Sir Elton John rolled back years when the Hyde Park BST festival opened with a career-spanning homegrown chart-topper.
The 75-year-old singer and pianist performed songs from the end of half a century of his recording career, dedicating himself along the way to late collaborators Aretha Franklin and George Michael.
He told the crowd, “We’ve been waiting for this show for a long time, and it’s finally happening.”
He was watched from a dais by his young sons, Zachariah and Elijah.
Sir Elton’s appearance at the festival, which returned on Friday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic, was part of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road marathon tour.
The 300-plus shows worldwide are due to conclude next year and mark his retirement from touring after 52 years of touring.
He said, “I thank you for all the love, all the kindness you have shown me.
“When I stay next July I will have so many memories and you were all a part of it.”
He opened Hyde Park with crowd favorite Bennie And The Jets ahead of a set list of over 20 songs from his collection, including Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer and his first hit Your Song in 1970.
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He also played a stripped-down version of Candle In The Wind, which was re-recorded in 1997 to commemorate the death of his friend Diana, Princess of Wales and whose memorial fountain stands in Hyde Park.
His encore included Cold Heart (PNAU Remix), the 2021 number one single with Dua Lipa.
Sir Elton said: “I’m 75 years old, it’s such a pleasure to be number one in the whole world.”
The set ended with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
Sir Elton at BST Hyde Park this weekend will be followed by the Rolling Stones on Saturday and the Eagles on Sunday.
Adele, Pearl Jam and Duran Duran are also set to headline the American Express-sponsored festival this summer.