Sunday, 13 September 2015

We felt it

As predicted, Proms in the Park was an utterly splendid day's entertainment - and the looming clouds all blew over so it stayed warm and dry the whole time we were there (particularly useful if one is decamped in the middle of a packed-to-the-gunnels Hyde Park all day!).

Our gang - Sal, Baby Steve, Alex, Lou, John-John, Julie and we two - brought oodles of nibbles for the picnic and enough booze to sink a battleship, flags, glow-sticks and the rest, and settled in for a top-notch day's entertainment to mark the final "shout" of the "Summer Season".

For once, the first half (the "daylight bit") had no bottom-drawer artists or "tribute bands". The Mavericks got all 40,000 of us in the audience up dancing, especially with their mega-hit Dance the Night Away (here performing on Top of the Pops):

The very lovely Beverley Knight, Matt Cardle and the cast of Memphis were faboo:

...and (the - ahem - appropriately named for a boy band) Jack Pack concluded the early session with a storming set of swing numbers, including their latest single (with its rather extravagant video), Light My Fire! Superb.

As the interval - and the sunset - began (and the park started to resemble a rather over-stocked gannet colony, with people trying to cram themselves into every available gap nearer the stage; we resisted all incursions rather well, we thought), and the inevitable stumble back and forth to the loos was achieved, we convened our "Grand Committee of the Official Costume Theme for Gay Pride 2016". More of that in due course...

Part two - as is to be expected - was just as excellent as the early session. With the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Royal Choral Society on our stage, and splendid solo turns from trumpeter Alison Balsom and soprano Danielle de Niese, it was class all the way...

Indeed, the show opened with one of our favourite singers Miss Caro Emerald! She was fab - and, true to the ethos of the day, here's my anthem, Liquid Lunch!

One of Britain's favourite tenors Mr Russell Watson did a fine set, including the crowd-pleaser Volare:

But what of the band we'd all been dying to see? The Jacksons - for it was they - were utterly superb!

I must confess, I was never a huge fan of the saintly Michael, but I recognise great musicianship when I hear it. The surviving brothers definitely provided that in abundance - complete with big-screen tributes to their "Jackson 5" heyday. Here, from last night, is that eternal disco classic Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground):

With tumultuous cheers echoing around the park, it was time for the boys to clear the stage for the live link-up to the Royal Albert Hall for the grand finale of the Last Night of the Proms - possibly the greatest highlight of our musical year.

Miss Marin Alsop returned once more to conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and by way of a "warm-up" we had the much-vaunted "Sing-a-longa Sound of Music", led by the gloriously vivacious Miss De Niese (who had hot-footed it from the park!) live from the glittering hall (and with the crowds at Hyde Park, in Swansea, in Glasgow and in Belfast all joining in):

Such fun!

We were very pleased that the traditional opener (complete with knee-bobbing) of the finale made a return this year - Sir Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea-Songs:

Then it was the (re)turn of the rather cute tenor Jonas Kaufmann (who on a previous sojourn to the stage had actually had a pair of knickers thrown at him - Tom Jones stylee - from the audience!) to perform the first of our (proper) sing-a-longs, Thomas Arne's Rule Britannia. [Most unusual, we thought, for a German to be singing an anthem that celebrates the British Empire's triumphs over its historical enemies, but he was great, so we forgave him...]

Next up, Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March #1 aka "Land of Hope and Glory":

...and, of course Hubert Parry's Jerusalem:

And with that and the National Anthem, and some stupendous fireworks, it was all over for another year.

Throats sore, heads fuzzy, but full of adrenalin, we wended our weary way homewards...

A great day.


  1. was a fab day..... don't remember the fireworks though! lol x x

    1. Why am I not surprised by that, Baby Steve? You were practically carried out of the park :-)

  2. Had forgotten that The Jacksons were there. Glad you had a good time, as always :)

    1. It is an absolute highlight of our year. Every year! Jx


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