BBC Radio 2 Live sends off festival season in Hyde Park with James Blunt, Simple Minds, Jessie J and Smokey Robinson
As the glorious summer months come to a close, music fans are coming to terms with the fact that their beloved festivals are over for the year, but not without a proper send-off. Cue BBC Radio 2 and their annual Live in Hyde Park, who this year set the park alight with an assorted mix of musical acts.
Starting off was Treacherous Orchestra, combining 13 instruments (bagpipes, strings and drums, to name a few) to create their uplifting sound, and getting the crowd raring to go – especially with their hearty Sausages: undeniably the perfect start to the show. Next came Simple Minds, and the Glasgow natives upped the ante with Swimming Towards the Sun and Alive and Kicking. The chemistry among the band flowed comfortably and they showed their class once they kicked up the tempo with Sanctify Yourself. When they moved on to Don’t You Forget About Me, the crowd nearly outdid lead singer Jim Kerr who exclaimed “You’re sounding far too good!”. The performance further cemented their status as one of the UK’s best loved bands.
Jamie Cullum took over and maintained the festivities with his upbeat jams and strong, beautiful voice. He got stuck right in with I’m All Over It and displayed his fantastic piano talent, before moving on to I’m on the Edge of Something. His 20-minute set was finished off with Everything You Didn’t Do, which left the crowd wanting more – and Scottish royalty Texas ably provided it. They kicked off with Halo, where Sharleen Spiteri’s voice came in powerfully and clearly, and moved into Summer Son where the guitarists got a chance to show off. Spiteri was clearly enjoying herself and the energy flowed throughout the whole set. The band then rounded off with Inner Smile, to screaming applause from the fans.
Next up was the mellow and much loved Jack Johnson whose opening Better Together was nearly entirely backed up by the crowd. His band came in for Taylor to accompany his acoustic guitar and melodic voice. The set was cheerful and laid-back, complete with Jack in his signature flip-flops. He played a mix of his old and new songs, including Radiate and his closing I Got You. Manic Street Preachers then arrived to a roaring ovation, and hit it off with You Stole the Sun from My Heart before heading straight into the energetic Your Love is Not Enough. Lead singer James Dean Bradfield’s delight was infectious, which only led to better reactions from the crowd. A Design for Life signalled the end of their set, but with heavy guitar riffs and Bradfield’s commanding voice, it made for the perfect close.
Josh Groban took over next, with a string quartet and singers, and opened with the cheerful Brave, his groove continuing into False Alarms whose heavy beat resonated wonderfully throughout the park. The singer’s charismatic personality shone through and he clearly loved being in Hyde Park. He finished his short set with arguably his most famous song, You Raise Me Up, and the quality of his voice was chillingly good. Following Josh Groban was national treasure James Blunt, opening with the poppy Stay the Night. His folksy sound was right at home and the crowd responded excitedly by signing along to all of his songs, particularly his popular You’re Beautiful, aptly chosen to close his act.
As the sky darkened, it was the turn of feisty Jessie J to wow the crowd and she did just that. Introduced by a heavy drumbeat she leaped straight into Price Tag, showcasing her unbelievable vocal range. She opened up about where her songs came from, which made her set all the more personal. The singer played a lovely mix, and moved from Nobody’s Perfect to an unexpected rendition of Aerosmith’s Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing before rounding it all off with a fast-paced Domino.
The scene-stealer of the day, however, had to go to headliner Smokey Robinson and especially his opening Going to a Go Go. He masterfully slowed down the tempo with You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me and picked it right back up again, making full use of his short time onstage, showing off Tears of a Clown, Get Ready and finally the soulful Tracks of My Tears. His old-school motown moves were the perfect accompaniment to his tunes and he was the ultimate cherry on the top of a fantastic day.
Photo: Courtesy of BBC
For further information about BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park and next year’s dates visit here.
Watch the video for Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me here:
Watch the video for James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful here:
Watch the video for Jessie J’s Price Tag here: