Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jubilee!


The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert took place at and around the Victoria Memorial in front of the Buckingham Palace in London on Monday night. I have a soft spot for the British Monarchy being their Facebook ‘friend’ and all but I suppose this comes with the territory to everyone who has studied English at university*. So, naturally, I watched the show that was broadcast also on our national television.

It was spectacular! The Take That star, singer-songwriter and producer Gary Barlow had done a magnificent job in organizing the concert packed with so many world-class names from opera singers to rappers that even many of the performers themselves found it surreal backstage.

The visual show projected on the facade of the Buckingham Palace was fantastic but I’m not sure about some of the bolder parts on stage. My mother would have considered some scantily clad acts inappropriate in this connection and she was only two years The Queen’s senior and as far from royalty as you can be. However, The Queen has seen it all by now and took everything bravely looking stunning as always. In addition to being an outdoor person, she must have the best of genes to continue looking so good at 86.

I have fond memories of two of Monday night’s performers. Needless to say I am a great fan of The Beatles. To me they are by far the greatest. And I’m lucky to have experienced Sir Paul McCartney live when he performed at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium in June 2004. I even took my more or less 20-year-old children there. It was amazing also for them who had never heard some of the older Beatles rock hits before. Macca’s voice was great throughout the lengthy concert and the audience was thrilled. It certainly was an evening to remember to a stadium-full of music lovers.

Sir Paul performed in Helsinki again last year but I couldnt afford it. He will turn 70 this month, is still going strong and is starting to be the self-evident closing act in any major British spectacle. In late July, we will see him at the opening of the London Olympics.

My other special memory of a Diamond Jubilee performer is also related to an Olympic Stadium, this time to the Panathenaic Stadium or the Kallimarmaro, the all-marble stadium in Athens that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and was built from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium.

My son was attending the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens as a partner player in a unified football (soccer) team. One night I didn’t hear his call on my mobile and only a bit later listened to his message. There was some noise like the sound of a crowd celebrating and I first thought his mobile had taken my number by accident but then I recognized the tune: Stevie Wonder performing Superstition at the opening ceremony. My son must have been very young when mommy used to listen to Stevie but he remembered. When the piece ended he just remarked, “That’s all for now.” Even from the recorded message I could sense the feeling of a packed house and a magnificent night under the Athenian sky.

I missed some of Monday night’s performances from the beginning and I am certainly going to sit by the TV on Friday when they rerun the recording here. I suggest you do the same if you have any possibility to see the show. Hopefully, The Royal Channel will soon post a summary on the Diamond Jubilee concert on YouTube.

The LinkWithin widget doesnt seem to work the way it should so here are the links to my earlier posts on London and Athens.

(*Note to self: check with your nephew who is studying to become a teacher of English whether they still concentrate on British English. In any case, a 21st-century lad will probably be more into football and other stuff like that and less into royalty.)

The Victoria Memorial with the bronze Statue of Peace in the foreground.

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