WASHINGTON (AP) — Elton John was all in on a plan to perform at the White House before the world-famous rockin’ piano player hangs it up — he says — for good.
John was swinging by the South Lawn on Friday night for a show he’s calling “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden often quotes.
It will be John’s first White House gig since he performed with Stevie Wonder at a state dinner in 1998 honoring British Prime Minister Tony Blair. At age 75, John is on a farewell tour after performing for more than 50 years.
A giant open-air tent and stage were set up on the White House lawn for the show,. The 2,000-person guest list includes teachers, nurses, frontline workers and LGBTQ advocates, plus civil rights advocate Ruby Bridges and Jeanne White-Ginder, an AIDS activist and mother of Ryan White, who died from AIDs-related complications in 1990. The president was expected to give remarks.
“The president and the first lady will celebrate the vast contributions Sir Elton has made across his lifetime as an artist and advocate,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday.
The show came together after A+E Networks and the History Channel, which are footing the bill, asked the White House and John if they’d be up for a collaboration honoring “everyday history-makers” as well as John himself, according to people familiar with the discussions who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning.
It’s not clear whether the show will be broadcast beyond the live performance, though eager viewers can tune into the White House livestream to catch the president’s remarks, at least. John has worked with A+E in the past on his global HIV/AIDS charity, the Elton …read more