P!NK Photo Credit: Dave Hogan / Hogan Media
P!NK plus support from Gwen Stefani, Lyra &Tinashe
After witnessing a British Summer Time concert last year, watching The Rolling Stones, I knew we were going to make a return at some point. And not because of the Stones, it is such a well-oiled machine of a mini festival. The organisation it must take to not only grab some of the biggest names around, but then to fill out a bill with something for everyone, and then put everything together is something to behold. Spread over the summer in the glorious Hyde Park, you are guaranteed a great atmosphere, and before we go on with the event, a big thank you to Caitlin and the rest of the team at Outside Organisation for helping us have a memorable day.
We would have loved to have more time to look around at the myriad things going on in the arena but due to time restraint it wasn’t possible. With a mini fair and impromptu entertainment happening, next time hopefully, but it was really the music we had travelled down from the Midlands for, and we certainly got it.
First on the Oak stage is Lyra, a singer we know, having covered her recent Birmingham Institute gig, and we enjoyed it very much and were pleasantly surprised when she was added to this event. With Lyra you get what you see, a diminutive Irish lass, with a bit of a potty mouth, but very funny with it. Like telling the crowd that she didn’t think it through about wearing a silver outfit, and she felt like a Sunday roast put into an oven. She has cracking voice, with an impressive knack of writing very good songs, as witnessed by the amount of her tunes being used on everything from adverts to TV programs. And although first on, which obviously comes with the fact that the crowd is still drifting in, there was a decent amount of people down front who showed their appreciation with great applause, and richly deserved as she put in a very energetic performance in the baking sunshine. Bumping into her backstage I went over to congratulate her, to which she said she thought to herself f*** it and went for it, and I agreed she went and smashed it, and her set will have won her more fans.
Second up is Tinashe, a singer I must admit I knew nothing about, being more of a Radio One type artist. Apparently starting out as an actress in America before deciding to start a singing career, which by all accounts is going from strength to strength. Following some really notable support slots with the likes of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Nicky Minaj, Beyonce and Maroon Five, you can tell she is a very experienced performer, as this Pop/ RnB artist put on a classy, choreographed show complete with dancers, but no mistaking she has the vocals to back it up, with a set of up-tempo quality songs. She has a Beyoncé style about her, which went down well with the attendees, and apparently there is rumour of an imminent album release, so watch this space.
Next up is the return to these shores for the first time in about 10 years of Gwen Stefani. And wondering that with such a long layoff whether she has that spark and energy, well yes, she did. With me not being the biggest follower of Ms Stefani, I was pleasantly surprised A of how many songs I knew, and B with her performance, she was excellent. With a spot on vocal and keeping up with her dancers easily with an energetic performance that a lot of younger artists would be hard to keep up with. Her set made up with older No Doubt numbers like ‘Hey Baby’, ‘Just A Girl’, including a cracking version of ‘Don’t Speak’, with obvious big crowd sing along. And her own hits, which as said previously we knew more than expected, like ‘Rich Girl’, ‘What You Waiting For’, even throwing in a cover of Talk Talk’s ‘It’s My Life’, before finishing with arousing version of ‘Hollaback Girl’, Ms Stefani went up in our estimation immensely.
Now for the Incomparable P!NK, I saw her the last time she played in Birmingham, and she was excellent. And after seeing the recent reviews we knew we were in for a cracker, and my god did we. With P!NK she has the entire package, the songs, the vocals, the humour, the performance and even the acrobatics! Put this together with spectacular sets, incredible band and dancers, and that special something that is indefinable, she is a force of nature. Hit after hit they were all there, after opening with ‘Get the Party Started’, which was the ultimate statement, because that’s what we had. After seeing P!NK dropping headfirst toward the stage, the crowd gasped thinking the worst, before stopping a few feet from the floor. This was an exceptional night with great songs, great sound and artistry, it had it all, complete with emotional dancing in ropes and an appearance of her daughter, Willow singing ‘Cover Me In Sunshine’ with mom.
Apart from her own mega hits, P!NK likes to mix things up a bit, and even on this prestige venue, sang Sade’s ‘No Ordinary Love’, and Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’, with seven tracks off her latest album ‘Trustfall’, which to be honest fitted right into the more established classic P!NK tracks like a glove. There is an obvious closeness between P!NK and the rest of the performers on stage, sharing jokes and laughing at each other, which was nice to see. The long sold-out crowd were lapping this up, singing and dancing along, and most here knew that on this tour she had took to flying around the audience, but I would put money on that even P!NK hadn’t gone as high as she did tonight. With support from four enormous cranes, she flew up so high you could hardly see her, then flew left and right and lower over the crowd who were mesmerized by what they were seeing, and astonishingly she never missed a beat or sang out of tune. On her big hit ‘So What’, she had the biggest smile on her face. She herself was loving the experience and alas it was the end. This was a perfect concert, you can use all the words, exceptional, awesome, spectacular these words can’t describe what we witnessed tonight, and just wonder how long will it be before we can see P!NK again, hopefully not too long.
Lyra & Tinashe Photos by Geoff Griffe
Review by Jenny Griffe