Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Makes ya proud to be British!

I have just finished watching the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert (we recorded it). What a glittering event! I only wish I had won one of the tickets to be there in person...

When we Brits decide to throw a party, we certainly do it in style. A crown-shaped stage around the Victoria Memorial on The Mall, Buck House outstretched behind - and in a stroke of genius, used as a big screen onto which film of the Queen's reign and other images were projected - a dazzling line-up of billion-selling artists, a range of music spanning six decades, an audience of tens of thousands... What could be better?

Opening the show accompanied by a huge miltary band, Robbie Williams rocked Let Me Entertain You like a child throwing his toys out of the pram, but that's exactly what we love him for! We shan't, however, mention the next few acts - that's what fast-forward is for. Will.i.am, Jessie J, our organiser Gary Barlow duetting with "Cherl Kerl" (Cheryl Cole), JLS, Sir Cliff Richard. Ewww.

The inevitable classical section rescued us from absolute musical crucifixion, thankfully, opening with the brilliant Lang-Lang ("the musical Panda"?) and his piano virtuosity, which calmed matters down a bit - well, until Alfie Boe (on next) decided to turn O Sole Mio into some kind of pub-rock number. Speaking of piano geniuses, Jools Holland and Ruby Turner were fabulous as always, singing Billy Preston's You Are So Beautiful.

However, even Miss Turner's flowery frock couldn't compete with the stunning magnificence that is Grace Jones! At 64, the diva proved her mettle by hula-hooping throughout a gutsy rendition of Slave to the Rhythm, and I was on the edge of my seat!

Unfortunately, as is the nature of such an event, the ups are followed by downs.

Ed Sheeran is a boring little tit, and was completely out of place on this set. I think even the Royals popped out the back for a pee and a fag at this point. A big surprise followed, for despite the glittery frock and angel wings the lovely Annie Lennox was surprisingly off tonight, as she struggled to reach the notes she used to on Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart). Renee Fleming had no such problems with her beautiful rendition of Un bel dì vedremo from Madam Butterfly, however.

The first sign of a true crowd-pleaser was the magnificent Sir Tom Jones singing a rollocking version of Mama Told Me Not To Come, and of course Delilah - which had thousands in the crowd singing along! Only fitting for such a musical icon, of course.

The interlude saw the arrival of Her Majesty (gawd bless her - especially since Phil has been taken to hospital), looking fab in a black cape (last seen on her in a 1968 Cecil Beaton portrait). And just in time for the lovely Robbie's return, this time on Mack the Knife (rather good it was too). Unlike Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd-Webber's "official tribute" Sing - massed chorus or no massed chorus. But who cares about "official tributes" - it was DIVA TIME!

Resplendent in a glittering white chiffon number, Dame Shirley Bassey it seems only had one song to sing - but by god she certainly sang it! And what else would she choose on this special occasion but Diamonds Are Forever? Sublime...

No sooner had one great gay icon glittered her way off (stage left), but in from stage right skipped our own Pearly Queen Kylie! Accompanied by girls in silver crown dresses and faux-guardman hats and bouncy boys with sequinned crown t-shirts, she bowled the audience over with a stunning medley of her hits - Spinning Around, Can't Get You Out Of My Head, Step Back In Time and All The Lovers. Wow!

Coming back down to earth a bit, and realising that by now it had got dark, the focus shifted to Buckingham Palace itself, illuminated with flowers. There, on the prestigious balcony, Alfie Boe and Renee Fleming sang a beautiful rendition of one of my all-time most beloved songs Somewhere. Truly lovely...

Back to the stage, and it was the turn of the sparkly pink wonder that is Elton John! Evidently still recovering from his recent bout of pneumonia, he was slightly croaky but nevertheless every inch the showman on I'm Still Standing, Your Song and Crocodile Rock. He was followed by the equally legendary Stevie Wonder (a man in whom I have never really seen the appeal), who got even the Royal box tapping its feet to Sir Duke. However, from there it went downhill (with the godawful Isn't She Lovely and a duet with that bloody creep Will.i.am), so I moved on.

Of course, next up was one of the great anticipated highlights of the evening, as Madness performed a selection of their classics (including Our House, complete with projected image of terraced housing across the front of the Palace, and It Must Be Love with hearts) - on the roof of The Queen's residence! Incredibly clever, and rather fab.

Sir Paul McCartney (the most successful of all the artists on the bill) was the inevitable headliner, with a selection of Beatles and his solo hits; from Magical Mystery Tour through Let it Be and Live and Let Die to the finale of Ob-la-di, at which point everyone (Charles, Camilla and the Queen herself included) took to the stage.

To finish, Prince Charles (who called The Queen "Mummy" much to the joy of the crowd) made a speech of thanks to everyone; the crowd did a shout-out to the ailing Philip and a big "three cheers" to HM; thousands of voices sang the National Anthem through an ocean of Union Jacks; Her Majesty placed a large jewel into a rather Bond-like apparatus and the Official Jubilee Beacon lit up - and then the whole world exploded!!

A totally and utterly remarkable occasion...

Diamond Jubilee Concert


  1. one for the ages...loved every second! xoxoMM

  2. A great post. I didnt watch this though (I took a look at the lineup and thought I would never be able to sit through a live broadcast of this - way too many boring acts). But I am of course going to watch Kylie, Shirley, Grace and Annie!

    It was clearly a major event for the Brits - and yes, you guys really know how to throw a party (I love the fireworks)!!! I look forward to watch the best performances!

    1. You will love it! Enjoy the party! Jx

  3. It was rather fab - I watched it live (on TV of course) but used acts like JLS for tea and toilet breaks …

    Thought Kylie did very well - leading Charles & Camilla at the end I see too - the Dame-hood can't be far off.

    I thought Grace Jones was the highlight - can't wait to see her again at Lovebox on the 17th.

    See you at Polari on the 11th & Chocolate Factory on the 15th dear x

    1. Dame Kylie of Maesteg? How fab. Miss Grace was indeed stunning - although Sir Tom, Dame Shirl followed directly by Kylie, and of course the fireworks, were mind-blowing!

      See you on Monday for Polari. Jx

  4. After reading your post, I was looking forward to watching the concert last night.

    Our national broadcaster here in The Colonies packaged it for viewing a night later than the actual performance.

    Imagine my shock that they cut out both Dame Shirley Bassey AND Grace Jones!

    1. I foresee flaming (pink) torches storming the streets of Ottawa over this! Jx

    2. I couldn't believe it either. No Robbie, Shirley or Grace! With all the ads they ran during the show they would have had time to show them all.
      So many thanks to you for including them in your post.

  5. Yep no Robbie Shirley or Grace last night...BUT they did show Kylie's FULL performance so that pleased me! the finale was INCRED! I Will always remember. xoxoMM

    1. Pink flaming torches in LA too, then?! Did BBC Worldwide not show the full thing? Jx

    2. ABC bought the rights to show the concert in the US, BBC America showed most of the other events of the Jubilee...but not the concert. I watched the full concert on line (BBC via a secret link!) LIVE! Obsessed with it! ♥

    3. I reckon your Dame-hood can't be far off, either! Jx


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