Hard Luck for Fans as Concert Staff Pull Plug on Rock Legends; MICROPHONES SWITCHED OFF AFTER PAIR PLAYED TOO LONG

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 16, 2012 | Go to article overview
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Hard Luck for Fans as Concert Staff Pull Plug on Rock Legends; MICROPHONES SWITCHED OFF AFTER PAIR PLAYED TOO LONG


Byline: RACHAEL MISSTEAR

AS BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and Sir Paul McCartney took to the stage together, it had salivating music fans anticipating "a slice of rock history".

But in a decidedly un-rock 'n' roll twist, the music icons had their microphones switched off when the pair over-ran at a concert in London's Hyde Park.

Last night, Welsh musicians on the festival's bill joined the critics of overzealous staff who pulled the plug on the keenly-anticipated Hard Rock Calling on Saturday night.

The three-day festival which saw Cardiff band Kids In Glass Houses rock the crowd on Friday, drew to a close last night. The previous night's debacle caused a stir among fans and performers alike, who criticised organisers for their lack of respect for the world renowned performers.

Sir Paul had joined Springsteen on stage at the end of the singer's headline slot in Hyde Park, London, but both stars found their microphones cut off before they could address the crowds.

Springsteen, known for his long performances, had been playing for more than three hours and had exceeded the sound curfew by half an hour.

It has led to criticism the move was one which painted the British as "stuffy jobsworths," with little respect for the artists.

The US singer greeted Sir Paul saying "I've been waiting for this for 50 years", according to members of the audience.

But after singing two Beatles hits both performers were forced to leave the stage in silence after their sound equipment was turned off - leaving them even unable to thank the audience.

The three-day event has a nightly noise curfew imposed at 10.30pm and Springsteen, who had been playing with his E Street Band, was due to play only from 7pm until 10.15pm.

Last night Kids In Glass Houses frontman Aled Phillips, 26, said cutting the pair off was pointless and disrespectful.

"It was shocking, and frankly I think it was a bit of an insult to two worldwide music legends," he said.

"I know Bruce Springsteen is renowned for running over time.

"I think he ran over at Glastonbury but he was happy to pay the fine to run over.

"It's just very sad that so many people had paid to watch the gig and Bruce was ultimately giving them value for money. It was such a special union for two legends to be on stage together at such a setting. It was a piece of music history.

"Pulling the plug on them is a sad reflection of how stuffy we can be here in Britain and it's all a little embarrassing."

However, the abrupt finish wasn't too far from the band's own experience headlining Surrey's GuilFest - just hours after appearing at Hyde Park on Friday.

"We played at Hyde Park at about 4pm on Friday and although it was raining the crowd were really warm. It was such an honour to tread the same boards as those two greats at Hyde Park.

"We later played at the Guil-Fest and we ran over by five minutes and were threatened with being turned off. It does dampen the spirits and I think there needs to be some flexibility with such strict protocol."

According to Westminster Council, the decision to end the concert was made by its organisers and not local authorities.

"Concert organisers, not the council, ended the concert in Hyde Park to comply with their licence," said Leith Penny,Westminster Council's strategic director for city management.

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