Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
I was so excited about this event for three reasons: firstly because I’d been in Wembley Stadium for Live Aid, secondly to see The Who, and thirdly and most of all to see Pink Floyd again. We (me, Marie, David and Laura) all went, staying the weekend in London. I’d managed to get tickets for the Gold Circle which took us right down the front, next to the stage, so we had an excellent view of the entire day’s proceedings.
Bob Geldof opened the proceedings, followed by Paul McCartney with U2 performing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (It was 20 years ago today! Wonderful). Then U2 performed “Beautiful Day” (with a verse of the Beatles’ “Blackbird”), “Vertigo”, “One” (including a segment from “Unchained Melody”). Coldplay were next up and played “In My Place” with a section from “Rockin’ All Over the World” (cheeky; Quo should have been on stage performing this, but weren’t invited although they of course opened Live Aid), “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (joined by Richard Ashcroft), and “Fix You”. David Walliams and Matt Lucas then came on stage in the role of their Little Britain characters Lou and Andy and introduced Elton John who played “The Bitch Is Back”, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”, and “Children of the Revolution” (with guest Pete Doherty). Bill Gates was then next up on stage to introduce Dido who sang “White Flag” and “Thank You” and “7 Seconds”with Youssou N’Dour.
Stereophonics were followed by REM who were introduced by Ricky Gervais. R.E.M. performed “Imitation of Life”, “Everybody Hurts”, and “Man on the Moon”. Then Kofi Annan introduced Ms. Dynamite who was followed by Keane and Travis. Bob Geldof joined Travis to sing “I Don’t Like Mondays”. Brad Pitt was next on stage to introduce Annie Lennox, then came UB40, Snoop Dogg and Razorlight.
Bob Geldof then introduced 24-year-old Birhan Woldu, the starving Ethiopian child whose image was so powerful in the video shown at Live Aid. Madonna took to the stage, embraced Birhan and held hands with her as she sang “Like a Prayer”.
Madonna was followed by Snow Patrol, The Killers, Joss Stone, Scissor Sisters, and Velvet Revolver (good but a bit out of place at this event). Then Lenny Henry presented Sting who sang the same songs as he performed at Live Aid: “Message in a Bottle”, “Driven To Tears”, and “Every Breath You Take”. Next Dawn French introduced Mariah Carey who was amazing, and David Beckham presented “his friend” Robbie Williams who got the crowd really going with “We Will Rock You”, “Let Me Entertain You”, “Feel”, and “Angels”. Peter Kay sauntered onto the stage and couldn’t resist singing “Is This the Way to Amarillo”.
Now we were moving to the legends; the bands that I had really come to see. The Who played “Who Are You”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. They were followed by an event which I never thought I would see, the reunion of Pink Floyd and a breath-taking performance of “Speak to Me”/”Breathe”, “Money”, “Wish You Were Here” (real lump in the thrat moment and closed with “Comfortably Numb”. It was left to Paul McCartney to close the show with “Get Back”, “Drive My Car” (with George Michael), “Helter Skelter”, and “The Long and Winding Road”. He finished with “Hey Jude’ to which everyone sang along, and which seemed to go on for ever. We left Hyde Park as the crowd continued to sing “Na Na Na NaNa Na Na….”). The show was originally scheduled to close at 9.30pm, but seriously overran and went on until just after midnight.
The Floyd reunion was, of course, the real highlight for me. Gilmour announced the reunion less than a month before the gig, on 12 June 2005: “ Like most people I want to do everything I can to persuade the G8 leaders to make huge commitments to the relief of poverty and increased aid to the third world. It’s crazy that America gives such a paltry percentage of its GNP to the starving nations. Any squabbles Roger and the band have had in the past are so petty in this context, and if re-forming for this concert will help focus attention then it’s got to be worthwhile.” Waters said on stage: “It’s actually quite emotional standing up here with these three guys after all these years. Standing to be counted with the rest of you. Anyway, we’re doing this for everyone who’s not here, but particularly, of course, for Syd.” The screens showed video from their past shows, and a film of the pig from the Animals flying over Battersea Power Station. This was simply mind-blowing stuff; for me it was a very emotional experience. I found Wish You Were Here particularly powerful; you felt they were singing the song for Syd; which of course they were. Syd sadly passed away the following year. With Wright’s subsequent passing in 2008, this was to be the final concert to feature all four playing together.
