Elton to perform as the sun goes down on British rule

The magic combination of Elton John, Hong Kong's Urban Services Department and the fulfilment of the second Convention of Peking are coming together in June for celebrations to mark the handover of power in the colony. Elton is the first internationally famous star to have been firmly booked by the Urban Services Department for one of the concerts which will celebrate the transfer of power.

Practically every other famous name in the music world has been mentioned as a potential performer for a handover concert. However, those organising these events have been curiously slow off the mark and are having difficulties booking real superstars at relatively short notice.

But Elton has confirmed. "He is coming to Hong Kong on the last weekend of the handover." Peter Randall, head of public relations at the Hong Kong Tourist Association, said yesterday.

Organisers said they hoped 40,000 people would pack Hong Kong stadium for each of the shows on 28 and 29 June. Thousands of tourists are expected, and - with many hotel rooms already taken by journalists, officials and diplomats, it is likely to be one of the biggest parties in the world this year.

The explanation for Elton John's presence seems to lie in the personal preferences of Hong Kong's Governor. Chris Patten, an avid music lover, is said to be a big fan. He invited Elton to lunch at Government House in 1993.

Elton's songs are extremely popular in China, though he has had less luck with plans to perform on the other side of the border. Authorities in Peking are said to have objected several years ago when the idea was mooted of an Elton John concert within the walls of the imperial Forbidden City in Peking.

Hong Kong plans to spend HK$233 million (pounds 18m) on glitzy ceremonies to mark the handover. The Black Watch will be in attendance, to lend the appropriate note of post-imperial grandeur.

The Union Flag will be lowered for the last time in Hong Kong at midnight on 30 June, marking the end of more than a century and a half of colonial rule. China's red flag will then be hoisted.

Perhaps the most apt number for Elton to perform, given the nervousness amongst the HK population, would be an old concert favourite - "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Email Marketing Services

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are looking for a highly or...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultan...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£22000 - £25900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is expanding and th...

Recruitment Genius: Corporate Account Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Corporate Account Manager is ...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders