Thursday, 19 July 2012
Paul Simon in Hyde Park
.....she's got wood chips on the soles of her shoes.
After many rainy days in London, the clouds lightened up on Sunday just in time for the third night of concerts put on by the Hard Rock Cafe. We were psyched that we didn't need to bring our umbrella! Long pants and jackets were required, however.
We arrived to see that drinks were a-flowing, so of course a couple of pints of cider were a must. The picnic site had a somewhat musty smell; reminiscent of the chipper room at the Crofton Pulp Mill (for those of you who have had that pleasure).
The wood chips (several thousand cubic yards worth) were dumped on the site after a concert last week (Madonna, I think) which turned the lawn into a massive mud pit. Dig a little into the chips, and voila, mud. The most popular footwear of the day were, of course, rubber boots (wellies)
If you were not interested in a direct view of the three concert stages, you might well just have to sit down for a nice glass/carafe of wine or champagne. You could leave a £5 deposit for a plastic carafe to walk the grounds with.
To the music! We sampled a few performers through the afternoon; a highlight was a guy named Ryan Sheridan from Ireland who put on an excellent performance. Plus his drummer played a plywood box as his drum kit. Very cool.
After some other acts, we settled in to see an old favourite, Big Country!
...and part way through the concert, bam, up pops their lead singer Mike Peters, just a few feet away from us! Interesting fact: the original lead singer of Big Country hanged himself in 2001... Mike Peters is the former lead singer of The Alarm, another Brit band popular in the 80's and 90's.
The one problem with this show is that the Paul Simon concert was starting at the main stage... So we and everyone else left to find a "good" spot to watch Paul Simon.
And indeed, we missed Big Country singing "In a Big Country", but we did catch Paul Simon as he began. The next three hours were spent watching (sort of) Paul Simon perform in front of 50 000 of us. And it was excellent! He played the entire Graceland album with all of the original musicians and guest artists including Ladysmith Black Mombazo and Jimmy Cliff. Each guest had the chance to sing a few songs without Paul, too. I suppose he stepped outside to smoke a "J". He is 70 after all...
This was our spot to watch the concert; if you squint you could perhaps see the stage.