Bidens host Elton John for South Lawn soiree

Published September 25, 2022
British singer Elton John (centre) and his husband David Furnish (left) stand on stage with President Joe Biden who presented the singer with the National Humanities Medal at the end of “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme” at the White House.—AFP
British singer Elton John (centre) and his husband David Furnish (left) stand on stage with President Joe Biden who presented the singer with the National Humanities Medal at the end of “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme” at the White House.—AFP

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and about 2,000 fans on Friday basked in a performance at the White House by musical legend and activist Elton John, who is on a lengthy farewell tour in the United States.

The British superstar performed hit songs such as “Rocketman,” “Your Song” and “Tiny Dancer” from the South Lawn, singing and playing piano in an open air structure set up for the performance, which at one point moved Biden to tears.

“Like so many Americans, our family loves his music,” Biden said when introducing the singer. “It’s clear Elton John’s music has changed our lives.”

John, who declined to play for former President Donald Trump’s inauguration, agreed to perform for the Bidens as one of a handful of mainstream celebrities who are returning to the White House after years of avoiding it.

His performance was part of a celebration to honor people the White House called everyday heroes: nurses, emergency and mental health workers, teachers, LGBTQ+ advocates and activists.

John said playing at the White House was “icing on the cake” after a career of performing in beautiful venues. In between songs he spoke of his fight against HIV/AIDS and praised former President George W. Bush, a Republican, for his efforts to combat AIDS in Africa through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programme.

Former first lady Laura Bush was one of the guests at the performance.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2022

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