Not to be put off by sharing the weekend with the biggest festival in the world – Hard Rock Calling kicked off on Friday 24th June in London’s Hyde Park.
HRC is well able to hold it’s own on the booking front and also with attracting some big names as spectators.
Prince Harry’s VIP drinking stint with Princesses Bea and Eugenie and various Glee cast members keeps the tabloid showbiz gawkers and the guest-list PRs very happy for the weekend.
First up on the evening for me after getting of my plane was Kaiser Chiefs. I was really excited to see the band again – the last time I seen them was 2009 in the O2 Dublin.
They kicked off with Everyday I Love You Less And Less and the crowd were bouncing from start to finish of the set. Ricky Wilson and the lads were on top form and they are tighter than ever after a couple of years off.
Wilson dedicates Ruby to “Harry” and after a brilliant Angry Mob and Oh My God finale, the Chiefs leave a happy and hyper crowd.
Up next were Las Vegas legends – The Killers. Easing in with my favourite track – Indie Rock & Roll, Flowers has Hyde Park helping him with delivering the huge choruses which mark the Killers’ most popular songs.
Somebody Told Me comes early on in the set and although the band promised some ‘surprises’ the only one was Flowers taking a stab at Moon River!
After Mr Brightside and a singalong All These Things I’ve Done, the band conclude after one encore. It was a tight set but I was not left wanting more but that was mostly down to the heavy rain that was falling in Hyde Park at this time.
Another plus side to Hard Rock Calling is not having to sleep in a tent. Hard Rock Calling 1 – Glastonbury 0.
I awoke the next day very excited to know that in a few hours I would be watching Ray Davies, Imelda May and Bon Jovi perform on the day. I was also excited that the sun managed to drag itself out for the day.
Even though I thought Ray Davies was incredible – I thought he had a real battle on his hands with the Bon Jovi crowd. The lack of enthusiasm registers on some feeble call and response routines during Lola and Sunny Afternoon. It is such a shame but ever the professional he went through his set. “Thanks,” he says finally, “you’ve been great”, and walks off with a brisk shake of the head.
Next up was Irish rockabilly artist – Imelda May who was playing in the Pepsi Max stage that was located behind the main stage. She gave an incredible performance as always and her huge voice filled the tent with ease.
I retreated from the tent early enough to get my spot for the main act of the night and I was by no means left disappointed! Bon Jovi couldn’t of been more amazing at Hard Rock Calling with a storming three-hour set and Jon announcing: “This is better than Glastonbury.”
Not to be slowed down by an injured leg after slipping during a recent show in Finland, the energetic frontman gave it his all as he always does. You just don’t see musicians like this anymore!
Bandmates Richie Sambora, Tico Torres and David Bryan were on equally rocking form and it is great to see Sambora back where he belongs.
After last year’s London residency, there is still alot of love for the New Jersey legends. Thousands of fans sang along to their hefty back catalogue of hits, including It’s My Life, Bad Medicine and the epic Livin’ On A Prayer.
The fans certainly got value for money and it’s no wonder they are one of the highest grossing live acts in the world.
Their stamina certainly helps you keep the faith that rock ‘n’ roll is alive and kicking.
I am even more excited about seeing them in Dublin this week as I was before! I’d like to say a huge thank you to LD Communications and Hard Rock for looking after us so well.