The first day of the Hard Rock Calling is welcomed by heavy rain. The place looks like a smaller version of Glastonbury, the difference being half of the people here in London aren’t ready for it.
Despite the rain, the crowd is overwhelmed and between a beer and waffle they are all ready to party.
The arena is lined with stands offering all kinds of catering from Chinese to Mexican through to Fish and Chips and Ice-creams. The Arena is furnished with 3 stages. The main stage clearly the more popular, a second stage named Pepsi Max, is covered by and big tent and a third smaller stage positioned next to the Tuborg stand were few unsigned bands will be performing throughout the weekend.
The highlight of the Pepsi stage on Friday is definitely Indy rock stars ‘The Kills’. The duo formed by American singer Alison Mosshart and British guitarist Jamie Hince have been in the music business since 2000 and are currently promoting their fourth studio album ‘Blood Pressures’. Their unique style really warms all the rain drenched revellers and gets them ready for the main act.
Thousands brave the rain and give their best support to The Killers. Brandon Flowers & co. play almost all their hits during the set and also give the crowd the opportunity to listen to what is possibly the first single from the still un-named new album; the song is called "The Rising Tide".
on the notes of 'Bling (Confessions Of A King)' fireworks are triggered providing a little bit of light to the dark sky. It is definitely an outstanding performance from The Killers.
On the second date of the festival, the sun is shining high in a cloudless sky. The temperature is finally close to the season’s average. Everyone in Hyde Park is enjoying the weather and the good music. The Pepsi Max Stage is obviously less crowed than the day before but with the same good quality music on offer. The Italian Gianna Nannini at her first appearance in such occasion looks thrilled to be part of it and give’s her best in her 40mins set.
Another highlight of the Pepsi Max Stage ‘Imelda May”. Her rockabilly music along with her Irish accent seduces the crowd and soon everyone under the tent is dancing and singing along. Meanwhile on the main stage the band Black Cards performs for the very first time in front of such a huge audience. The band is a side project of the ex Fall Out Boy, Pete Wentz. Their electro-pop tunes are highly appreciated from the Hyde Park crowd.
On the notes of “Raise your hands” at around 7:15 p.m. Bon Jovi takes control of the main stage.
The roar coming from the fans is so impressive that even if you are at the very end of the venue you feel it. The ground seems to shake under your feet.
The band thumps out a phenomenal 27 song set spanning their entire musical career lit with obvious hits “Living on a Prayer”, “Always” and “it’s my life”. Sadly the classic “Bed of Roses” was left out. Again the night ends with an amazing fireworks display and a seemingly endless queue to the exits.
The third day of the event will always be remembered as the hottest day of the year. Temperatures way about the average forcing everyone to drink a ridiculous amount of water trying to cool down. Every single shadow packed with people looking for some reprieve from the sun. Surviving the hot weather has been a challenge for everyone and the first Aid tent has greeted many visitors.
Earlier in the afternoon American band Train took the main stage, fighting the burning air. Their set is probably one of the highlights of the afternoon along with Adam Ant and his post punk melodies. Meanwhile on Pepsi Max Stage after a brilliant set from Mike & The Mechanics at around 7:40p.m. Lighthouse Family begin their set in front of a full house. Their easy listening music lit up the spirits of all the attendees. On the notes of probably their most popular song “High” the crowd chorus fills the tent with a good mood, typical reaction to this amazing band.
Back on the main stage it’s time for Rod Stewart to start his performance. He appears on stage looking like the Rockstar he is. The cheers coming from the crowd are testifying to what everybody knows already. It is going to be huge! The whole set is highly concentrated on his last covers album of popular American rock/soul songs. While Rod performs a rendition of the song “Downtown Train” by Tom Waits. Fans are left with nothing else to do than dance and sing their hearts out.
The perfect celebration for the 40th Anniversary of this big event ends with another set of fireworks. Rod Stewart is the perfect host for the crowd during this amazing night.
The crowd leaving the arena seems not to mind the endless queue to the bus/tube stops. All they know is that these 3 days have been amazing, well organized and full of fun. Like us, they can’t wait till next year replicates the experience, hopefully without the rain!