This weekend has seen central London be taken over by Rock fans everywhere. Thursday night saw The Kings of Leon gigging in the Royal park, Saturday saw rock legends Bon Jovi take centre stage, while tonight Rod Stewart has the chance to entertain thousands in the park. However, there was only one day of music in the park which interested me.
Two summers ago, I was lucky enough to see my favourite band of all-time, The Killers, play at this magnificent venue. When they went on hiatus in January 2010, I thought I had had my once in a lifetime moment. However, I was shocked to hear in April 2011 that The Killers had once again been booked by Hard Rock Calling to headline the 40th anniversary of Hard Rock cafe. This was an epic feat, seeing as no other band has headlined the Hyde Park festival more than once.
Having successfully secured pre-sale tickets to the event, I had sealed my chance to an event I thought I may never see again… The Killers in Hyde Park.
My anticipation of the event grew and grew as days got nearer, however the peak of my excitement arrived when the supporting acts were announced. Another of my favourite bands, The Kaiser Chiefs, were officially announced as the support act for the day. As you can imagine, seeing my favourite band is going to be a momentous day for me, that, coupled with the arrival of the Kaiser Chiefs to the line-up, was colossal.
As I arrived at Marble Arch station, I could pick out the top of the stage out across the London scenery. After a few swift pints, we ventured through the gates into the park. There were a few thousand already camped near the front of the stage, waiting for live music to begin. Having learnt from my previous experience of the festival, we chilled near the back, sat on the grass listening to the opening few acts from a far.
As the third act “James” began, we decided to attempt to filter through the audience to take a relatively good position centre-stage. The crowd sang along to the hit “Sit Down”, but other than that, James were a relatively disappointing addition to the line-up. The rain began at 7pm on the dot, as the weather forecast had predicted. However, as the Kaiser Chiefs took to the stage carrying Union Jack Umbrellas, the crowd livened up. Playing a mixture of hits from their first three albums and new material from their upcoming album “The Future is Medieval”, the Leeds based band had the crowd singing along to hits such as “Ruby”, “I Predict a Riot” and their new single “Little Shocks”.
After rocking for nearly an hour, The Kaiser Chiefs ended with an extended version of “The Angry Mob” providing a perfect warm up for the upcoming set by The Killers.
The crowd began to surge forward as it reached the Killers start time. The anticipation in the audience grew as a dramatic intro began. As Brandon Flowers, Dave Keuning, Ronnie Vannucci JR and Mark Stoermer took to the stage, the crowd erupted. That excitement was doubled once again as Brandon began playing the synthesiser, the crowd began singing. The first track was an unexpected one, “Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll” a song that featured on the album “Sawdust” as it was considered a rareity. You can see this song on Youtube if you follow this link.
By the time the second song, “Spaceman” was finished, I had managed to filter my way through 10 rows of people, making my way into the second row… and I wasn’t moving. As the rain continued to pour, the Killers poured out hit after hit, including the likes of “Mr Brightside”, “Somebody Told Me” and ” Human”.
Not even the rain could dampen the spirits of the jubilant Hyde Park crowd. As the Killers rejoined the stage for their encore, they hit the fans with the great songs “This is your Life”, “Jenny was a Friend of Mine” and closed with “When you were Young”. The spectacular ending was greeted with fireworks, tickertape and for me… disappointment…
Why was I disappointed? Not with the show I had been given. Not with the weather. But both my phone and coach ticket home were missing. The pocket they were kept in, previously closed, was open. I, of course, have assumed that my phone was stolen in the tightly compact crowd.
How to ruin a day in a matter of moments.
Instead of leaving the park with the immense happiness every other fan left with, I left with a mixture of emotions. Elation, an adrenaline rush and pure annoyance. Why would someone do that kind of thing.
Despite costing me and extra £40 that the day should have, It is a day and an event I will always remember and will still treasure the memories of.
No matter who headlines Hard Rock Calling next year has a tough act to follow, but in my eyes no act can follow one as high class as The Killers.