There was Crocodile Rockin’ on the South Lawn of the White House.
Same toggle Elton John was blown away by the glamorous setting outside the White House on Friday night, with President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden in attendance.
“I don’t know what to say, what a dump,” joked John, 75, as he took the stage with an illuminated White House in the background, before getting serious. “I’ve played in some nice places before, but that’s probably the icing on the cake.”
John dropped by South Lawn for a show called “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme”, a reference to a poem by Irish Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden often quotes.
A giant outdoor tent and stage were set up on the White House lawn for the show. The 2,000-person guest list included teachers, nurses, frontline workers and LGBTQ advocates, as well as civil rights activist Ruby Bridges and Jeanne White-Ginder, an AIDS activist and mother of Ryan White, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1990. Former first lady Laura Bush also attended.
Jill Biden introduced President Biden, calling him “a huge fan who also happens to be the President of the United States”
Biden praised John for his music, thanking him for “lifting the soul of our nation” and for the singer’s philanthropic work for HIV/AIDS.
“Seamus Heaney once wrote, and I quote, ‘Once in a lifetime, the long-awaited tidal wave of justice may rise, and hope and history rhyme,’ Biden said. Throughout his incredible career, Sir Elton John has been that tidal wave, a tidal wave to help people rise up and bring hope and history together.
During filming, John praised Ryan White, saying he got sober six months after the teenager’s death. John dedicated “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” to White.
“Ryan, you saved my life, thank you so much,” John said.
John played “Crocodile Rock” in the set, a favorite Biden song.
Biden wrote his 2017 memoir “Promise Me, Dad” about singing “Crocodile Rock” to his two young boys as he drove them to school, and again later to his son Beau before that. he only died of cancer at age 46.
“I started singing Beau’s lyrics, quietly, so we could both hear it,” Biden wrote. “Beau didn’t open his eyes, but I could see through my own tears that he was smiling.”
At the end of the show, Biden surprised John with the National Humanities Medal for his songbook and long legacy of advocacy.
John admitted to being blown away by the night and the medal, saying, “I will cherish this so much.”
Contributor: Associated Press