A great, momentous day.
Archive for the ‘Elton John’ Category
Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985
I went with a couple of mates. We missed out on tickets when they went on sale and the only way we could get there was to buy tickets for a coach trip from Middlesbrough. So we were up at 4am, drove to Middlesbrough and joined a coach which left at 5am for London. We arrived well before noon, had a couple of drinks and entered the stadium, which was of course completely packed so we found a spot in the stands right at the back. A few minutes later Status Quo took to the stage with “Rockin’ All Over The World” and the day started. This was Quo reunited one year after the split, with Alan flying over from Oz to join Francis and Rick. Their short set also featured Caroline” and “Don’t Waste My Time”. A fitting start to the day. I have so many great memories of that day.
Queen’s performance is, of course, often rated as the greatest live performance by any band. Freddie certainly commanded the crowd the day and it propelled them to super stardom. Their well planned set was a medley with short sections of their anthems: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “Hammer To Fall”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”. They had apparently been rehearsing their short set for days, to ensure perfection, and it showed, and worked. U2 weren’t far behind them, though, in terms of performance, with Bono showing how great a front man he was. U2 played two songs: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and a lengthy version of “Bad” during which Bono dragged a girl from the rush down front to dance with him on stage, and which also included snippets from Lou Reed’s “Satellite of love” and “Walk On The Wild Side”, and The Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” and “Sympathy for the Devil”. Electric.
For me, however. the highlights were The Who and David Bowie, as I was, and remain, a big fan of both acts. Bowie started with “TVC15” (a strange and poor choice I felt, and remember being disappointed on the day), “Rebel Rebel” (great, good choice), “Modern Love” (well, ok) and then “Heroes” (we all sag along and it was pure magic). I still feel that with a better choice of songs Bowie could have eclipsed Queen and U2.
The Who performed “My Generation”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Love Reign O’er Me” (another strange song choice given the magnitude of the event) and a blistering “Won’t Get Fooled Again” with much mike swinging by Daltrey and lots of arm twirling by Townshend.
Other memories: Elton and Kiki sang “Don’t go Breaking my Heart” (great!). Paul McCartney suffered from sound problems and we couldn’t hear him at all for much of “Let It Be” although I gather it was fine on TV. Geldof drew massive cheers every time he set foot on stage, and he deserved every one of them. The scheduling worked amazingly, with very few hitches. Seeing the cameras pick out Charles and Diana over in their enclosure. The amazingly camp Bowie and Jagger video. The awful, sad and moving video of starving children played to the Cars’ “Drive”. Phil Collins playing Wembley and JFK courtesy of Concorde (show off).
But the truly unforgettable moment came at the end, and will stay in my mind for ever. That was the finale, with the entire stadium singing along to “Do They Know It’s Christmas ?” with Bob Geldof leading us, and everyone else on stage. I’ve never seen, felt, or heard anything like it before or since. We walked out of that stadium to the coach park, all of us still singing…..”Feed The World”…..
Then it was a long coach ride back to Middlesbrough. We arrived back around 5 or 6am, then drove home. 24 hours with hardly any sleep, just an hour or so caught on the bus, but a day I will remember forever.
