Entering to a rapturous reception, the former Reg Dwight went straight into ‘Bennie and the Jets’ and ‘Philadelphia Freedom’, with the audience singing and dancing a long from the get go.
Greeting and waving at the crowd the singer was clearly ecstatic to be performing and declared he was; “happy to be here”,; that “summer arrived”, and he would; “play lovely songs for you and hopefully you like them!”
Later when dedicating ‘Border Song’ to Aretha Franklin, he explained how he had been shocked that she would want to record his song. With the soul diva's last show being at a benefit for the Elton John Foundation, the piano man confessed that it would “not ever fade from my memory”.
Classic after classic followed including ‘Tiny Dancer’, ‘Rocket Man’, and of course, 'Candle in the Wind', with the stage show's colourful on-screen graphics enhancing each performance.
Giving credit to the “many wonderful musicians” he has worked with over the years including his current band, it was clear from the beaming smile on his face that the sometimes cantankerous performer was in no such mood this evening.
It wasn’t only the flamboyant showman bringing the glamour and glitz to Hyde Park however, with many of the audience in sequins, glitter and donning flashing spectacles in tribute to the singer, which was noted by Elton himself.
In a more moving moment, John spoke of his family and friends present including his partner and children. He then dedicated ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me’ to George Michael, calling his friend; “one of the greatest artists ever produced”.
Closing the main set with ‘Crocodile Rock’ and ‘Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting’ the capacity crowd cheered for more, and Elton did not disappoint.
After a quick costume change, the encore went straight into his most recent hit from the Lockdown sessions ‘Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)’ featuring pre-recorded Dua Lipa on screen. Following his “most recent hit to the oldest from fifty-two years ago”, ‘Your Song’, brought things to a close, before a rousing ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’.
Taking his bows, the singer thanked the crowd for their “kindness and loyalty”, and although stopping touring next year announced he had many “beautiful memories and you will be part of them”.
The BST Hyde Park concerts run across three weekends, with shows from Pearl Jam, Duran Duran, Adele, and more planned. The event also includes Open House the free midweek schedule featuring live music, entertainment and activities. For ticketing and more, visit the event's official site.