John’s set will stretch just over two hours, from 9pm until 11.05pm. Performing before him are Yusuf/Cat Stevens in the Sunday afternoon Legends slot, followed by Blondie, then rapper Lil Nas X.
Glastonbury’s other headliners are Arctic Monkeys on Friday (23 June) and Guns and Roses on Saturday (24 June).
Despite his career spanning seven decades, 2023 marks John’s first time attending – let alone headlining – Glastonbury. In a recent interview, the pianist said that this was actually the first time he’d ever been asked to play the festival.
In fact, John has played few festivals throughout his career. He and Taupin used to attend Isle of Wight together, but recently said: “It’s too many people for me. I don’t like crowds. I have played festivals and I’ve really enjoyed them. But of course, Glastonbury is the crème de la crème.”
Of headlining, he told Scott Mills on Radio 2: “To be honest with you, it’s the first time I’ve been asked to play it, I haven’t turned it down before. But it’s just come at the right time. I’m a great believer in serendipity and fate and this is the most wonderful way to sign off in England and Great Britain.”
Releasing his first record in 1969, John has put out a whopping 31 studio albums throughout his sparkling musical career, working with his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.
Despite suffering major struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, the singer’s career has had a lasting career and has been sober sice the Nineties. With a back catalogue of hits including “I’m Still Standing”, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Bennie and the Jets” and “Your Song” to pull from, his Glastonbury set is sure to feature bangers spanning his career.
In recent years, John has become a champion of exciting new artists, collaborating with the likes of Lil Nas X, Years and Years, and Rina Sawayama.
In 2021, he collaborated with pop queen Dua Lipa on “Cold Heart”, a duet remixing his songs “Rocket Man”, “Kiss the Bride”, “Sacrifice”, and “Where’s the Shoorah?”.
While it is unknown if any of these acts will join him on stage at Glastonbury, John has teased that his show will be star-studded, and feature a different setlist to his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.
Following 10 nights at London’s O2 Arena, John is currently playing across the UK and Europe with his touring goodbye show, which has been delayed twice due to the pandemic.
“I’ve got a different setlist to the tour, it’s going to be much different,” he said. “I’ve got guests and I can’t tell you who they are, but it’s going to be wonderful. I’m really looking forward to it.”
However, even stars like John get nervous about a Glastonbury gig. Speaking about the festival, the father-of-two told BBC London: “I’m a little, not frightened, but I’m a little intimidated by it because I haven’t played there, I haven’t been there.”