Line-up: Status Quo; The Style Council; The Boomtown Rats; Adam Ant; Ultravox; Spandau Ballet; Elvis Costello; Nik Kershaw; Sade; Sting; Phil Collins; Howard Jones; Bryan Ferry (with David Gilmour on guitar); Paul Young/Alison Moyet; U2; Dire Straits/Sting; Queen; Video “Dancing in the Streets” by David Bowie/Mick Jagger; David Bowie; The Who; Elton John (Kiki Dee and George Michael join Elton); Mercury and May; Paul McCartney; Finale
Elton John Brunton Park Carlisle 2007
The tickets for this gig were a very kind present from work colleagues, when I moved on to another job. Laura came along with me to the gig which was another greatest hits set from Elton John. Support came from The Storys. This is my last post on Elton John. I have seen him in concert on one further occasion, at Darlington in 2008, and I have already blogged about that concert. In fact, its about time I saw him again; the concert at Leeds Arena in September looks tempting 🙂
Setlist: Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding; The Bitch Is Back; Hercules; Madman Across the Water; Tiny Dancer; Daniel; Rocket Man; Honky Cat; Sacrifice; I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues; Burn Down the Mission; The Bridge; Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word; Bennie and the Jets; Philadelphia Freedom; Are You Ready for Love; Something About the Way You Look Tonight; Sad Songs; I’m Still Standing; Crocodile Rock; Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting; Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me; Your Song
Elton John Durham County Cricket Club 2006
Laura and I went to this large open air concert which took place in Chester-le-Street at the Cricket Ground which is the home of Durham County Cricket Club. We bought two tickets for a low price on eBay, as I recall. Support came from The Stories. This was another great gig by Elton, and very much a greatest hit set. Setlist: Bennie And The Jets; Philadelphia Freedom; Believe; Daniel; Rocket Man; I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues; Turn The Lights Out When You Leave; They Call Her The Cat; The One; Take Me To The Pilot; Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding; Tiny Dancer; I Want Love; Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word; Sacrifice; Are You Ready For Love; I’m Still Standing; The Bitch Is Back; Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting); Crocodile Rock; Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me; Your Song. I am almost through writing about Elton John, just one more concert to report on.
Elton John Newcastle Arena 2004
It was 2004 and Elton John released a new album: Peachtree Road. This was his 28th studio album, and Elton went out on the road to promote it, calling at Newcastle Arena iton 7 December 2004. I went along to the gig with Laura, and we had good seats quite close to the front. Tickets were again quite expensive at £50 which was becoming the norm for an Elton John gig. The first part of the set featured several tracks form the Peachtree Road album: Weight of the World; Porch Swing in Tupelo; Answer in the Sky; Turn the Lights Out When You Leave; My Elusive Drug; They Call Her the Cat; Freaks in Love; All That I’m Allowed (I’m Thankful); and I Can’t Keep This from You. Then Elton played a set of favourites: Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word; Daniel; Rocket Man; I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues; Tiny Dancer; Are You Ready for Love; Philadelphia Freedom; Border Song; Levon; Burn Down the Mission; Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me; I’m Still Standing; The Bitch Is Back; Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!); Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting; Your Song.
Elton John Raby Castle 2000
From the Raby Castle website: “Home to Lord Barnard’s family since 1626, Raby is one of the finest medieval Castles in England. Built by the mighty Nevill family in the 14th Century, Raby remained in the Nevill family until 1569 when after the failure of the Rising of the North, the Castle and its lands were forfeited to the Crown. In 1626, Sir Henry Vane the Elder purchased Raby and the Castle has remained in the Vane family ever since.” This was a solo concert with Elton and piano in the grounds of Raby Castle, Durham, as part of a tour of stately homes. It had been some 10 years since I last saw Elton in concert. I went with Marie and we really enjoyed it. We had seats close to the front, and a great view. The weather wasn’t too good with a little rain as I recall. The tickets were expensive at £50 each, which seemed a lot at the time. Setlist: Your Song, The Greatest Discovery, Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Daniel, Harmony, Honky Cat, Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer, Philadelphia Freedom, Sacrifice, Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues, Burning Down The Mission, Blue Eyes, Empty Garden, Crocodile Rock. Encore: Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me, The Circle of Life, Benny and the Jets, Candle in the Wind.
Elton John Knebworth 1990
The next time I saw Elton John was on a multi-act bill at Knebworth in 1990. This was the Silver Clef Award Winners Concert and had an amazing line-up including Pink Floyd, Cliff Richard & Genesis; The Shadows, Tears for Fears, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant (with guest Jimmy Page), and Status Quo. Pretty strong bill! I won a pair of free tickets in a competition; I think is was with KitKat, and Marie and I went down for the weekend. This was a great concert, which deserves a blog post of its own. I’ll save that for another day, and limit my reflections today to Elton’s part of the day. Some of the acts such as Paul McCartney and Pink Floyd got to play pretty full sets, but most of the other bands were limited to a few songs. Elton played three of his own songs: Sacrifice; Sad Songs; and Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, and also jammed with Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler, playing Sunshine of Your Love and possibly a couple of more songs. Pretty sure Ray Cooper was also in the band.