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 ‘Razorlight’ Category
Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
The Olympic Torch Concert The Mall London 26th June 2004
Tickets were given away free, through a ballot, for this concert to mark the arrival of the Olympic Torch in London in 2004. The publicity at the time announced: “As the Olympics draw closer, London will host the Olympic Torch Relay and we have tickets to give away for the Olympic Torch Concert. It will be a landmark event for London and the UK as the torch is carried though 11 London boroughs on Saturday, 26 June. The Mall, for the first time, will become a gigantic open-air venue for 70,000 people, linking sport and music. Rock legend Rod Stewart will headline with James Brown and many other music stars such as Jamelia and Emma Bunton will also be performing in celebration of the Olympic flame coming to London” (BBC, 2004). David Campbell, chief executive of Visit London, said: “We are enormously proud to be associated with the Olympic flame’s visit to London, and are delighted at the support we have been given by all the artists for what will be a spectacular concert and day of entertainment. Visit London wanted to stage an event that encompassed the ethos of the Olympic ideal, bringing it to the people in one of the world’s most famous capital cities. We are confident that the Olympic Torch Concert and all the events on 26 June will do just that.” This was the first time the Olympic torch had come to Britain since 1948.
The full line-up of the concert was: Rod Stewart, Ozzy & Kelly Osbourne, James Brown, Will Young, Emma Bunton, Beverley Knight, Jamelia, McFly, Rachel Stevens, Razorlight. Marie and I were lucky enough to score a couple of tickets in the ballot so we went to London for the weekend for this special event. We arrived early, but the place was completely packed, with the stage right down the bottom of The Mall. It was impossible to get anywhere near the stage, but video screens had bee erected along the length of The Mall to show the concert and the progress of the Olympic torch as it was carried through London boroughs by 140 torchbearers. Sir Roger Bannister, 75 at the time, and the first man to break the four-minute mile in 1954, started the relay and brought it to a close by running up the centre of The Mall onto the stage. Highlights of the concert were Ozzy and Kelly singing “Changes”, James Brown and Will Young dueting on “Papa’s got a brand new bag” and Rod Stewart’s short three song set, which featured the cast from “Tonight’s The Night” (a big West End success at the time) on “Sailing” and “Rhythm of my heart”. But more importantly the concert also featured Rod with his old Faces mate Ronnie Wood on guitar for “Stay With Me”. You can see it below on YouTube. We are right at the back of the crowd watching a screen 😦 We probably would have had a better view watching it on TV, but the atmosphere in London was great 🙂 .
Rod’s performance with Ronnie Wood made the day, and the trip to London, worthwhile for me. It was great to see the two of them performing together again, even it was only for a few moments, and it brought back many happy memories.