So last night I spent the night at Wembley watching Billy Joel. Today I have spent a good couple of hours at the Mid Century Market, how on earth can that possibly be topped?
By going to the Radio 2 Festival in a Day at Hyde Park, of course!
The concert kicked off at 1 o’clock with Travis, but we were running a little late and were still walking across the park. We could of course hear them singing and it made us walk a little faster!
Getting through security was quick and easy, and within five minutes we were inside the “arena”. Now for anyone who has never heard or seen anything about this event, it involves Radio 2 hosting a full day of music, attended by 55,000 people. This years line up included Jamie Lawson, Gregory Porter, Leann Rimes, Madness and the headliner Sir Elton John!
We had been to a previous festival and knew what the set up was like, so armed with suncream, foldable armchairs and fully charged phones and cameras we made our way across the site to find a place to set up camp.
On our previous visit, it hadn’t got very busy until the late afternoon and we were able to get right near to the front, however this was certainly not the case. It was absolutely packed so consequently we had to find a spot big enough for our chairs, and this meant being out slightly further than I would have liked.
However, logistics and capability took over and I realised with a weak lower back I would not be able to stand near the front for over nine hours. A large comfy chair seemed like a much better option.
First on the agenda was a drink so hubby was duly sent on a foraging spree. Two bottles of cider (and around 30 minutes later) and we were ensconced in our little area, which actually had great views of the stage and the large screens that were either side of the stage.
The first act of the day was one I wasn’t particularly aware of, Singer Andreya Triana. A beautiful young lady with an amazing soulful voice. She really was the perfect lady to listen to on a sunny afternoon in Hyde Park. I sat back, relaxed, feeling all chilled out as she sang for around thirty minutes.
In between each act was a short break, or some of my favourite Radio 2 DJ’s came and chatted with the crowd. There was even a special episode of PopMaster with Ken Bruce, featuring Claudia Winkleman and Sarah Cox. Being a fan of the quiz and listening in every day, it was great fun to take part whilst sitting in the sun. I am pleased to report I scored 24 which given the cider consumption wasn’t too bad!
After Andreya Triana was a man I had really been looking forward to. Jake Lawson had a surprising smash hit with “I wasn’t expecting that” a song that I absolutely loved. I had bought the album a few months ago and had listened to it repeatedly. He certainly didn’t disappoint.
Standing on the stage with his guitar he sang all the hits from the album and had a special guest, Cara Dillon. I was in my element singing away with the crowd. When it came to “I wasn’t expecting that” there were a few damp eyes in the crowd, at least mine anyway.
A few cold drinks later and Leean Rimes made her way to the stage. She looked absolutely stunning and her voice was even more so. It was at this point that we went to get ice cream to cool down. This was a good thing as it took us closer to the stage and even better pictures.
She spent 30 minutes singing to the crowd and even brought out David Gray as a guest to sing on one of her songs. My favourite performance from her was “The Story” which is a new song from her latest album. I absolutely love it and it is on my list to purchase soon.
All too soon it was time for the one performer I was desperate to see; Gregory Porter. I have been a fan for quite awhile and have played his CD’s until everyone else grew sick of hearing them.
This meant I was really REALLY excited to see him live. And boy, he really didn’t disappoint. With a voice like melted chocolate, he could sing a chinese takeaway menu and I would still be in raptures.
He was simply divine. Dressed so dapper, his smile lit up the stage (can you tell I am a fan yet?) He sang all my favourite songs and I was literally in my element.
All too soon it came to an end, but I had seen him for over 30 minutes and that was good enough for me.
Again it was time for another short break before the mighty Status Quo were due to do a special “Aquostic” set. Now, I can’t say I am the biggest Quo fan, but I do like a few of theirs and I just love live music in general.
I mean, what More can you ask for? Gorgeous sunny day, a cold bottle of cider and live music.
I have to admit though, they managed to make me change my mind. They gave an amazing 45 minute acoustic set, playing hits old and new, and I loved every second of it!
They really did put on a great performance and literally had everyone on their feet dancing.
A short break later and it was time for the act I was even more excited to see than Gregory Porter, that act being Madness.
Hubby has been a fan for over 30 years but has never seen them live. I have liked them for around 20 years, again never having seen them live.
