Credit: Kevin Mazur/

The Tribeca Film Festival kicked off its tenth year with a high note — plenty of them, actually — thanks to Elton John. The performer took the stage on the chilly riverside plaza at NYC’s World Financial Center last night for a few tunes (including classics “Tiny Dancer” and “Rocket Man”) following the world premiere of The Union, Cameron Crowe’s new documentary about the making of John’s album with legendary pianist Leon Russell. “I haven’t seen any of the movie yet,” John told reporters on the red carpet earlier that night. “I’m a little nervous. But very excited.”

The outdoor screening was the centerpiece of Tribeca’s opening night, which rang in the festival’s tenth anniversary with performances by the PS22 school choir and the Bangles, along with introductory remarks by Denis Leary and Martin Scorsese, who lauded the festival for bringing business back to downtown NYC in the years following 9/11. Filmmaker Crowe was a no-show due to the schedule of his upcoming movie We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon. (He sent his support in the form of a video message.) But plenty of other celebs were on hand, including festival jurors David O. Russell, Rainn Wilson, and Anna Kendrick, who watched the festivities from a private section of folding chairs alongside the crowd of New Yorkers gathered on the plaza’s steps for the free spectacle.

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which runs through May 1 at various theaters around NYC, features the world premieres of films like the drama Jesus Henry Christ (starring Martin Sheen and Toni Collette), the music doc God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, and Detachment, a new film from American History X director Tony Kaye.