Twelve thousand invited members of the public took in performances by some of the U.K.'s biggest rock and pop stars and international guests last night (June 3) at Party at the Palace, held on the gro
Twelve thousand invited members of the public took in performances by some of the U.K.'s biggest rock and pop stars and international guests last night (June 3) at Party at the Palace, held on the grounds of Buckingham Palace in London. The concert formed one of the centerpieces of the nationwide celebration of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee over the long June 1-4 holiday weekend, and was screened live in the U.K. by BBC1 and to an estimated 60 countries.
Highlights of the three-hour-plus show included a tribute to the late George Harrison by Sir Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton and performances by Brian Wilson, Joe Cocker, Ozzy Osbourne, and Steve Winwood. The Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, watched the later stages of the event, while the Royal Box also contained Prince Charles, his sons William and Harry, Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie, and other notable figures such as V2 Records founder Richard Branson and Yoko Ono.
Although Queen guitarist Brian May started the proceedings by playing "God Save the Queen" from the palace roof, much of the early part of the show had a curiously non-British flavor, notably in an extensive Motown tribute that saw Phil Collins reprise his 1982 chart-topping version of "You Can't Hurry Love." The montage also featured Atomic Kitten's "Dancing in the Street," Will Young's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," Blue's "Get Ready," Emma Bunton's "Baby Love," and a rendition of "Stop! In the Name of Love" by Mis-teeq, who donned Supremes-style wigs for the occasion. Collins also played drums throughout in the house band.
Annie Lennox, recently named the recipient of Billboard's 2002 Century Award, sang warmly-received versions of "Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves" and "Why," while Dame Shirley Bassey brought her customary glamor to "Goldfinger" and Sir Elton John sang "I Want Love" in a contribution filmed in the Palace's Music Room. Tom Jones sang "Sex Bomb," later returning with Blue for "You Can Leave Your Hat On," while the Corrs offered an acoustic version "The Long and Winding Road" from a waterside pagoda at stage left. Sir Cliff Richard sang his early hits "Living Doll" and "Move It," the latter with S Club 7, which was giving its last performance before the departure of member Paul Cattermole.
Osbourne's rendition of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," with Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, was raucously performed and received. Brian Wilson's set included a collaboration with Eric Clapton for "The Warmth of the Sun" before Wilson was joined by Richard, Bunton, and Atomic Kitten for "Good Vibrations." Clapton also played "Layla" prior to Winwood's especially impressive take on "Gimme Some Loving," his 1966 hit with the Spencer Davis Group. May and his Queen colleague Roger Taylor also appeared on a sequence of the band's hits with various guests, and other performers during the evening included Bryan Adams and Toploader.
Cocker's "With a Little Help From My Friends" and Rod Stewart's "Handbags and Gladrags" built toward a climax dominated by McCartney, who played "Her Majesty" from the Beatles' "Abbey Road" album -- "I had to do it," he said -- and "Blackbird." Sir George Martin, who served as the creative director of the event, then introduced the Harrison tribute, McCartney and Clapton's rendition of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
The show ended with a moving speech by Prince Charles in which he addressed the Queen as both "Your Majesty" and "Mummy," and then a communal version of "Hey Jude." After the TV show had gone off the air, McCartney led a rocking "I Saw Her Standing There," as the Queen lit a torch to trigger a spectacular 15-minute firework display.