President Joe Biden greets David Furnish, husband of Elton John, after Biden introduced him with a Nationwide Humanities Medal after a live performance on the South Garden of the White Home in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — “God bless you, let’s have some music,” mentioned Elton John.

With that, the White Home South Garden was reworked right into a musical lovefest Friday evening as John performed a farewell gig to honor on a regular basis “heroes” like lecturers, nurses and AIDS activists. However because it seems, the occasion was additionally to honor the 75-year-old British songwriter — President Joe Biden shocked him with the Nationwide Humanities Medal for being a “tidal wave” who helped individuals stand up for justice.

John appeared virtually overcome by the accolades, telling the viewers of two,000 individuals: “I don’t know what to say. … I don’t know learn how to take a praise very properly nevertheless it’s fantastic to be right here amongst so many individuals who’ve helped my AIDS basis and my heroes, that ones that work everyday on the entrance line.”

He mentioned he’d performed some lovely venues earlier than, however the stage in entrance of the White Home, beneath a large open-air tent on an ideal autumn evening, was “in all probability the icing on the cake.”

He kicked off the present with “Your Track,” his first massive worldwide hit.

Elton John performs on the South Garden of the White Home in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. John is looking the present “A Evening When Hope and Historical past Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden usually quotes. (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh)

The intimate visitor record included lecturers, nurses, frontline staff and LGBTQ advocates, plus former first girl Laura Bush, civil rights advocate Ruby Bridges, training activist Malala Yousafzai and Jeanne White-Ginder, an AIDS activist and mom of Ryan White, who died from AIDS-related issues in 1990.

Biden and first girl Jill Biden talked concerning the British singer’s activism, the ability of his music and his all-around goodness. The occasion was dreamed up and paid for by A+E and the Historical past Channel.

“Seamus Heaney as soon as wrote, and I quote, ‘As soon as in a lifetime, the longed-for tidal wave of justice can stand up, and hope and historical past rhyme,” Biden mentioned. “All through his unbelievable profession, Sir Elton John has been that tidal wave, a tidal wave to assist individuals stand up and make hope and historical past rhyme.”

The evening, the truth is, was referred to as “A Evening When Hope and Historical past Rhyme,” a reference to the poem Biden quoted by Eire’s Heaney.

Sir Elton — he was knighted in 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II — has bought over 300 million data worldwide, performed over 4,000 reveals in 80 nations and recorded one of many best-selling singles of all time, his 1997 transforming of “Candle In The Wind” to eulogize Princess Diana, which bought 33 million copies.

David Furnish, husband of Elton John, left, Elton John, President Joe Biden and first girl Jill Biden pose for a photograph after Biden introduced Elton John with a Nationwide Humanities Medal after a live performance on the South Garden of the White Home in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh)

John punctuated the hits Friday with emotional tidbits of his historical past, together with a shoutout to Laura Bush and former president George W. Bush for his administration’s emergency plan for AIDS reduction, and a narrative of how a dying Ryan White and his mom pushed him into advocacy within the first place, and helped him get sober.

“I wouldn’t be right here speaking tonight,” he mentioned. “They saved my life.”

He then devoted “Don’t Let The Solar Go Down On Me” to Ryan.

Regardless of the presence of loads of lawmakers, the political communicate was stored to a minimal, apart from when John mentioned, “I simply want America could be extra bipartisan on all the pieces.”

It was his first White Home gig since he carried out with Stevie Surprise at a state dinner in 1998 honoring British Prime Minister Tony Blair. John is on a farewell tour that started in July after performing for greater than 50 years.

Elton John performs on the South Garden of the White Home in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. John is looking the present “A Evening When Hope and Historical past Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden usually quotes. (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh)

The present got here collectively after A+E Networks and the Historical past Channel requested the White Home and John in the event that they’d be up for a collaboration honoring “on a regular basis history-makers” in addition to John himself.

It’s not clear whether or not the present will likely be broadcast. John has labored with A+E prior to now on his world HIV/AIDS charity, the Elton John Basis, which has raised greater than $525 million to fight the virus all over the world.

John is sticking round to play a sold-out present at Nationals Park Saturday.

The president and first girl are massive followers. Biden wrote in a 2017 memoir about singing “Crocodile Rock” to his two younger boys as he drove them to highschool, and once more later to son Beau earlier than he died of most cancers at age 46.

“I began singing the lyrics to Beau, quietly, so simply the 2 of us might hear it,” Biden wrote. “Beau didn’t open his eyes, however I might see by way of my very own tears that he was smiling.”

Elton John performs on the South Garden of the White Home in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. John is looking the present “A Evening When Hope and Historical past Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden usually quotes. (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh)

John performed the music Friday, saying somebody advised him Biden used to sing it to his little boys. “I can’t think about him singin’ it,” John quipped earlier than suggesting the president come up on stage. He didn’t. However the entire crowd did do the “La-La-Las” from their seats.

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, was additionally a fan of John. He tried to get John to carry out at his 2017 inauguration however John declined, saying he didn’t assume it was applicable for a Brit to play on the swearing-in of an American president.

The White Home insisted Friday’s present wasn’t an effort to troll Trump, who has praised John in his books and has usually featured John’s music — together with “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer” — in his pre-rally playlists over time. Trump nicknamed North Korean chief Kim Jong Un “rocket man” for his document of test-firing missiles.

John performed each Friday, to thunderous applause.

Elton John performs on the South Garden of the White Home in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. John is looking the present “A Evening When Hope and Historical past Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden usually quotes. (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh)

Elton John performs on the South Garden of the White Home in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. John is looking the present “A Evening When Hope and Historical past Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden usually quotes. (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden and first girl Jill Biden watch as Elton John performs on the South Garden of the White Home in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. John is looking the present “A Evening When Hope and Historical past Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden usually quotes. (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden speaks as David Furnish, husband of Elton John, left, Elton John and first girl Jill Biden pay attention after Biden introduced him with a Nationwide Humanities Medal after a live performance on the South Garden of the White Home in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh)

Elton John performs on the South Garden of the White Home in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. John is looking the present “A Evening When Hope and Historical past Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden usually quotes. (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh)



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