,000 fans will be at the White House on Friday for a long farewell tour for music legend and activist Elton John.
The British superstar performed hits like “Rocketman,” “Your Song” and “Little Dancer” from South Lawn and played the piano in the open-air structure set up for the show, which at one point brought Biden to tears.
“Like many Americans, our family loves his music,” Biden said when introducing the singer. “Elton John’s music obviously changed our lives.”
John, who previously refused to play for President Donald Trump’s inauguration, agreed to perform for the Bidens as one of the few high-profile celebrities to return to the White House after years away.
His performance was part of a White House celebration celebrating everyday heroes: nurses, emergency and mental health workers, teachers, LGBTQ+ advocates and activists.
John says that playing the White House is “icing on the cake” after a career in beautiful venues. In between songs, he spoke about his fight against HIV/AIDS and praised former Republican President George W. Bush’s efforts to fight AIDS in Africa through the US President’s Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Former First Lady Laura Bush was one of those at the event.
John pointed out that he had the support of Republicans and Democrats to fight AIDS in the United States.
“I just wish America was more bipartisan,” he said.
At the end of the night, Biden made John cry by surprising him with the National Humanities Medal.
“I’m upset,” John said. “I treasure this.”
The performance was billed by A&E Networks and The History Channel, part of A&E, and will air later. A&E Networks is a joint venture of Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst.
The performance was based on a poem by Irish writer Seamus Heaney called “A Night Without a Poem of Hope and History”. Biden regularly quotes Heine and is a lover of Irish sayings and poetry.
Biden has a special relationship with John’s music. In the year In his 2017 memoir, “Promise Me, Daddy: A Year of Hope, Trouble and Purpose,” he wrote about singing “Crocodile Rock” to his son Bo as a child and again as an adult when Bo was dying of cancer.
John included that song in his playlist on Friday.