Elton John BST Hyde Park

Live Review: Elton John at BST Hyde Park

Live Review: Elton John at BST Hyde Park

Elton John kicks off British Summer Time 2022 in style with a huge career-spanning show as part of his farewell tour. Adam Davidson reviews.

On Friday, central London was full of people walking around with colourful outfits, bowler hats and funky sunglasses. It could only mean one thing, Elton John was in town. 

The legendary singer-songwriter has nine number one records, sold over 250 million records, a Tony and two Oscars amongst countless other achievements and accolades. If anyone deserves a mammoth 300+ show farewell tour, it is Sir Elton John.   

For the 233rd show of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, Elton John headlined the opening night at this year’s British Summer Time at Hyde Park. 

The music icon opened up the career-spanning set with ‘Bennie and the Jets’, coming out to rapturous applause. Elton fed off the energy from the 65,000 in attendance and stood up during piano solos and playfully stuck his tongue out at the crowd. 

He then sang ‘Philadelphia Freedom’, ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues’ and ‘Tiny Dancer.’ The 75-year-old was in fine form and still had such a powerful and rich voice that did the songs justice, some of which are over 50 years old. He knows his limitations but can also hit the high and long notes in most songs.  

The genius of a songwriter like Elton John is encapsulated through his live performances. He can have everyone in the crowd dancing along to lively hits like ‘Sad Songs’ and ‘Crocodile Rock’ but then have them swaying from side to side and singing along to the more emotional ballads like ‘Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word’ and ‘Candle in the Wind.’ 

Then the moment has come that all the people with bowler hats and extravagant glasses in the audience had been waiting for: ‘I’m Still Standing’.

During the song, career highlights flashed across the screen from his tireless Aids activism to performing at Live Aid to more comical inclusions like appearing on The Simpsons, South Park and even falling off his chair at the tennis. It puts into perspective how much of a cultural icon Elton John is and what he has achieved throughout his long career. 

The main section of the show finished with a party atmosphere with everyone dancing along to ‘Crocodile Rock’, with the audience taking the lead on the ‘La Lalala’ chorus line and it finished with ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’.  

Elton John came on for the encore in an extravagant silk robe with a bejewelled cat on the back and started with his most recent number one hit ‘Cold Heart’, featuring Dua Lipa who appeared on the big screen.   

His most recent hit then led into where it all began back in 1970, for a beautiful rendition of ‘Your Song.’  

He closed the show with the fitting ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ before descending off the stage on a lift in what was a sentimental ‘goodbye’ to Hyde Park. 

With over 100 shows still to go on his farewell tour, Elton is not done with performing just yet. However, the performance at Hyde Park will be one of his final shows of this magnitude and was the perfect celebration of one of the all-time greats and a true British icon. 

Image: Rory Barnes