Hyde Park Calling 2006 - Sunday, Main Stage
First up today are Colorado-based Rose Hill Drive, three guys playing revisionist rock in the same vein as The Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Looking like younger brothers of Kings of Leon, these three obviously revel in the limelight despite crowd numbers being predictably low. It seems the majority of guests are enjoying their picnicking as much as these boys are making the most of their festival experience. Their new single 'Cool Cody' is plugged and these boys play with an infectious enthusiasm that sets the main stage up perfectly for what is to follow.
Ocean Colour Scene, watched on by their proud dad Paul Weller, play a list of hits including ‘Profit for Peace’, ‘Riverboat Song’ and ‘100 High Mile City’. It’s great to have them back and they get the biggest cheer of the day so far during ‘The Day We Caught The Train’ – the perfect summer anthem on a day like today, in spite of Simon Fowler's unfortunate coughing fit in the middle.
The sun is starting to set and the climate cools as Merseybeat oddballs The Zutons enter the stage, their set timed perfectly to coincide with the onset of dusk and dancing. Their set is fantastic, full of tracks from both their albums: they are lively, energetic and their catchy riffs cannot help but goad the audience into participation. Their energy is thrust down the crowd's throat as opener 'Zuton Fever' launches like a playful, trippy, psychedelic manifesto. Saxophonist Abi Harding is constantly dancing all over the stage, like a female brass-wielding Mick Jagger, only younger, much better looking and most definitely female.
There is a definite distinction between old and new tracks: new material is more soulful and with a richness that is lacking from the first album 'Who Killed The Zutons'. Lead singer Dave McCabe’s voice is stronger than ever; Hyde Park Calling is witness to an outfit that have developed into genre leaders who wield their sound as effectively as Abi wields her sax appeal.
Razorlight aren’t the shy and retitring kind: Johnny Borrell enters the stage wearing his customary all-white garb, looking ready to pay tribute to a band he has credited as being a major influence on his own. Whether or not Razorlight are this decade’s answer to The Who is neither here nor there: what is important is that these boys have already had huge success with debut album 'Up All Night' and are set to maintain this success with new album Razorlight. Opening with their great new single 'In The Morning', Razorlight continue to create punchy, plucky, catchy rock. Their new material is more mature: 'Vice' is introduced as a song about two women; 'Fall to Pieces' and 'Los Angeles Waltz' are certainly a sign of good things to come. The anthemic 'Somewhere Else' gets the crowd whipped up and in the mood for the headliners. The set is everything you would expect from Razorlight: loud, vigorous and electric, they are a band whose rise to further stardom looks unstoppable.
The Who’s set is book-ended by archive footage of the band from the sixties and seventies, emphasising two glaring truths: this is not merely a gig, it is a celebration; and The Who were born to play Hyde Park. Every member of the audience regardless of age knows this.
Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey as the two remaining members of the original band are quite obviously worshipped by the crowd and rightfully so: their set is a back catalogue of incredible songs such as 'Can’t Explain', 'Behind Blue Eyes', 'Baba O’Reilly' and 'The Kids Are Alright'. Son of Ringo, Zak Starkey, fills Keith Moon’s shoes more than adequately but never, ever fully: that would be impossible. On a sabattical as Oasis’ drummer he wears the Mod look well, appropriately dressed in a black white and check jacket. Take him out of Hyde Park and he could have been accompanying his dad back in 1965 - most likely upstaging the hell out of him!
That the younger members of the audience start singing alongside their folks to 'Who Are You' is testament
to the beauty of this festival: unlike other misguided gigs the message at Hyde Park Calling is clear; this is music that
knows no boundaries as it has held true for 40 years.
Unsurprisingly an encore is an absolute necessity and The Who reward their audience with a journey through 'Tommy’s greatest tunes: the excitement is palpable as 'Substitute', 'Pinball Wizard', 'Listening To You' and 'See Me, Feel Me' are played with Townshend dishing out the windmill guitar strumming like it’s blowing a ten force gale. Roger Daltrey swings his mic around like it’s 1972 and Hyde Park erupts into an explosion of cheers. 40 years hasn’t dulled a band that were, and still are, pioneers: it is a delight to see an entire day paid in recognition to their musical brilliance.