16 Feb 2020

Elton John tells Auckland crowd: 'My voice is shot'

11:46 pm on 16 February 2020

First published on NZ Herald

Sir Elton John has been forced to call off his first Auckland concert midway through the performance after suffering pneumonia and losing his voice.

The singer has been diagnosed with "walking pneumonia".

"I'm sorry, so very sorry," a distraught John told the Auckland crowd.

He appeared almost in tears and needed to be assisted from the stage after attempting to launch into Daniel, but having no voice.

The song was number 16 in a 25-strong playlist.

He had just struggled to perform Candle in the Wind and told the audience he did not know how long he could continue as he "had nothing left". He left the stage just after 9pm and the stage, screens and stadium were left in darkness.

However, he managed to return to the stage about eight minutes later in a new costume.

"My voice is shot" the superstar told fans tonight at Mt Smart Stadium, but had said he was determined to give Auckland a great show regardless.

Just after 10.30pm tonight, John posted a heartfelt message on Instagram to his loyal fans.

"I want to thank everyone who attended tonight's gig in Auckland. I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia earlier today, but I was determined to give you the best show humanly possible. 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."

He signed the message off saying "Love, Elton xx".

MISSION ESTATE - Elton John Concert - Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, 06 February  2020. Photo by John Cowpland / alphapix

Elton John performed to a packed house at the Mission Estate Winery in Napier on Saturday. Photo: www.alphapix.co.nz

Earlier, the concert was paused for almost five minutes straight after John completed Someone Saved My Life Tonight about 8.40pm.

John remained on his piano stool as assistants - and what appeared to be medical staff - tended to him. Some concertgoers believed his blood pressure was being taken as the assistants spoke to him.

There were no announcements and John remained on stage. After several minutes and without speaking, John continued the concert with the song Levon.

The large screens flanking the stage had briefly gone dark but within minutes the concert resumed - to wild cheers from the crowd at Mt Smart Stadium.

Tonight was the first of three shows in Auckland.

Walking pneumonia is an infection caused by bacteria that primarily affects an individual's lower and upper respiratory tract.

The condition is not as severe as the other forms of pneumonia and in most cases hospitalisation and bed rest are not required for recovery. It goes unnoticed and feels similar to the common cold for most individuals.

John has resumed his tour of New Zealand after jetting back from Los Angeles to attend the Academy Awards.

The Auckland leg of the superstar's New Zealand tour comes in the middle of the longest dry spell on record.

Today was Auckland's 41st day in a row without rain. MetService meteorologist Tahlia Crabtree said there was a chance of isolated showers in Auckland on Tuesday - when John plays his second Auckland gig.

He last night performed at the Mission Estate Winery in Napier to a packed crowd, with scores of fans arriving early in a bid to get the best vantage point possible.