British Summer Time festival ends on a high note with Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks
Last night among the great oaks of Hyde Park, two of the rock greats stood: Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty, in what was, thanks to British Summer Time, a rare and special event. The festival, spread over two weekends, has since its inception in 2013 hosted the likes of Neil Young, Black Sabbath, The Who and The Rolling Stones and this year is no exception.
The Lumineers, a folk rock band from Denver, Colorado, took to the Great Oak Stage with their scuffed instruments and country aesthetic: the bearded frontman in a cowboy hat, Wesley Schultz, and cellist Neyla Pekarak in a long white dress. Their first song, Submarines, got everyone dancing and foot-stomping from the get go. The crowd shouted the lyrics of their most popular hit, Ho Hey. It was an energetic, joyful set as band member, Jeremiah Fraites, stood up on the piano to play the tambourine. Schultz, in a moment of gentle quiet, told the story of a school boy named Charlie who signed up for war and got killed, then played the moving track, Charlie Boy, with an anti-war message. The band ended on the euphoric Stubborn Love and, before they exited the stage, hugged each other, causing smiles to appear all around.
Excitement pulsed amongst the festival-goers as they awaited Stevie Nicks, and with a flash of blonde hair, the crowd erupted into cheers and screams as she entered the stage, dressed all in black. Her distinctive, husky voice, a pinnacle of her career; first in Fleetwood Mac, then as a solo artist, was a privilege to hear in person. She left the stage and the pianist played the intro to Moonlight (A Vampires Dream). She returned in her white fur coat which must have been sweltering under the lights and the late afternoon sun, but nonetheless owned the stage with her affecting performance, stating afterwards that the song was inspired by her personal relationships that were “so impossible, but so irresistible”. Her backstories, she mentions, are clipped because of the time limit, but still delivers an outstanding performance, proceeding with tracks such as Crying in the Night, Gold Dust Woman, Wild Heart, and a song that had never before been played live, Bella Donna. The star even threw in some of her famous twirls as her shawl fluttered around her. Her most famous hit, Edge of Seventeen garnered elation within the crowd as images of Prince flashed on the screen behind her. During her encore, Nicks performed Rhiannon and the adored Landslide, a single that took Fleetwood Mac to the top. It was an intimate and sensitive moment when, gesturing to the audience then at herself, she sang: “Even children get older and I’m getting older too”.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, a headliner performance filling the festival grounds with every generation of rocker, stormed the stage as Petty calls out that he “feels a bit of mojo out here!” Accompanied by videos of their old gigs, the rock legends launched into Rockin’ Around (With You), a song that was first played in England. The proceedings were made epic, being that it the band’s only European performance and was also a celebration of their 40th year together. Not to mention that Tom Petty had told Rolling Stone in December that this tour could be their last. Tracks such as Mary Jane’s Last Dance, You Don’t Know How It Feels and Won’t Back Down had everyone dancing and singing as eye-catching backdrops flashed behind them. During the anticipated and soulful hits, Free Fallin’ and Wildflowers, Tom played his infamous Gibson Dove acoustic, notable for the mother of pearl dove on the pick guard. Nicks entered the stage once again in an incredible moment, to play Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, a song first released by the pair on her 1981 album, Bella Donna. Petty brings a hint of his humorous, lovable attitude to the stage, when during Walls, he plays the harmonica then throws it away, and tells funny tales about how he met each of his band members. It is without a doubt the incredible talent and charisma of Petty and his band members that demonstrate for all to see, why they are one of the greatest rock bands of all time and why they continue to stun crowds with hits such as Running Down a Dream and their encore, American Girl.
For further information and future events visit the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers website here.
Watch the video for Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around here: