He’s without a doubt one of the greatest musical talents of our time. Over his sensational career he has sold over 300 million records, performed at well over 3,500 concerts in more than 80 countries, and written the score to award-winning West End show Billy Elliot the Musical. So it’s hardly surprising that fans are devastated by the news that his headline set at this year's Glastonbury festival will be his last ever UK tour performance.
In a statement last December Elton said: “I couldn’t be more excited to be headlining the Pyramid stage. As the end of my ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour comes into view, there is no more fitting way to say goodbye to my British fans. They have been beyond brilliant, and have supported me through all the highs and lows of my career... I can’t wait to embrace the spirit of the greatest festival in the world. It’s going to be incredibly emotional.”
Performing on Glasto’s famous Pyramid Stage is the perfect way for the Your Song superstar to say a stylish adieu. Glastonbury takes place annually in rural Somerset – though normally there is a break every fifth year to allow the land to recover – and is held around the last weekend in June. And when past festival performers include Stormzy, Dolly Parton, Coldplay and Beyoncé, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most sought-after festival tickets in the world, normally selling out in well under an hour.
Sir Elton Hercules John, who was knighted in 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music and charity (particularly notable is his Elton John AIDS Foundation), began his current mammoth tour in September 2018. Having had to reschedule various concert dates due to the pandemic and to injury, he is set to be on the road until the end of July 2023.
His final US tour performance, which took place in Dodger Stadium, California, in November of last year, was aired live on Disney+. Fans were treated to a video of various stars paying tribute to the music great before the concert began. One particularly poignant message came from Prince Harry, who referenced Elton's close friendship with his late mother, Princess Diana, and his performance at his own wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018.
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Harry said: “Thank you for entertaining everybody for so many decades. Thank you for being the friend that you were for my mum. Thank you for being our friend, thank you for being a friend to our kids, and thank you for entertaining people right around the world. Even though this is officially your retirement, this won’t be your last gig, we know that, but we love you and congratulations on an incredible career.”
As the Duke of Sussex says, Elton is not taking leave of his fans forever. His manager, husband David Furnish, told Billboard magazine in November 2022: “It’s really important to make a distinction between Elton John retiring from touring but Elton not playing his very last public performance for the very last time. Will Elton return as a live performer? I hope so.”
Having gone on tour for the first time in 1970, it’s understandable that the I'm Still Standing singer is ready to settle down and enjoy a quieter life surrounded by his family, David and their young sons Zachary and Elijah.
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