(Pilton) Awaited by fans all in glitter and color for a historic concert, Elton John bids farewell to the British public on Sunday evening on the stage of the legendary Glastonbury Festival, in the south-west of England, in which he participates for the first time.
The 76-year-old star, who will complete his world farewell tour in Stockholm on July 8, will sing at the end of this 51st edition in front of tens of thousands of festival-goers on the famous Pyramid Stage. He succeeds Paul McCartney, who ignited the scene last year by covering Beatles classics.
“I arrived at 7 a.m.” for “this very special day in the history of Glastonbury,” Ben Monk told AFP from behind a barrier in front of the stage. “Why would we miss that!” ? he adds, specially dressed as a tribute to the “great man”.
“There’s no one like him!” says Justine Clayton, who got married to the sound of Your Song. “It is poignant for us. And it’s the same for a lot of people, it brings back a lot of memories for all the generations he played in front of,” she said.
“We’re already completely out of Elton John glasses,” says Judy Berger, who offers huge models with yellow or pink lenses, or even “big ones completely crazy in fur”.
Four surprise guests are announced. Speculation is rife, among the names circulating, Harry Styles, Billy Joel, Ed Sheeran or Britney Spears, or even Dua Lipa.
“It’s the first time I’ve been asked” to play at Glastonbury, Elton John said in late May in an interview with the BBC. “It comes at the right time, I believe in fate and it’s the most magnificent way to finish in England,” he said.
The show on Sunday promises to be different from the one that the public could see during the tour of Elton John, who deployed extravagant costumes and spectacular visual effects to accompany his titles Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man or Your Song.
This concert “is very special”, her husband David Furnish told British channel Sky News this week, with a different “setlist”.
Elton John, driven by a “healthy” nervousness before this show according to David Furnish, had already made it known that he would debut with a song he had not played for 10 years. But if Elton John says goodbye to the scene, he plans to work on a new album in the fall.
The 300 million-selling singer’s farewell tour, dubbed Farewell Yellow Brick Road and originally scheduled to last three years, kicked off in 2018 with more than 300 dates scheduled.
But she has been disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, hip surgery in 2021 and testing positive for COVID-19 last year.
Before Elton John, Blondie, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, rapper Lil Nas X or Sophie Ellis-Bextor play Sunday on the Pyramid Stage.
The surprises of Sunday evening are far from the only ones from this Glastonbury vintage.
On Friday, the Foo Fighters, for the first time in 25 years at the festival, came out for a surprise concert, where a mysterious group, the “Churnups”, was announced.
Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl was also invited to join Guns N’ Roses on stage — for their first appearance at the festival — for Paradise City Revisited, along with the Pretenders.
Among the other headliners, Lana Del Rey ran into technical problems that led her to throw an a capella to the audience, while on the main stage came the Arctic Monkeys, Amadou
Saturday evening, the Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi, suffering from Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, sometimes lost his voice, seeming to fight against tics, in front of a benevolent crowd who took up his songs. Apologizing, he announced that he would be taking another break for his mental health.
Glastonbury welcomes more than 200,000 festival-goers who arrive with tents and backpacks. In early November, tickets sold out in just over an hour for the 2023 edition, despite a price that is close to 575 Canadian dollars.