Elton thrills the crowds at Holkham

Despite Sir Elton John's famous lyrical plea, the sun did eventually go down on Holkham Hall tonight as 15,000 fans admired a performance from a British music legend.

Despite Sir Elton John's famous lyrical plea, the sun did eventually go down on Holkham Hall tonight as 15,000 fans admired a performance from a British music legend.

But the flamboyant rocker was still standing after a dramatic two-and-a-half hour show which enraptured the crowds basking in glorious sunshine for his last UK show of the year.

Clearly enjoying the Norfolk weather and his stately surroundings, Sir Elton said: "We're very happy to be here on this beautiful evening - this is the first warm night we've had."

The record Holkham audience was treated to highlights from the Rocket Man's four-decade career including classics like I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, Candle In The Wind and an emotional finale of Your Song.

And while Sir Elton insisted that Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting, Sunday night seemed far better suited to an early-summer picnic - judging by the patchwork of rugs and hampers dotted around the grounds of Lord Coke's ancestral home.

Lord Coke said he was delighted to see the massed music fans Crocodile Rocking on his back garden.

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He said: "I don't think we could have asked for better weather, and it is such a joy to have someone of Sir Elton's calibre here.

"We decided not to do a concert last year. We were offered a couple of tribute bands but we thought they would cheapen our brand and it seems that decision has been vindicated."

Lord Coke said he had "eclectic music tastes" and named Rocket Man among his favourite Elton anthems.

"I've not met him yet, but I hope to later," he said. "It should be one of the perks of having him play at your house."

The giant Holkham stage, which took six days to construct, was framed by the estate's stunning woodland and lake - providing a perfect setting for such rock royalty.

Holkham Hall, near Wells, has previously hosted acts like Jools Holland, Girls Aloud and Jose Carreras. But with global record sales of more than �250m, Sir Elton is comfortably the biggest name to have been attracted to the Norfolk estate.

The demand for ticket sales meant the venue needed to double its previous capacity of 10,000.

Last night's performance was Sir Elton's first in Norfolk since packing out Carrow Road in Norwich four years ago.

Earlier in the evening, Coronation Street actor-turned-singer Richard Fleeshman warmed up the audience as they eagerly awaited the headline act to take the stage.

Among the fans at the front of the crowd were Angela Mills, her sisters Julie Moses and Sarah Eldin, her cousin Caroline Grant and friend Petula Willetts - all decked out in over-sized 70s sunglasses in honour of their hero.

Mrs Mills, 42, from King's Lynn, said: "I just hope he sings Philadelphia Freedom - I used to sing it into my hairbrush with my sister when we were tiny.

"To us, Elton John sums up the Glam Rock era. We thought what better way to pay homage to Elton than to wear big glasses out of respect for a man who has produced fantastic records for the last 40 years."

t See www.edp24.co.uk later tomorrow for more pictures and video footage from the concert.

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