Monday, June 27, 2011

Hard Rock Calling 2011

Last weekend was all about music festivals in the UK. Some 130 miles west of London, the legendary Glastonbury Music Festival took place with big name headliners including U2, Coldplay, and Beyonce performing for a sold-out crowd of festival revellers.  This past weekend, Hyde Park also hosted the annual Hard Rock Calling festival. For those who aren't keen on camping in the mud at Glasonbury but still want to enjoy great music and sleep in your 1000 thread count sheets, then Hard Rock Calling is an excellent choice.  
Taking advantage of a last-minute Groupon offer, Keenan and I got Sunday tickets for Hard Rock Calling. Headlining.... Rod Stewart. As much as I am slightly embarrassed to admit that we went to Rod Stewart concert, I need to give credit where credit is due: Rod Stewart still rocks. Period.

With the weather forecast set for 29C/85F, I couldn't think of a better way to spend a gorgeous Sunday afternoon listening to music, roasting in the sun, and hanging out with friends in London's iconic Hyde Park.

We arrived in time to see Train take the Main Stage at 2:45 pm. This San Francisco band played hits "Meet Virginia," "Drop of Jupiter," and "Calling All Angels," songs that reminded me of our youthful days at University. Jazz/neo-soul newcomer Rumer took the stage next singing soft melodies from her debut album along with a few covers. Since stumbling upon her album on Spotify a few months ago, I've been a big fan of Rumer and definitely thinks she's a rising star. Barenaked Ladies performed over at the Pepsi Stage, while pirate-clad Adam Ant, the lead singer of the 1980s post-punk group, performed an hour-long set on the Main Stage under the blazing sun. 

Next up, the highly anticipated performance from the "Queen of Rock" Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac who was graciously introduced by her friend and fellow rocker Rod Stewart. With her long blonde locks and signature look of black blouse and gold shawl (and sunglasses!), Stevie Nicks entertained the 45,000 strong crowd singing all of her classics, "Landslide," "Edge of Seventeen," "Gold Dust Woman," and "Dream." She also joined the stage with Rod Stewart later for a lovely rendition of "Young Turks," which was a treat for us. I can't believe we're still enjoying music from our parent's generation!

The headliner for Sunday's Hard Rock Calling requires no introduction. Spanning an amazing career of 50 years, at 66 years old and with a newborn son, Rod Stewart is still energetic on stage. Surrounded by beautiful female back-up singers dressed in red, Rod sang all his greatest hits. As a special guest of the evening, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stone and former bandmate of Faces joined him for a special set of "Maggie May" and "Stay with Me." The sun was setting but that didn't stop his fans from dancing on their feet and singing along to "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?," "Tonight's the Night," "Hot Leg,""Baby Jane," and the last song to close out Hard Rock Calling's 40th birthday: "Sailing." 

What a great day in the park with several legendary rock stars on stage together! Here's to summer and many more lazy days in the park. 

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