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Queen’s jubilee concert: live report

LONDON — 2050 GMT: It’s chilly at the concert now as it gets dark. But still a lot warmer (and drier) than the river pageant, says Guy Jackson. There’s only 10 minutes to go until the queen is due to light the beacon, in the climax to the concert. But one person still hasn’t performed…

2044 GMT: “Crocodile Rock” next. Crowd are loving it and joining in the “la la la’s”.

2042 GMT: Elton John — another performer who has been knighted — is no stranger to royal occasions, having famously played at Diana’s funeral in 1997. This is a far happier event — and he seems to be enjoying himself just two weeks after he was hospitalised in the US.

He congratulates the queen on her 60 years on the throne before launching into a pacy rendition of “Your Song”. Clearly they’ve all been told not to hang about….

2038 GMT: Elton romps through “I’m Still Standing”.

“Only he could get away with that pink sparkly frock coat,” says AFP’s Guy Jackson. “And we’re getting a remarkable light show on the palace too.”

2035 GMT: And now for the big stars… ELTON JOHN….

2034 GMT: Comedian Jimmy Carr reflects that in 14 years’ time the queen will be sending herself a telegram. Then Alfie Boe and Renee Fleming perform “Somewhere” on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

2032 GMT: Lots of support for Kylie on Twitter. “Best legs of the night”, tweets Piers Morgan.

“Kylie has basically blown us away. Top outfit, top voice and she’s so smiley. In short we love her,” posts OK! Magazine.

2026 GMT: Kylie’s dressed as the pearly queen, with a vaguely military twist, in a very short black dress with silver sparkles and an officer-style cap. She tears through a string of her hits.

2020 GMT: Bassey rips through that one — perhaps the queen’s not a fan — and now Kylie’s up with one of her older hits “Spinning Around”, before launching into “Can’t get you out of my head”. Looks like another medley…

2017 GMT: On to another classic now and it’s Shirley Bassey looking most Dame-like in a white dress and singing, of course, “Diamonds are Forever”.

2013 GMT: The catchy, emotive number, with an African vibe, also features the Military Wives choir and indigenous Australian musician Geoffrey Gurrumu Yunupingu.

Barlow, who has been playing keyboard is joined on stage at the end by Lloyd-Webber but there’s no sign of Harry. Shame.

The crowd give “Sing” plenty of cheers.

2010 GMT: Next it’s the official diamond jubilee single “Sing”, written for the occasion by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd-Webber. There’s 200 people on the stage including members of the African Children’s Choir and singers from all over the Commonwealth. But will we see Prince Harry on tambourine?? He’s in the video…

2003 GMT: Robbie Williams back on now with “Mack The Knife”. Seems a strange choice to follow the queen’s arrival but I’m sure there’s some logic to it somewhere…

2000 GMT: The queen joins her grandsons, Princes Harry and William, and Will’s wife Kate, in the royal box. She’s wearing a black cape with gold buttons and pearl earrings and is greeted with warm applause.


1958 GMT: Comedian Lenny Henry gives the next entertaining interlude before welcoming the queen…

1956 GMT: Tom tells the crowd: “I was here 10 years ago for the Golden Jubilee and we were at the back of the palace then, and now we’re at the front. That’s the way it goes.”

He’s now singing a medley of “Delilah” and “Mama Told Me Not to Come”.

“A storming set from Tom Jones, who got the crowd singing along,” says Guy Jackson. “If the queen is watching on TV before appearing here, he is a singer she might actually know.”

1950 GMT: Tom Jones up now waving the flag for Wales.

1945 GMT: American soprano Renee Fleming soars through “Un Bel Di Vedremo”. There’s not much time to get bored of any of these acts if you’re not a fan… “Polite but unenthusiastic applause for her,” notes AFP’s Guy Jackson who’s at the concert.

1942 GMT: Eurythmics legend Annie Lennox, sporting a diamante-studded dress and angel wings, has just finished the classic “There Must Be An Angel” and Australian entertainer Rolph Harris is up next wearing a Union Jack shirt.

“I moved to England 60 years ago so my time here completely overlapped with the queen’s reign,” Rolf says and quips: “The queen is looking better than me”. Meeting Her Majesty was the highlight of his career, he adds.

1935 GMT: Something for the younger generation now as Ed Sheeran takes to the stage to sing “Little Lady”.

Talking of which, the royal princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are among those sitting in the royal box, I am told. Prime Minister David Cameron’s also there. No sign of the queen though — she’s up later to light the beacon.

1928 GMT: Jamaican singer Grace Jones is now performing “Slave to the Rhythm” while keeping a hula hoop swinging round her hips, which is quite some feat. She’s also wearing a flamboyant black and red bodice with black tights and cloak and a red helmet-like headdress. A departure from the military tunic theme.

Tonight’s programme has been put together to reflect the whole of the Commonwealth — not just Old Blighty.

1924 GMT: Opera singer Alfie Boe has just finished a rousing rendition of “O Sole Mio” — better known to many Britons as “Just one Cornetto”, thanks to a well known ice-cream advertising campaign. He is probably the only former car mechanic from Blackpool on stage tonight.

1920 GMT: The top five subjects currently trending on Twitter in the UK appear to be mostly Cliff Richard-related after his medley earlier: #diamond jubilee; Cliff Richard; Millennium Prayer; Devil Woman; and Wired For Sound.

1910 GMT: “Knights of the realm are ten a penny backstage tonight” jokes comedian Jimmy Carr after Sir Cliff’s performance.

A change of tune next with some classical music from Chinese pianist Lang Lang… something a bit more up the queen’s street perhaps. He’s joined by the BBC Concert Orchestra and it’s getting a bit livelier with Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”.

1905 GMT: Cliff Richard up now dressed in a rose pink suit and tie. He’s doing a medley of six songs spanning every decade of the queen’s reign. The 71-one-year old national treasure is one of a number of tonight’s performers who have been knighted by the queen during their lifetime. On screens behind him are black and white home movies of the queen as a child.

1900 GMT: Take That singer and concert organiser Gary Barlow comes on to sing with ex-Girls Aloud member turned talent show judge Cheryl Cole. She is wearing an extraordinary black and white gown with a long train.

“By my reckoning, with Jessie J, Cheryl Cole and Robbie Williams we have already had three of the top-selling British artists of recent years,” notes Guy.

1856 GMT: A few moments ago Kylie told the BBC it was a “great honour” to be performing tonight, describing herself as “half a Brit”. She said: “I guess you just have to be here to feel the frisson of excitement and what’s in the air. It’s really great.” Earlier the Princess of Pop tweeted a picture of herself sporting a plastic poncho backstage during rehearsals.

1847 GMT: The crowd has gone wild for Will.i.am‘s rendition of “I Gotta Feeling”. The BlackEyedPeas singer also opted for for the military tunic… we’re spotting a theme here. Jessie J joins him on stage, shouting “We all know how to party in the UK!”

“Thousands of Union Jacks are being waved”, says AFP’s Guy Jackson. “Even hardened journalists behind me are dancing.”

1843 GMT: Rob Brydon takes to the stage — one of several British comedians chosen to host the show. He jokes that the queen won’t be happy because it’s the equivalent of handing over your home to a 16-year-old “and then putting it on YouTube”.

1840 GMT: Elton John, who will be up on stage later, tells the BBC he is “proud to have been asked to perform, praising the queen as “stoic, wise, funny”. “It’s going to be exciting… it’s a fun night. It’s a celebration of her majesty”. But he adds ” I don’t think she is a big pop music fan”.

1837 GMT: Fireworks and flame-throwing set off a spectacular opening sequence. “This is surely the first time that flamethrowers have been used in front of the palace,” remarks Guy Jackson.


Three startled ducks take flight as fireworks and military drumming herald the start of the concert, says AFP’s Guy Jackson from Buckingham Palace. Robbie Williams, dressed in a military tunic is the first act, singing “Let me Entertain You”.

1830 GMT: Some 18,000 people have been invited to the concert, being staged around the Queen Victoria Memorial, with 10,000 winning tickets in a public ballot and another 8,000 attending from charities with links to the royal family. Thousands more will be trying to glimpse the show from screens in Hyde Park, St James’s Park and The Mall.

In the queue, AFP’s Katy Lee speaks to concertgoers… “I won the tickets and I’ve brought my dear friend here, as we’re both 60 this year — it’s our jubilee as well,” says nurse Linda Jones, who along with her companion Joy Skinner is sporting a bright red, white and blue wig and matching sunglasses.

1825 GMT: After torrential rain for Sunday’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant in London, it appears that tonight’s revellers are in luck. The sun is appearing from behind the clouds and umbrellas have been discarded — for now.

Huge queues are snaking around Buckingham Palace, reports AFP’s Katy Lee, while thousands more are filling The Mall — the road leading up the the queen’s abode, which is lined with huge Union Jack flags and giant screens on which the show will be broadcast.

WELCOME TO AFP’S LIVE REPORT on Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee concert in London on the third day of celebrations marking the British monarch’s 60 years on the throne.

Thousands of people are gathered outside Buckingham Palace for the event, which will feature performances from international superstars including Paul McCartney, Elton John and Kylie Minogue, with music spanning every decade of the queen’s reign.

Earlier the palace announced that her husband, Prince Philip, had been hospitalised with a bladder infection and would be unable to attend. But the show goes on without him, ending with the lighting of more than 4,000 beacons across Britain and the Commonwealth.

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Posted by on Jun 5 2012. Filed under Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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