Elton John made his first and last appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival on Saturday, delivering a slick and energetic performance that ended with a message of tolerance and love.
The British singer’s 2-1/2-hour show, part of his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour begun in 2018, opened with “Bennie and the Jets,” followed by early 1970s hits including “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man” and “Your Song.”
“I’ve wanted to play this festival for years and years. I’ve watched it on DVD and television. I never thought I would be playing it, but it is an honour to be here,” the 72-year-old told a sell-out outdoor crowd of 15 000 who braved a heat wave.
The five-time Grammy winner, seated at the piano center stage, wore large black frame glasses with his name spelled out in rhinestones and a black jacket with sparkling trim.
“Sorry”, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”, “Candle in the Wind”, “Daniel” and “Saturday Night’s Alright” was other signature songs, accompanied by his band including longtime drummer Nigel Olsson and guitarist John Jorgenson.
John performed at La Saussaz stadium overlooking Lake Geneva, rather than the famed Stravinski Auditorium, an intimate venue renowned for its acoustics, where he was initially booked for two nights when the tour was first announced.
“This was imposed on us,” a Montreux insider told Reuters about the first-ever open-air concert of the Swiss festival.