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The rain was pouring down outside, closing roads, stranding some, and forcing others to flee their homes around the lower South Island.
But that did not stop the pilgrimage to the southern city to see the pop rock giant perform.
Crowds were happy as they went through the gates at Forsyth Barr Stadium and tens of thousands leapt to their feet as the 72-year-old performer opened the four-stop New Zealand leg of his ‘‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’’ tour with Bennie and the Jets, the beloved third track from his classic 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
The ‘‘drenched but happy’’ crowd was still pouring into the venue about 8pm.
Among them, Aaron Fauteux, of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, had been travelling in New Zealand since June, but came to Dunedin a few days ago to catch the performer in action.
In a Hawaiian shirt and novelty glasses, he was entirely unperturbed by the inclement weather on the way in to the stadium.
‘‘I’m not here for the weather, I’m here for Elton John,’’ he said.
A crew of six Kiwi friends piled from their car into a drenched Anzac Ave to join what at past performances at the stadium had been a packed parade to the venue.
The sextet wore their fedoras over their clear plastic ponchos.
And like most of the crowd as they got closer to the show, they all wore smiles despite the cold wet weather.
‘‘We’re actually enjoying it, because where we’re from it is damn hot,’’ Debbie Stevens, of Nelson, said.
‘‘We’ve all got ponchos.’’