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The Party at the Palace
The Queen's Jubile
By Tony Hedley, onlinePOP
(more articles from this author)
2002-06-07
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What a way to start my first column reporting on the music scene in the UK! The biggest pop concert ever to be staged in the UK brought huge crowds into the capital - all to help celebrate the 50th Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Over 2 million people applied for the 12,000 tickets on offer (for free!) to attend the glamorous bash, held in the back garden on that most exclusive address - Buckingham Palace. Such was the demand that, on the night, a million people stood in the streets outside and watched this incredible event on giant screens. Although, primarily intended as a celebration of British pop music during the 50 years of Elizabeth's reign, several US stars - including Tony Bennett and Ricky Martin - were there.

After the assembled (invited) crowd had feasted on Celebration Chicken and Champagne (courtesy of Her Majesty) on the lawns of the Palace, they were stunned by the opening musical segment - God Save The Queen - led by Queen guitarist Brian May perched high on the roof of the Palace!

From that opening scene onwards, the night rocked, with a dazzling array of stars including Paul McCartney, Elton John and Eric Clapton. One of the notable highlights was when British citizen, but now US resident, Joe Cocker took to the stage. The audience seemed genuinely delighted to welcome him back to these shores.

The string of high profile but newer UK stars, including S Club 7, Atomic Kitten and Pop Idol TV show winner Will Young, all performed recent hits.

(If you are not sure what Pop Idol is, you are in for a treat when the US version, called American Idol hits your screens shortly. A plethora of would-be stars audition in front of a selected panel of industry stalwarts before being decided upon by a telephone vote in. In the UK it was an enormous hit - watch out for 'baddie judge', ace A&R man Simon Cowell - the man we all love to hate!)

Other stars taking part included Blue, The Corrs, Mis-Teeq, Ozzy Osbourne (a surprising choice) and Rod Stewart.

McCartney headlined the show, and was joined onstage by Eric Clapton for a moving rendition of George Harrison's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' (Clapton had also played on the original studio version). The assembled band of stars then brought the show to a climax with a rousing rendition of The Beatles' 'All You Need Is Love'.

The Queen joined the stars on-stage to thank them before moving off to start the spectacular after-show firework display. Whilst all this was being prepared, McCartney led the assembled crowd in a moving version of another Beatles classic - 'Hey Jude'.

The music industry is one of the biggest foreign currency earners for the UK, so it was nice to see it's contribution over the years so wholeheartedly endorsed by the many Royals and politicians who were in the audience.

The whole event brought joy to millions and raised a very large amount for needy charities in the process. As the song says... All You Need Is Love.

The Party At The Palace will be broadcast in the USA on VH1 at 9pm on June 9.


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