Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hyde Park 'fiasco'

If only this year's Hard Rock Calling festival were in June, then I would've attended. I had tremendous fun there three years ago. The news about Springsteen's headlining slot last night has spread like wildfire through the music world within the last 12 hours. Paul McCartney made a special guest appearance, performing I Saw Her Standing There and Twist And Shout. Apart from his headlining gig two years ago, this was the second time Macca has made a surprise appearance on the Hyde Park stage, the first being with Neil Young during A Day In The Life (I was there and I thought I was in heaven). Unfortunately, the organizers literally pulled the plug and off went the sound right at the end of Twist And Shout, just as Bruce did his usual routine of reintroducing the E Street Band. They didn't even get a chance to do Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out!

According to many reports from fansites, Backstreets, Greasy Lake and Stone Pony London, the volume level throughout the show was too low. Ok, so it's a park right in the center of London and surrounded by residences, but still. And the heavy downpour probably didn't make things any better. I'm sure it was a great gig nonetheless -- if there's one thing I realized from Sunderland and especially Manchester, it's that Bruce and the band always put in ten times the effort when it's raining. And opening the show with Thunder Road with Roy on piano just like Hammersmith 1975; how cool could that be?

Watching the fan video [link], the joyfulness of the band getting the rare opportunity to perform with a legend, but then towards the end the cut-off sound resulting in Bruce singing a few lines of Goodnight Irene unplugged; that was just sad and insulting to the audience and to the band. Live Nation issued an official statement on Facebook saying they had to stick to the strict curfew, for the interest of public health and safety. Yeah, like playing for ten extra minutes would severely compromise people's health and safety. Jeez. I'll bet this will be the last time they'll ever play Hard Rock Calling.

Here's what Little Steven had to say/tweet:
UPDATE #1: A few hours later after Stevie's rant, he tweets again, this time kissing the asses of Live Nation and Hard Rock by saying they are 'cool'. Contrary to initial reports, it was actually them, not the police, that pulled the plug. By the way, Hard Rock is one of the main sponsors of his awesome Underground Garage radio program. 

UPDATE #2: Stevie apologizes. [link]