Yes, today is another Snow Patrol day, I should really be more excited about the opening of the Olympic Games, I’ll do that tomorrow, once I’ve seen the Patrol!!
I took half a day off from work; don’t want to be standing right at the back! We got to Hyde Park at about 4:15pm, loads of people are queuing and it seems to take ages to actually get inside. I soon found out why that is, security checks, body scanning, searching bags, just like the airport, but what gets to me the most is NO WATER and NO FOOD to be brought in?? I dumped my bottle of water not before I drank most of it though, just to be told I could have kept the bottle as there are free drinking water points to refil the bottle, well, let’s just hope the prices are affordable. Finally we are in! Making our way to the main stage first of all, it is quite a way; I remember the mini marathon I had to run when we came for Bruce Springsteen not long ago.
I spot some fellow Snowflakes on the barriers, quick hello and how are you and we go in search of Nigel who had texted earlier to say he is in and not far from centre front barrier. Fighting our way through the masses of people sitting and chilling on the ground we manage to find Nigel, he is about 1o meters away from the barrier, good chance for us to make our way to the front later on. It’s nice to just sit and catch up, it has been a while since Nigel and I have been able to do that. It’s funny how you get the feeling that something is imminent, there is a sort of ripple going through the crowd which has greatly increased by now, you could call it anticipation excitement!
And then it’s time, people are on the move, we gather our things and manage to get fairly close, a family is standing next to me with a small boy, madness, he won’t be seeing anything. On my other side are a couple of girls, we chatted earlier, they are here for Paulo Nutini, I don’t really know him, so I wait with my judgement!
An Absolute Radio presenter announces the Scottish singer Paulo Nutini, a roar of appreciative shouts go through the audience, there are many many fans here and I can see why, his first two tracks are lively and tuneful, yes, I could quite like this! He then announced that he will be playing a new song, and sadly for me it killed it, frankly it was boring. I didn’t feel much energy coming over and he just seemed to plough through his 50 minute set. When he did speak he sounded as if he was under the influence of something, it may of course just be the Scottish accent :-(. For me it didn’t work, but for many people here it did, and that is how it should be!
Next band was going to be Duran Duran, now, I was looking forward to them, never did manage to catch them back in the eighties! People moved around a little and I managed to edge a little closer to the barriers 🙂 The family next to me started to get annoying, bags of stuff, child on shoulder child off shoulder…arrrggghhhh, it all didn’t matter anymore when Simon Le Bon appeared on stage, representing England he did look the part sporting a Union Jack jacket, good move Simon. The noise that erupted in the crowd was deafening, it raised the temperature by a few notches and filled you with energy, which you needed as the band started with “Planet Earth”. Simon’s voice still sounded as strong and rich as I remembered from all those years ago! In a timely manner it started raining, it wasn’t too bad though, but, there is always one isn’t there? A bright spark a couple of rows in front decided to put up his umbrella, clever boy :-(, it’s really frustrating as for my view of Simon Le Bon I and many other people now play ‘dodge the umbrella’, grrrrr, but nobody said a word. I started throwing some bark that covered the ground at him, but it was ignored, eventually I pushed through and actually tapped him on the shoulder, yes, that helped he took the umbrella down!!!
Simon was amazing, walking along the extended stage , making as much contact with people as possible, even grabbing a random guy to start off the singing, brilliant! With songs like “A view to a Kill”, “All You Need Is Now”,”The Reflex” , “Save a Prayer,” “Notorious,” “Ordinary World,” ,“The Wild Boys” and “Rio”, he had the crowd singing along, dancing, even some youngsters who probably didn’t know him couldn’t help but join in. Just when they were about to perform “The Reflex”, the Red Arrows flew low overhead, drowning out the band, leaving red, white and blue vapour trails behind. As far as I was concerned the atmosphere was amazing and the 50 minutes over far too soon.
As the screens were prepared to show the Olympic opening ceremony live stream I started to feel terribly patriotic, even though I’m not English, I felt proud to be able to live here. It is very hard to describe how you feel, standing among 50,000 odd people, from all over the world, no ill feelings as far as I was aware, everybody just enjoying a wonderful moment in time. I’m very happy to have been able to be part of this, the Opening Ceremony looked fantastic, going through the years of British history, I can only imagine the buzz that people felt at the stadium.
An hour and a bit later we going back to the music, the stage is prepared for the Stereophonics, again a band I know to an extent but never seen live. Yet again I managed to move quite a bit closer to the stage, yes :-), but in the process I got separated from Nigel and Neil, I looked back and gestured to them to join me, Neil does but Nigel was happy where he was.
And here they are, Kelly Jones starts with “The Bartender and the Thief”, followed by “A Thousand Trees”, that’s it, he’s won me over! And yes, his good looks haven’t passed me by either….;-) I’m loving their performance I have to see them again….”Have a Nice Day” and “Handbags & Gladrags” brings the crowd to their knees (the ones I can see anyway) singing and clapping. The Stereophonics finish with “Dakota”, when did fifty minutes become so short? I have to see them again, love love loved it!
And now, the event I have been waiting for, Snow Patrol, this will be the 6th time I’ve seen them this year and one more to come for sure. The days wait has paid off, I managed to edge forward to the second row from the barriers, excitement is growing now :-). Snow Patrol is here to represent Northern Ireland.
The show started as expected with the track “Berlin” as an intro, accompanied by the familiar film showing on huge L.E.D screens at the back of the stage, but this time it displays the Olympic rings and 2012! I know I’m biased but Gary is the perfect front man his big smiles, cheeky banter and infectious enthusiasm are all that is needed to make it a perfect finish to a perfect day! The boys arrive on the stage, Gary shouting: ” Looooondoooon” launching straight into “Take back the City”, it feels like the whole of Hyde Park are cheering for them, it may of course be just me as I’m certainly shouting for 100 people, and I know the other Snowflakes present are doing the same. Earlier on I spoke to a couple of American girls, they were also waiting for Snow Patrol but I lost sight of them , shame, be great to enjoy it together. Gary is as usual in great form, using all of the stage, trying to make sure everybody gets a good view of him at least once, interacting with his fellow band members, just what one would expect! I get the feeling he really would like to pick up on signs that are being held up to him but I assume it’s a tight time schedule today and there just isn’t the scope to come off the script. After singing “This isn’t everything you are” which left me feeling melancholy yet again, they are just about to start “Chasing Cars” and in perfect synchronicity the big screen shows the GB team entering the Olympic stadium, having dedicated the song to England it caused an amazing feeling to be connected to I guess you can say the world. Images of my own memories together with the ones made today rush through my head, tears spring to my eyes, I was just too overcome with all sorts of emotions, sadness for the past, joy of the present and hope for the future! At some point Gary came walking along the catwalk, sat down in the middle of it singing to us, and I’m sure he made every single person around the barriers feel he was just singing for them! Gary is an amazing front man, knowing exactly how to treat his fans and still looking completely natural with it, which for all I know that is just it! Gary being Gary!
Finishing after midnight with “Just say Yes”, no encore, no running out to the crowd giving hugs, but nevertheless another brilliant concert! See you at V-festival, can’t wait! 🙂
PS: here is a link to a lovely interview with Gary earlier in the day at the Absolute Radio camp! 🙂