Sir Elton John kicked off Robert De Niro's Tribeca Film Festival in style on Wednesday (20Apr11) when he performed a free outdoor mini-concert after the New York premiere of his documentary The Union.
The movie, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Rocket Man's album of the same name with blues great Leon Russell, opened the 10th annual Tribeca Film Festival in downtown Manhattan and the Brit delighted fans by walking the red carpet alongside special guests including revered filmmaker Martin Scorsese, twin moguls Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and actor Denis Leary.
Russell and The Union director Cameron Crowe were unable to join John for the screening, but sent video messages expressing their thanks to Tribeca organisers and attendees at the public event.
Speaking before the film, Elton admitted he was stunned to see The Union selected as the opening night's big premiere and he was more than happy to take part in the celebrations.
He told Fox TV, "It's a huge honour, I'm blown away. I haven't seen the film, I'm so nervous, but it's gonna be fantastic.
"If they ask you to open the film festival, the least you can do is play a couple of songs for them!"
After the screening, Elton entertained thousands of devotees by taking to an outdoor stage and belting out six songs, although he admitted the cool breeze from the scenic Hudson River was making it difficult to play the piano at his best, because his hands felt like "ice".
The Tribeca Film Festival runs until 1 May (11).
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