Elton John to Perform at the White House

Famed songwriter and performer Elton John is slated to perform in Washington D.C. at the White House on Friday (September 23), says a press release from the nation’s capital.

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Reportedly, there is a large tent being put up on the South Lawn for Friday’s show. The construction or the show’s stage and set began Monday, a White House official told CNN.

According to reports, some 2,000 guests have been invited to attend the event, which has been “in the works for several months.”

John will be at the White House for a night called, “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme.” The concert is in collaboration with A&E Networks and The History Channel. The musical performance will air on television at a later date that’s yet to be determined, officials have said.

According to a press release, the event shall “celebrate the unifying and healing power of music, commend the life and work of Sir Elton John, and honor the every day history-makers in the audience, including teachers, nurses, frontline workers, mental health advocates, students, LGBTQ+ advocates and more.” 

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden are scheduled to make remarks during the show. A&E Networks and The History Channel are footing the bill for the event, said White House officials.

According to White House staff, John’s team “expressed an interest on his behalf in playing again at the White House.”

In 1998, the flamboyant performer was invited by then-President Bill Clinton to entertain at a State Dinner for then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The title for Friday’s show comes from a line in a poem by writer Seamus Heaney called, “The Cure of Troy.” President Biden has often said that Heaney is his favorite poet and the POTUS has used the “when hope and history rhyme” line from the work several times in his career, including his acceptance speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

The last stanza of that poem goes:

“That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up 
And hope and history rhyme.”

In Biden’s 2017 memoir, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose, the President wrote that he used to listen to John’s music with his sons, Beau and Hunter Biden. Years later, when Beau was sick with brain cancer, Biden would sing the artist’s songs to him in the hospital.

John is also slated to perform a concert at the baseball Nationals Park on Saturday, following the White House event.

Photo: Greg Gorman / UMe

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