Concert a triumph – but where were the truly stellar British stars?
The sight of a giant 3D corgi floating above Buckingham Palace was not something I expected to see in my lifetime. The platinum jubilee concert was fast-paced and superbly staged, full of exuberant and committed performances, although the tone was more of a Royal Variety Show blockbuster than a summary of 70 years of glorious British pop.
Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne the same year Britain got its first singles. His reign coincided with the explosive birth and continued evolution of a vibrant and global British pop culture. Although it had little impact on Her Majesty’s dress sense, she presided over rock ‘n’ roll, reggae, punk, synth pop, techno, hip hop, trip hop, Britpop , the garage and the grime. To celebrate it all, we were treated to old romantics Duran Duran dressed up enough to save the fashion industry by performing the dubiously sexist 80s anthem Girls On Film while photos of our monarch were projected onto the palace.
The staging was genuinely inventive, though it would probably have made far more sense on television than in St James Mall, where even the view from the royal box was obscured by an embarrassing monument that a former regent had erected just in the line of sight.
Brian May performed God Save the Queen on the palace roof for the Golden Jubilee 20 years ago. At 74, he was back with what was left of his band Queen playing for the same Queen, but this time he only made it halfway through the Victoria Memorial. As the chords of We Will Rock You rang out, the guitarist lifted himself onto an elevator platform as massed drummers gathered to keep the military beat going. American singer Adam Lambert, meanwhile, impressively replaced the late Freddie Mercury while seemingly dressed in the contents of a Persian furniture store.