BT London Live Opening Ceremony Concert, Hyde Park, W2 – Review

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For the next few weeks Olympic moments will be ten-a-penny. Friday was full of them, mostly courtesy of Danny Boyle, but Hyde Park’s incongruous mix of a band from each home nation plus Opening Ceremony action on a giant screen had a couple of its own.

As Duran Duran set about The Reflex, the Red Arrows flew low overhead, drowning out the band, leaving red, white and blue vapour trails behind. Never knowingly usurped, Simon Le Bon and colleagues ignored it. The crowd gasped in wonder. Then, long after midnight, Snow Patrol were interrupted by footage of what we apparently must call Team GB entering the Olympic Stadium. Immediately, Gary Lightbody began Chasing Cars. Not a spine was left untingled.

The right men for the right moment, Duran Duran were all rocket-propelled hits, good wishes for the Olympics and Le Bon’s Union Jack jacket. Even the rain couldn’t dampen the joy. Snow Patrol, meanwhile, were ideal headliners. Overflowing with big smiles, messianic zeal and infectious enthusiasm, their leader Lightbody grasped the essential good nature of the evening. Chasing Cars – hopefully an Olympic event itself at Rio 2016 – may have been the highlight, but Run, Just Say Yes and Take Back The City ran it close. These were big songs for big times.

Not everyone got it right. Slurred of voice between songs, grizzled of voice during them, wholly inappropriately, Paolo Nutini elected to play new material, before settling into sub-John Martyn drear, while Stereophonics were defeated from the moment they had to follow Boyle’s eye-popping, ear-battering Sex Pistols/Prodigy/Blur set-piece. No wonder leader Kelly Jones exuded grumpiness.

Not a perfect night then, but a perfectly lovely one.

Courtesy Standard UK