The BT live closing ceremony concert, featuring Blur and New Order.
Hyde Park is a huge venue. It is a park so good weather is a must to ensure a good time. We had won 29 gold medals in the Olympics and it seemed the golden sun came out to celebrate it with us!
We decided to get to Hyde Park early, as we wanted to be near the front and after all I am only 5ft tall! We are glad we did as the ticket had said that gates open at 2.30pm. It was actually 12 noon that they let us in.
We were searched more thoroughly than I have ever been searched before. The organisation for this event was a right mess, as I had had four different emails from Ticketmaster changing the rules of what is allowed in. Talking to staff on the day, they had no idea of the changes to the rules either so it was really hit or miss if they stopped your stuff coming in. They took off my hand gel as it was in 125ml bottle but as it was not a new bottle would have only contained the 100ml allowed. I didn’t bother to argue as all I could think of was getting to the front. I did see people inside who had cameras longer than 6” (one of the rules). Goodness only knows where they hid their lens!
We ran as fast as we could (the most exercise I had all week!) and got to the metal barrier right at the front of the stage. It was a great crowd and I got talking to a guy who had come from France to see Blur and also a lady from Hong Kong. Blur fans are all over the world!
We had bought the ticket to take my youngest son (15) to see New Order. (You should hear him play Ceremony on his guitar! He is awesome). I didn’t know how he would cope with all the waiting as he is the “have it now” generation, but he was great and very excited about it.
We killed the time by watching the Olympics. It was a great atmosphere and everyone was in good spirits.
The first band, Bombay Bicycle club came on at 4.30. I had never heard of them before and I am still not sure about them now I have heard their stuff. Some of their songs just didn’t flow the way a song should. The lead singer looked and sounded like some early 80’s electronic band, while the guitarist (sporting young James May look) seemed more into grunge. What I can say is the girl singer was good and the drummer was awesome!
Next on was New Order. This is what we had come for and boy did we let them know it! We were screaming and shouting and cheering and singing along as loudly as we could. They started with Elegia followed by Crystal. I felt the audience didn’t appreciate Ceremony as much as we did and perhaps it needed more guitars or more New Order fans to really love it. New Order still miss Hooky (Peter Hook the bassist). Not for the bass essentially, but for his personality. Tom Chapman does a good job, but Barney is not a natural front man (partly why we love him) and Hooky played that part until his departure. Hyde Park is a huge venue and there was a runway off the stage that you know Hooky would have dragged his guitar up and down had he been there.
I personally felt that 586 could have been left at home and replaced with regret. There is a line in regret that goes “You were a perfect stranger, now you are mine” which hubby and I always kiss and have done at each gig since 2006. I don’t think 586 went down well with an audience that isn’t mainly New Order fans.
New Order didn’t need to try too hard with True Faith as the audience (including my new French friend) knew it and sang along. I have always felt that temptation is their “stadium anthem” track and they could do so much more with it (ie get the audience to sing bits of it for you, extending the oooo oooo!) But New Order were on a time limit and had to keep it short. Blue Monday had the crowd going proper crazy. Who doesn’t know that song?! It was more like “The Beach” version for those who really know their New Order but who cares, it was amazing and really got the crowd going. They finished with Love will tear us apart from their Joy Division days. It was so poignant with images of Ian Curtis in the background saying Forever Joy Division. Even after New Order had left the stage, the crowd were still singing it (hoping for an encore that never happened).
We then decided to move back, as my son had seen New Order (and despite my teaching was not as keen on Blur) and was also concerned about 70,000 people squashing us! We went to the Cadburys house to get some free chocolate. (It doesn’t get better than this folks!) But they had closed the house early and although they were giving out the chocolate, it was a missed experience. We sat on our blanket and chilled to The Specials. My best friend from school would have loved this as she was such a Ska rude girl. Although I hadn’t heard some of these songs in years, I still remembered all the words so thanks to Michelle from school for that!
Just before Blur came on we decided to get some chips. At £3 a small box, they were not cheap, but I can officially say they were the WORST chips I have ever had, EVER! Hard inside with a horrid taste on the outside. We all left them.
But time for the main event. We started to watch the closing ceremony at Stratford on the big screens. I was surprised to see people stand up to sing the national anthem. Surprised and proud! British Patriotism lives! We saw Big Ben and Madness sing “Our House” and I did wonder how Blur were going to get people interested if they continued to watch the Stratford show. I needn’t have worried. Park life was faded into the Stratford ceremony and they crowd went crazy as Blur came on stage for real!
I had had reservations about them headlining since The Brits, but these were unfounded. Blur rocked the house! They were awesome, playing an amazing set, and everyone really enjoyed it. It was like one big family with everyone singing and dancing and smiling. Blur rock! Even my son was singing along. Another couple of converts. Let’s hope this isn’t the last we see of Blur.
My photos will be uploaded to www.flickr.com/jasminestormie later this week!