Bidens host Elton John for South Lawn soiree
(adds details and quotes)
By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) –
President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and about 2,000 fans enjoyed a performance at the White House on Friday by music legend and activist Elton John, who is on a long farewell tour of the United States.
The British superstar performed South Lawn hits like “Rocketman,” “Your Song” and “Tiny Dancer,” singing and playing piano in an outdoor structure set up for the performance, which at one point brought Biden to tears. aroused
When introducing this singer, Biden said: Our family likes his music like many Americans. It is clear that Elton John’s music has changed our lives.
John, who refused to play at former US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, agreed to perform for the Bidens as one of the few mainstream celebrities to return to the White House after years of avoiding it.
Her performance was part of a celebration of what the White House calls everyday heroes: nurses, emergency and mental health workers, teachers, LGBTQ+ advocates and activists.
John said that playing at the White House after a career of performing in fancy venues was the “icing on the cake”. In between songs, he talked about his battle with HIV/AIDS and praised former Republican President George W. Bush for his efforts to fight AIDS in Africa through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Former first lady Laura Bush was one of the guests of this performance.
John noted that the fight against AIDS in the United States has the support of both Republicans and Democrats.
“I just wish America could be more bipartisan,” he said.
At the end of the night, Biden brought John to tears by surprising John with the National Humanities Medal.
“I’m surprised,” John said. “I will treasure this.”
The show was paid for by A&E Networks and The History Channel, part of A&E, and will air at a later date. A&E Networks is a joint venture of Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst.
The performance was called “A night when hope and history rhyme”, which is based on a poem by the Irish writer Seamus Heaney. Biden regularly quotes Heaney and is a fan of Irish sayings and poetry.
Biden has a special relationship with John’s music. In her 2017 memoir, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose, she recounted singing “Alligator Rock” to her son Beau as a child and again as an adult when Beau was dying of cancer. It was death, he wrote.
John put that song on his playlist on Friday. (Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Nandita Bose and Jeff Mason; Editing by Leslie Adler and Gary Doyle)