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Sir Elton John has invited a who’s who of pop stars to perform at his annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party over the past 26 years — St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Scissor Sisters, Raphael Saadiq, Ryan Adams, Emeli Sandé, even Grace Jones — but when he jammed onstage at this this year’s event with Michigan retro-rock saviors Greta Van Fleet, he joked, “This is the youngest band I’ve ever played with!”
They may be young, but 21-year-old twins Josh (vocals) and Jake Kiszka (guitar), their 18-year-old brother Sam (bass), and 18-year-old brother drummer Danny Wagner held their own alongside the nearly 71-year-old John as John banged out some boogie-woogie piano on their tune “You’re the One” and his own classic “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” After their spirited jam session, which felt like a torch-passing moment, an elated Josh told the crowd, “I can die in peace now.”
A post shared by Lyndsey Parker (@lyndseyparker) on Mar 5, 2018 at 8:57am PST
A post shared by Lyndsey Parker (@lyndseyparker) on Mar 5, 2018 at 9:01am PST
“Whoever said rock is dead is wrong,” Elton declared as he introduced the band at his fundraiser, held Sunday at West Hollywood Park. “When I saw these guys, I went crazy. … They’re amazing. They’re going to be one of the biggest new bands of the year. They have an amazing future ahead of them. and I’m so thrilled, so thankful to have them come onstage and play for you.” (In a pre-party interview Loudwire, Jake said when they got the call from John inviting them to play the soiree, he told them Greta Van Fleet is “the best rock ‘n’ roll I’ve heard in 20 f***ing years!”)
— Greta Van Fleet Updates (@GVFDaily) March 5, 2018
John seemed in a much better mood than he had the previous evening, when he stormed offstage in Las Vegas after a handsy fan disrupted his show. When he wasn’t behind the piano playing with Greta Van Fleet Sunday, he sat sidestage next to the soundboard, bobbing his head and grooving to their hard-charging originals like “Safari Song” and “Black Smoke Rising.”
Party guests seemed to share John’s enthusiasm for the born-in-the-wrong-decade trad-rockers, thrilling to Josh’s stratospheric, wailing vocals and the band’s Zeppelin-esque bombast. (Side note: Robert Plant is also a fan.) Among the EJAF 2018 gala’s attendees were his Grammy duet partner Miley Cyrus with Liam Hemsworth, Lea Michele, Lionel and Sofia Richie, Heidi Klum, Ricky Martin, Caitlyn Jenner, Tommy Wisesau, and David Foster with Katharine McPhee. Organizers say the event raised $5.9 million.
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