Sunday dawned like no surprise – I let Grizz sleep in and we scrubbed up well, dressed and set off once again for the Covent Garden area of London, as he had decided to return to the Penguin store to buy a bag he’d liked the look of in the sale!
First we ate lunch in a pleasant enough urban courtyard near Euston Station and joined the sweltering masses on the Tube system… The bag attained, we moved on passing Pineapple Dance Studios and one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants and a sale at Cath Kidston. This meant I finally spent a (very small) amount of money on l’il ol’ me, but I did not glimpse Louis Spence, which made me sad.
This is Louis Spence, artistic director of the Pineapple Dance Studios (allegedly!) - Such fun!
I was allowing myself to get ever-so-slightly excited at the prospect of Stevie, while still worrying that ter Grizz would absolutely hate it, when we decided to take our spoils back to the hotel to save tramping them in to the concert in Hyde Park later.
After a rest and a second shower – London isn’t half grimy when the heat is on – We headed for Hyde Park, with no real sense of where the concert was going to be held.
By this time, Grizz had mastered the Tube system and we disembarked at Green Park, because well that was bound to be Hyde Park, was it not?!
Several bruised tootsies later, we attained the entrance to Hyde Park and made for the venue, having been pointed in the right direction by some good old British Bobbies, bless them!
It was a walk in the park. Having found a spot about half-way down the field away from the stage, where Grizz and I could put down my paisley shawl and hunker down, amid whole extended families and a few rock lobsters glistening after a full day in the sun!
I allowed myself to feel a small frisson of excitement at the prospect of Stevie; This was enhanced by watching her road crew prepare her mic' with the ribbons, crystals and baubles that are her signature touch.
By the time Rod arrived to announce Stevie's set, I was all a-tingle, and Stevie did not disappoint. I was watching through water, however, as the tears of absolute joy and happiness at seeing her perform solo overcame me... I am sad like that. What made me even more happy was that Grizz noticed and said he was so glad he had come to see just how joyful this had made me.
Grizz clapped and jiggled away - He has been brought up with Stevie's music from way back in the womb, after all. He found Rhiannon to be probably the most amazing thing and loved the band. He chose Landslide to sneak off and go and get us a drink, leaving me to wallow and watch through water again... A pint of cider helped me nicely to recover my senses and oddly reminded me of the cider lollies I used to enjoy when I was a little girl...
By 'Edge of Seventeen', I had lost the ability to see, so watery were my eyes, but the large screens and excellent sound (at least where we stood) did the business, and I waved Stevie off with a silent wish that she would return to the UK to perform solo again. What surprises me is that she doesn't think she has an audience for her solo stuff here in the UK, while her British fans know she could probably sell out the Albert Hall twice over...
What amazed me most of all was that Grizz also thoroughly enjoyed Rod's set - We stayed until half an hour before the end, so he got to see Ronnie Wood stagger enthusiastically onstage a whole song early, only to be shuffled off by Rod, 'so he could be properly announced!' - Magic.
Rod's band took the honours - A beautiful girl brass ensemble and perfect saxophone, teamed with blistering 'twin' drummers who were incredible, as were the guitarists and well, just everyone.
Rod's transition from soul song to blues just blew us all away and I never expected to hear him perform 'Handbags and Gladrags', which simply made the air in the Park crackle with electricity.
Stevie came back onstage for a rousing rendition of 'Young Turks'. I'm not sure that either of them get on together, but this duet was better than I had expected... Overall, I was more impressed than I ever believed I would be with Rod, who was admittedly cheesey but back to the height of his faculties, but the night remained Stevie's. I say night, but she performed in sunglasses on stage for the first time in her career -
This was the hottest day of the year in the UK so far, and the light was indeed blinding.
So were Stevie, Lori and Sharona. And the band played on...
I am so grateful to my gorgeous son for coming along with me in place of his dad, and making the weekend so magical. Love you Grizz!
p.s. the sound was much more wonderful than these clips show, I swear, but I am very grateful to some lovely people on Youtube, who have uploaded them <3
And to my countryman, David A. Stewart, for weaving magical musical webs that shimmer...