TORONTO - Elton John paid tribute to the late Queen at his final Toronto show Thursday, calling her an “inspiring” presence in his life.
“She led the country through some of our greatest and darkest moments with grace and decency and genuine warmth,” John said.
“I'm glad she's at peace and I'm glad she's at rest. She served and she worked bloody hard.”
Earlier in the day Buckingham Palace announced Queen Elizabeth II had died at 96. She was the longest-serving British monarch and Canadian head of state.
“We celebrate her life tonight with music,” John said. He then performed his 1974 track “Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”
The 75-year-old British singer has many ties to the Royal Family.
In 1988, he was knighted by the Queen for his contributions to music and charitable organizations.
He's also performed at numerous events for the Royal Family, including the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, where he sang a reworked version of his 1973 song “Candle in the Wind.”
John's concert was the second of two nights at Toronto's Rogers Centre and part of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, billed as his final tour.
He appeared on stage wearing a sparkling black suit and a pink pair of bejewelled glasses. Wasting little time, he slipped behind his grand piano to begin.
“This is my last ever concert in Toronto so I've got to make it special,” he said early in the show. “We'll have the very best time.”
He performed a run of his classics, including “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man” and “Levon.” After each, he rose from his bench to receive thundering applause from the crowd with open arms and a toothy smile.
He'll play two further Canadian dates on Oct. 21 and 22 in Vancouver before eventually heading to Europe for shows into mid-2023.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 8, 2022.