BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park – Review

Radio 2 Live Hyde Park

9th September 2012

A Festival In a Day

With a line-up including Status QuoJessie J and  Emeli Sandé what could go wrong?  Well, not a lot – actually.

Tempers got a little frayed and visitors started to get very hot and grumpy in the afternoon,  when the organizers left several thousands of festival goers to form a huge melee (you couldn’t really call it a queue) at the entrance to the venue.

Although the doors were officially opened at 2:30 pm – most of the ticket-holding folk were left standing outside the entrance – in the hot sun –  for at least 40 minutes…  some for up to an hour. Security personnel wandered around looking helpless. It was a poor start to the afternoon.

And once inside the venue area, the main crowd was offered only two packed-to-the-gunwales bars – one each side of the vast field.  Not enough food and drink outlets were available. And the kiosks seem to be ‘surprised’ by the size of the crowds – one kiosk even  ‘ran out’ of change within the first hour and could only serve punters if they ‘had the correct money’ with them !

But at least the loos were clean. And the sun was shining (well,  for most of the time, anyway.) But what really mattered was the crowd. The audience was really special. Friendly, happy, caring and patient. It was a real joy to celebrate with them.

The running order seemed a bit perverse. How does the Norwegian group Katzenjammer outrank Mick Hucknall?    And how does the American country music outfit ‘The Band Perry’ outrank the supremely talented Emeli Sandé ?

Nevertheless, the show was seamlessly put together – with very quick stage turn-arounds,  and some superb performances by the stars on show.  But, how about paying a fiver for a flimsy looking makeshift ‘Official Programme’ ?  At one point I started to think that the organisers must really hate the ticket buying public.

Much was expected of Paloma Faith.  She wore a bunch of black feathers crowned upon her adorable red-gold hair.  She spent most of her time on stage perched upon one of the two pianos. One piano was a teeny-tiny kiddies ‘fairy’ piano.  The other was a black concert grand that she ‘draped’ herself  over ‘gracefully’ .  Paloma did not disappoint. Her performance was strong and hugely enjoyable.

Status Quo never fails to deliver and they put on a magnificent show in the September sunset.  They have the ability to sound and act like a pub band. Even when they are playing to several thousands of joyfully dancing fans, in an enormous field.  “Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘n’ You” from their recent album ‘Quid Pro Quo’ (2011) tended to sound a bit more like an offering from Chas ‘n’ Dave ( “No Jagu-arr …  no Lah-De-Dah …” )  than by the rock band that brought us the infinitely raucous “Roll Over Lay Down” and the cover of “In the Army Now”  in 1986 (Bolland/Bolland).  But, still, it was a hugely uplifting set – and enormous fun.

Jessie J sounded  (and looked) rockily metallic and seemed to be one of the biggest draws for visitors – young and old.  And the Average White Band got everyone up and grooving. It’s surprising how many of their hits you know. They are an astonishingly proficient band and were a perfect choice for the show.

Tom Jones seemed elegant and relaxed. Airing some new material like his interpretation of the McCartney song ‘(I Want To) Come Home’ from his covers collection ‘Spirit In The Room’  his voice now seems dark and mysterious. His masterful delivery was lustrous.

In large part, this was a great day. Front of house management seemed to be apathetic or absent.  And the running order was confusing.  But the quality of the music made up for it.

And the audience radiated love.  And what could be better than that?

– © Neil_Mach September 2012 –


One Comment

  1. Kath Butterworth

    We were there, had an amazing time and will be there next year too. A couple of gripes though, we were right at the back of the field and definately couldn’t see the stage and the big screens at the side of the stage were still a long way away. Couldn’t they put a couple more screens closer to the middle/back of the field?
    Also why were we not allowed to take our own alcohol into the event? They were happy to sell it so it coudn’t be because they wanted to monitor consumption. Also alcohol was permitted to be taken into the proms in the park on Saturday.

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