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26th Jun 2023

Viewers stunned by ‘biggest ever’ Glastonbury crowd for Elton John’s final UK performance

Steve Hopkins

‘You’ve been an incredible crowd tonight. I wish you love and health and happiness’

Sir Elton John never thought he’d play Glastonbury and people watching his last-ever UK performance couldn’t believe just how many people were watching as the sun went down on the iconic performer.

Elton’s headline performance on Sunday has sparked suggestions he could have pulled in the “largest ever” crowd, although attendance are yet to be released.

In 2022, over 100,000 people watched former Beatle Paul McCartney play as Glastonbury’s headliner in what was then hailed as one of the greatest headline performances of this generation. Approximately 200,000 people attend Glastonbury every year.

Elton described his performance as “special and emotional” and kicked off his Pyramid stage set at 9pm with, Pinball Wizard.

The musician, dressed in a gold suit and red-tinted sunglasses, told the crowd, after singing The B***h Is Back: “I never thought I would ever play Glastonbury and here I am.

“It’s a very special and emotional night for me because it might be my last show ever in England, so I had better play well and I had better entertain you, you’ve been standing there so long and I really appreciate all the outfits and everything.”

He then launched into renditions of Benny And The Jets, Daniel, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.

The 76-year-old was the last of three headliners to play at Worthy Farm, Somerset this weekend, following on from Guns n’ Roses and Arctic Monkeys who played the previous two nights.

Aerial footage of the astonishingly large crowd was shown on the BBC broadcast of the festival, and left people stunned.

“You know when they say legend it’s not taken lightly describing Elton John… I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in the crowd at Glastonbury,” one person wrote.

Another added: “That Pyramid Stage crowd is the largest I’ve ever seen,” accompanied by footage of the audience. “Absolutely amazing the size of crowd at Glastonbury for the legend that is Elton John,” said a third fan.

“I’ve watched this for years and never seen as big a crowd as Elton John has,” said someone else.

One festival-goer wrote: “I would bet my life that Elton John is going to be the biggest ever crowd at Glastonbury. It is insane on the Pyramid Stage already.”

One attendee told The Independent that people were asked to pack their chairs and blankets away in order to make more standing room. Approximately 200,000 people attend Glastonbury every year.

Elton went on to thank fans around the world for their love and support throughout his 52-year career, saying: “I’ll always have you in my head and my heart and my soul.”

A number of fans turned out in iconic costumes worn by the performer during his career, which didn’t go unnoticed by The Rocket Man who thanked revellers for “dressing up” and “making me feel so happy”.

“It makes me feel loved. And I want to thank you also for 52 years of amazing love and loyalty you’ve shown me, it’s been an incredible journey and I’ve had the best, best time.”

Elton was joined on stage by Jacob Lusk of Gabriels and The London Community Gospel Choir for Are You Ready For Love?

After singing, Someone Saved My Life Tonight, he told the crowd: “When I chose my guests for this show I wanted to have newer artists, save for one person, and this boy I heard last year on the radio… I’ve asked him to come to Glastonbury to do his song and he’s an amazing young talent.”

He was then joined by Stephen Sanchez for a performance of Sanchez’s song, Until I Found You.

After performances of Your Song and Candle In The Wind, Elton told the crowd: “My next guest I first met in 2005 when I first started playing Las Vegas, and he came to my hotel suite to play me his band’s first album Hot Fuss – we’ve been friends ever since.”

Welcoming Brandon Flowers to the stage, he said The Killers frontman was “the first person I thought of” to be a guest during his set. The pair performed Tiny Dancer together.

He later welcomed Rina Sawayama to the stage as “an extraordinary talent and amazing recording artist” before performing Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.

Launching into Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Sir Elton paid tribute to singer-songwriter George Michael, saying: “He was my friend, he was an inspiration, and today would have been his 60th birthday, so I want to dedicate this song to his memory.”

Farewelling the crowd, Elton said: “I want to thank you all for dressing up in your costumes, your glasses and your outfits, it makes me feel so happy and so loved. “I also want to thank you for 52 years of amazing love and loyalty that you’ve shown me. It’s been an incredible journey.

“I’ve had the best time, I will never forget you, you’re in my head and my heart and my soul, you’ve been amazing.

“You’ve been an incredible crowd tonight. I wish you love and health and happiness.”

He closed his set with a lengthy rendition of Rocketman which was met with rapturous applause.

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