August 5th, 2022Concert delivers plenty of satisfaction
Rolling Stones, Hyde Park , London June 25, 2022
A self-indulgent, bucket list trip to the other side of the world to see a (The) rock band. I guess you could absolutely argue that point.
I did with myself for a couple of minutes before I bought the tickets in March and then I came to my senses. Of course, I’m going! So, to London, via New York City no less in the Northern Hemisphere summer, to see a band which may not be playing to the absolute height of their powers, but are still playing pretty darn close.
To set the scene, Hyde Park hosts a mind-blowing array of acts (Adele, Elton John etc) over a two-week period at the height of London summer – very warm and daylight abounds until after 10pm.
The whole gig has a festival vibe with over 80,000 people in attendance. There are at least four stages to choose from until the main warm-up acts Phoebe Bridgers, an understandably angry US citizen at the very current Roe vs Wade reversal, beginning proceedings on the main stage followed by a killer, very welcome set from another favourite The War on Drugs.
The Stones hit the stage at just after 8pm, a prologue photography/video montage tribute to Charlie Watts opening proceedings. Following the setlist online over preceding gigs has revealed a core structure of hits, usually about 19 songs, with five to six variations on any given night.
This is where we hit the jackpot (yes, teenage son, we really did, he was to be fair blown away) with a blistering version of Midnight Rambler complete with mid-song segue to Robert Johnson’s Come On, in My Kitchen.
And wait for it – I know only Stones heads are still reading – for the first time since 2016, the unmistakable open tuned killer Keith riff to Can’t You Hear Me Knocking.
I did hoot and it was all I needed. Of course, I still had the sheer thrill of Gimme Shelter et al, guaranteed and the privilege of seeing Michael Philip Jagger strut his stuff as if time stood still.
There was the Covid scare which caused the cancellation of two European gigs prior, I thanked my lucky stars it wasn’t our gig and they cancelled Hanging Rock in 2014, but now I’ve had my turn.
I joined the chant of “woo hoo, pleased to meet you” down Pall Mall with the exiting throng. Bliss!
Words & images: Darren Lowe