Bigger and better than ever, the British Summer Time series of concerts in London’s Hyde Park came to a spectacular end with Stevie Wonder doing Songs In The Key Of Life
from start to finish plus enough hits and fan favourites to fill a four-hour set.
That’s the wonder of Wonder: At age 66 he still has stamina to spare. He also made a passionate plea for us all to “choose love over hate” before launching into his 40-year-old masterpiece with Love’s In Need Of Love Today
– a message that’s as relevant as it’s ever been.
Supporting Stevie was the fabulous Pharrell, whilst second on the bill the night before was an exuberant Olly Murs – his trousers tight, his dancing loose, his smile a mile wide as he delivered songs like Wrapped Up
to a rousing reception.
Then it was the turn of Take That, a band whose shows get bigger as their line-up shrinks. Now down to just Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald, they bombarded the audience with confetti, set off fireworks and filled the catwalk stage with dancers and acrobats.
But it was the songs that got everyone going: Patience
, Rule The World
, Never Forget
etc etc etc. By the time they got around to Sigma collaboration Cry
they’d turned Hyde Park into a huge open air party.
The previous week history was made when Carole King performed her seminal Tapestry
album in its entirety for the first time ever. And what a performance it was. One of the biggest-selling albums of all time, with some 25 million copies shifted around the world, the 1971 classic – boasting such timeless songs as I Feel The Earth Move
, It’s Too Late
and You’ve Got A Friend
– has a fond place in many people’s hearts and Carole sang and played it perfectly.
Overcome with emotion at times, beaming from ear to ear, duetting with her younger self on the video screens, having her very talented daughter Louise Goffin on stage to share some of the harmonies and bringing the audience to tears on more than one occasion, King was as captivating as her music. She was funny too, announcing “This is what 74 looks like”, her earth-mother beauty still very much in evidence.
done with after a rousing (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
, Carole stayed around to sing songs she co-wrote for other artists like The Loco-Motion,
which Little Eva took to the top of the charts in 1962 long before Kylie tackled it.
It was a warm, wonderful show on a hot summer’s night and a contrast to supporting player Don Henley’s set. The former Eagles frontman spent too much time on his solo work and not enough on the band’s back catalogue, although he redeemed himself with Hotel California
– the latter movingly dedicated to fellow Eagles frontman Glenn Frey who died in January.
Completing a stellar line-up of top acts across British Summer Time’s 2016 stint were Massive Attack and Florence And The Machine, proving BST to be the most diverse of festivals. We can’t wait to see who they secure for next year. Spice Girls anyone?
Words: Simon Button