With the sun cooking the capital in 30-degree temperatures – easily the hottest day of the year so far – pop aficionados from all corners of the country (and world) ascended upon the capitals Hyde Park for the first weekend of what was to be one of the most iconic summer concert series line ups on record.
BST Hyde Park has long been regarded as one of the most popular events in the music calendar with dates throughout its 3-week run being declared as sold out within hours of going on sale making it one of the hottest concert tickets of the year (pun intended).
Previous years have seen the likes of Adele, Phil Collins, Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and Green Day take residence upon the giant, tree dressed stage constructed each year and this year’s string of superstars is no less impressive. This year sees Blackpink, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Guns N’ Roses, Take That and Lana Del Rey fill in the illustrious headlining slots of the series along with numerous support acts propelling the star-studded lineup and it was pop icon P!NK that cracked the lid on the BST Hyde Park shows this year with two back to back performances of her Summer Carnival Tour being unleashed on London. And what a cracker way to welcome us back to Hyde Park it was!
Doing our best to avoid the sunshine (I am ginger after all), we ducked in and out of the press area behind the main stage for the first couple of hours after arriving, but by 3pm the designated area of the capitals biggest park space was already filled to the brim with happy punters downing pints of Pimms and chucking back fish and chips or other snacks from the dozens of appealing (if not expectedly overpriced) food stalls.
Bringing nostalgia to Hyde Park by the bucketload, No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani had the honours of being immediate support for P!NK on these two weekend BST shows, delivering an absolutely phenomenal set of some of the 90’s and early noughties biggest hits from both her work in No Doubt and her hugely successful solo career.
Sporting an glitzy silver outfit, Stefani was a clear welcomed guest on these shows as fans gave a deafening welcome to the superstar as she dove straight into things with a dance troupe of 12 all dressed in red leather providing an always moving background to her stage prowling. The singers time with No Doubt was on full display during a 70-minute set with the likes of Hey Baby, Hella Good, and Spiderwebs warming up an already sweaty 65,000 strong crowd that had begun getting tighter as each act performed throughout the afternoon in the lead up to the days headliner. It was the bands breakout single, Just A Girl and their signature hit, Don’t Speak however that the crowd lapped up with the most enthusiasm; the two tracks providing the soundtrack to many of our 1990’s years and amazing to hear live as Stefani’s vocals rang out over the capital.
As we all her work within No Doubt, Stefani commanded the stage with her petite frame and ageless looks with a string of solo hits that helped make her a household name outside of her work with No Doubt. While The Sweet Escape opened the show and Hollaback Girl closed the set with her 12 strong dance troupe emerging on stage holding giant banana props for the songs catchy hook, What You Waiting For – her first dip into solo stardom – was a personal highlight despite the musician forgetting the second verse, causing the momentum of the track to be momentarily out of pace. Rich Girl also had the crowd pleased despite the track being performed without Eve this time around (a surprise guest on this and Let Me Blow Ya Mind the night before).
A solid set full of chequered and glittery outfits, giant bananas and an impressive dozen backing dancers made for the perfect act to get us warmed up for the leading lady of the weekend.
Having already delivered a show the night before, Sunday saw P!NK, who is busy promoting new album Trustfall, command the stage just as energetically as if her very first performance of the tour – a feat given the energy she puts into her shows. She emerged a little after 8.20pm to a earthshaking applause from fans that were already well into their partying night – even if it was a school night.
While Trustfall – the pop icons ninth studio album – was the promotional record of the singer’s current tour, the set delivered was more of a greatest hits offering than one promoting a new album and the fans were particularly happy about that. Bouncing through her impressive back catalogue over the structure of 4 distinctively layered acts, we were treated to energetic live renditions of massive worldwide hits like Just Like a Pill, Who Knew, What About Us and one of music’s biggest party anthems, Get The Party Started. And, after a brief intro to kick the night off, that’s exactly what she did – the party was well and truly started right from the get-go as she hurled out some of pop’s most vibrant, confident and lively hits, with the 4 enormous cranes that were positioned around the park helping the singers incredible acrobatic skills that were periodically on full and heart pounding display throughout the 2 hour+ set.
A touching moment saw P!NK invite daughter Willow out to perform the sweet Cover Me In Sunshine while her banter and clear adoration for her band members shone bright – particularly during an acoustic section later in the set where she performed a series of more stripped back hits including a gorgeous, moving rendition of When I Get There as she paid tribute to those we have lost in our lives.
An incredible performance of Just Give Me A Reason saw single collaborator Nate Ruess shown on the massive screens on both sides of the stage and we were offered up some of the tightest harmonies that we have heard in many years as the singer delivered an acoustic version of Please Don’t Leave Me with her guitarist and backing singers – as beautifully pitch-perfect as it could have come.
New album Trustfall was given its rightful nod with a mesmerizing performance of Turbulence; P!NK lending her acrobatic talents to some memorable aerobatics in the middle of the crowd which had almost every phone held high and recording the moment. It was Trustfall, however that had us truly stunned. As the singer sang through the catchy album lead single, a set of dancers performed a spellbinding choreography of trampoline skills that needs to be seen to be believed.
Visually, the show was uniquely mind blowing. The stage itself was dressed with a giant, steel studded melted ice cream on a cone and enormous Pride coloured disco ball along with 4 giant arches and an array of other colourful props. Giant images of the singer, videos of protests and cartoons periodically flashed on the emotions screen that served as a backdrop to the show according to the song being performed.
As tears flowed from some of the punters around us as the singer delivered some of her most renowned ballads, it was the punchy, dance-laced hits that got the crowd beaming as the stage lit up so much we think each eye now had a case of diabetes. Personal favourite Blow Me (One Last Kiss) was a highlight as she stormed the runway and encouraged her fans to sing along to the supercharged hit. Raise Your Glass, Never Gonna Not Dance Again, the closing So What and Just Like Fire, with its bursts of flames erupting during the track’s chorus, had the 65,000 strong audience bouncing up and down and waving back to the singer who took it all in her confident stride.
There were proposals, there were jackets being thrown onstage for the singer to sign (along with a “plethora” of markers in every colour that drew a laugh from the 65k solid crowd) and there was Gwen Stefani and Hugh Jackman on the riser in the middle of the crowd overlooking the So What singers entire show in awe at the visually stunning spectacle.
There aren’t many performers that make playing to 65,000 people look like an easy feat but P!NK does it as if it were just a walk in the (Hyde) park.
Get the Party Started
Raise Your Glass
Just Like a Pill
What About Us
Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan cover) (P!nk played the piano)
Just Give Me a Reason
Just Like Fire
Please Don’t Leave Me
Cover Me in Sunshine (with Willow Sage Hart)
Kids in Love
When I Get There
I Am Here
No Ordinary Love (Sade cover)
Are You Gonna Fall?
Blow Me (One Last Kiss)
Never Gonna Not Dance Again
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
Brendon manages and coordinates the amazing team of writers on RenownedForSound.com who are based in the UK, the U.S and Australia.