06.29.2008 - 2008-06-29 LONDON: Hyde Park / Music history at Hard Rock Calling...
Music history at Hard Rock Calling...
It's been a big weekend as far as the British music scene is concerned. Despite much criticism, Glastonbury pulled it out of the bag and Nelson Mandela's 90th Birthday celebrations saw Queen and Will Smith take to the stage in Hyde Park on Friday.
So with the festival atmosphere in full swing it was only fitting that it should continue with Hard Rock Calling. Eric Clapton and The Police headlined the event; with The Police playing their final UK date to a crowd of 35,000 last night. What a note on which to end an era.
The band couldn't have picked a better opening number than 'Message In a Bottle' - iconic and with just the right rhythm to set the mood. Songs like 'Roxanne', 'Can't Stand Losing You' and 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' are hard to beat in the live performance stakes; building up an electric atmosphere for a night that will go down in music history. The defining moment came in the encore with 'Every Breath You Take'. Arms in the air, the audience could not have been more transfixed on what must have been an emotional moment for Sting and co. Superb.
As expected, Clapton played well on Saturday but there wasn't the same sense of energy. 'Layla' received a lively reaction from the audience making the second half of his show the better.
Sheryl Crow did a good job of warming things up earlier in the day. 'A lot has happened since I was last here. I got engaged, got un-engaged, had breast cancer and adopted a baby,' she said. 'Soak Up The Sun' and 'All I Wanna Do' were ideal for the occasion.
John Mayer played for the second night in London; following Friday's gig at Brixton. The set list was condensed for the 45 minute Hard Rock slot; meaning songs like 'Say' and 'Slow Dancing In a Burning Room', two of the best at Brixton, were missing. His stunning guitar solos on songs like 'Gravity' and a blues version of Duffy's 'Mercy' made up for this.
Acts like KT Tunstall and Starsailor were also well-received with Starsailor's 'Four to the Floor' a highlight.
Festival season is officially under way and things look promising. Here's hoping the best is yet to come.
© Evening Standard by Amira Hashish