The stage lit up and out they came. Everyone in the crowd were up on their feet, doing that Madness “dance”. You know the one I mean; the jogging on the spot, arms pumping in time with the rhythm. Oh yes…. Me included!
I have to admit by the end of the 45 minutes I was worn out physically and my voice was gone from shout-singing the lyrics along with Suggs and the boys to every song especially my favourite “Night Boat To Cairo”.
Watching the St Johns Ambulance crew dancing to Madness was a highlight of the day – they really were in the spirit of it.
The hour long set ended with the beautiful “It must be Love” and was literally the icing on the cake.
Finally the set came to an end and I was happy to sit down for 10 minutes before the final Headline act, Sir Elton John. Now, if you know me personally, I have what my family refer to as “Elton John moments” I wrote about it on a previous post (read here). Here now was my chance to see him whilst compos mentis!
I was not disappointed. He absolutely rocked the whole park apart playing all of his hits. The park was absolutely rocking to all the classics from the 70’s and onward. Arms swaying in time to “Your Song”. La la la’ing along to Crocodile Rock. Absolutely outstanding.
Tiny Dancer, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Bennie and the Jets were some of my favourites and Sir Elton Shone like the star he is – helped by his sparkly jacket.
Ninety minutes later and the concert came to an end. Due to local council laws, the performances have to end for 10pm, and the s0 the crowd dispersed. Thankfully we were only a five minute walk away and we trundled our tired hot bodies back to our apartment.
The day had been an amazing success. All of the bands were out of this world and it would have been hard to pick my favourite (yeah it was Madness). I had a nice amount of ice cold cider on a sunny day. I had eaten enough festival food to sink a battleship and I had an amazing day listening to Live Music.
What more could anyone ask for?
We woke up Monday morning and it was time to vacate our lovely little apartment although we still had a whole day in London ahead of us. Where to go and what to do? Well, first on the list was a spot of breakfast.
We decided to eat at Pauls, a lovely French boulangerie/cafe based on the Edgeware Road. Earl Grey was the order of the day along with a beautiful fresh croque monsieur, one of my favourites. It really set me up for the day, as we headed off to Westfields, Stratford for a bit of retail therapy.
I had decided to wear my Pin Up Girl Ava dress for the day, and had managed to keep my poodle in quite well, so adding my new hair flower I was happy as a lark.
A couple of hours later and I wasn’t happy as a lark. I know it might surprise you, but I am not actually a girl who likes shopping. I get very frustrated with the lack of clothes in my size; even more problematic now as I dress even more differently. But I also hate the hustle and bustle and the sheer heat in those places.
The day was already a scorcher and it was getting hotter and hotter in the City. Finishing up our trip we headed back into the City, picked up some beigels in Brick Lane and headed off to a lovely pub we know.
The Woodins Shades is situated on the corner of Bishopsgate and has been there for 143 years. It is now run by Nicholsons Pubs, another favourite of mine and so we found a quiet spot, where I indulged in some Rhubarb Gin and dry ginger and read the papers for a couple of hours. Literally, it was absolute bliss!
We also indulged in their mac n cheese bites and some smothered chips, which were so tasty! I thoroughly recommend giving them a go if you are in the area!
We eventually had to leave, and headed back to Marble Arch to pick up our suitcases. I literally had enough by this point and wanted to go home, but the train was still around two hours time.
Of course what else was there to do but to head to another pub, the All Bar One at Euston.
Sitting down outside we chatted all about how the weekend had gone and what our favourite part of it was. For me, I have to say that seeing Gregory Porter was the highlight of my weekend; I wish his set had been five times longer than what it was.
I thought I would finish off the day with one last cocktail – My favourite, a Long Island Ice Tea. The drink was served and was unlike any I had ever had before, and I have had this drink all over the World.
The mixer (the clue is in the description) was put in FIRST! Then shots of Smirnoff Black vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, Olmeca tequila, Bacardi Carta Blanca rum, triple sec were put in second. No shaking, no stirring.
Consequently I was given a drink that would make even the hardest drinker keel over! I even went so far as to tweet a picture of it, to be told that it was how their cocktail manual told them to do it.
If Gregory Porter was the highlight, this was definitely the lowlight of the weekend.
We finally arrived at our local train station at around 930pm, only to be picked up by Baby Bear in her brand new car, just off the forecourt Mini! What a way to end a wonderful weekend.