Sir Elton John broke down in tears during his Auckland show, leaning on the piano before being ushered off stage, wrapping up the concert early.
The 72-year-old artist attempted to start singing Daniel, but couldn’t talk.
“I’ve just completely lost my voice. I can’t sing,” John told the sold-out crowd at Mt Smart Stadium.
“I’ve got to go. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
People in the crowd were in tears after witnessing the world-famous singer break down and be escorted from the stage, the end of an emotional night for the legendary musician.
Following the gig, John posted an apology on Instagram.
“I played and sang my heart out, until my voice could sing no more. I’m disappointed, deeply upset and sorry. I gave it all I had. Thank-you so much for your extraordinary support and all the love you showed me during tonight’s performance. I am eternally grateful. Love, Elton xx,” he wrote shortly after leaving the stage.
Earlier, John was forced to interrupt his concert after Someone Saved My Life Tonight. to be checked by a medic as he sat at his black Yamaha grand piano on stage. The crowd was eerily silent, but after about five minutes, without a word, John turned around to crack on with Levon.
However, he then admitted: “I don’t know how much longer I can sing, I just don’t have anything left.
“I will try, but I just can’t promise anything,” he said, with a croaking voice, going on to belt out Candle in the Wind.
Walking out to a standing ovation for his first Auckland gig on Sunday night, John took the stage with his trademark razzle dazzle. He wore a black velvet suit, with salmon lapels and gold trim. All outfits on this farewell tour were designed by Gianni Versace. John’s rose-coloured glasses and golden spats shimmered around the stadium as he opened with big hit Bennie and the Jets.
After his second song, All the Girls Love Alice, John told the full house, constantly on their feet, that he had been diagnosed with “walking pneumonia” earlier on Sunday.
Also known as atypical pneumonia, it is a bacterial infection that affects the upper and lower respiratory tract. It’s not as serious as other forms of pneumonia and doesn’t usually require hospitalisation, but symptoms can last between a week and a month.
“My voice is kinda shot, but I don’t want to miss this,” he reassured the crowd.
Despite ill health forcing the showman to cut his 25-song setlist down to 16, Auckland concert goers would not feel ripped off. The ultimate showman could barely talk when he addressed the crowd in between songs, but his singing voice remained epic until the end.
The mood was edgy, with a 10-minute costume change after Candle easily mistaken for something more sinister. But John, slightly unexpectedly, returned to stage in a powder blue suit with bejewelled cats face on the back, to glide across the stage on his piano, playing Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding. And then the show took a terrible turn, leaving us missing out on classics such as Crocodile Rock and Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. But the most disappointed person in a packed Mt Smart was John himself.
Recently, health problems and bad weather have caused issues at multiple Elton John concerts.
At the end of January, the singer was forced to abandon a concert in Melbourne, Australia, due to torrential rain and hail.
On October 26, 2019, an “extremely unwell” John postponed his Farewell Yellow Brick Road concert in Indianapolis, Indiana, US.
He will play that concert in March.
In May last year, flu forced the singer to cancel a concert in Verona, Italy, as well.
In late 2018, the singer postponed a Farewell Yellow Brick Road show in Orlando, Florida, US, half an hour after it was scheduled to begin.
At the time, John apologised to fans, saying an ear infection had made the delay necessary.
John announced he would embark on the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in January, 2018.
The tour, a three-year, five-continent outing, includes more than 300 concerts, and is the last of his career.
He is currently about halfway through, with Australia, the US and Europe still to visit. The tour will wrap up in London in December 2020.
After announcing his final tour, John addressed speculation it had anything to do with his health, saying, “if you’re going to do 300 shows, you’re not in ill health.”
The reasoning, The Guardian reported, was that the singer would like to spend more time with his two children.
“When I stop, they will be 10 and eight and that’s a very important time in their lives. I don’t want to miss them, and I don’t want them to miss me.
“It’s going to be the most produced, fantastic show I’ve ever done. It’s a way of saying thank you and going out with a bang. I don’t want to go out with a whimper.”
Farewell to Kiwi fans
John flew in to Auckland this weekend on the back of two concerts at Mission Estate Winery in Napier, broken up by a jet back to LA for the Oscars last Monday.
He is due to play two more Auckland shows – Tuesday, February 18 and Thursday, February 20.
There is no word yet on if there will be refunds from Sunday night’s performance or if Tuesday and Thursday will go ahead.
The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour will be John’s last-ever shows in New Zealand.
Sir Elton John was crying when he was forced to cut tonight’s concert short coz he’s completely lost his voice. 💔💔💔 He did his best rocking out like 13 songs even with pneumonia. He’s a legend. We still love you. Thank you for an awesome night ❤❤❤ #EltonFarewellTour
— 🍍⛧⭐️Elleven;🕛➰ (@elleRK17)
— wackado (@wackado)
just witnessed elton john break down crying during our concert, because he lost his voice and had to stop 🥺
— 𝐣𝐚𝐝𝐚 ♡ (@sugarfineline)
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