Published July 16, 2012
Bruce Springsteen might’ve stared down a range of establishment foes in his day, but he and fellow rock icon Paul McCartney met their match in London this weekend.
After more than three hours of E Street fare at the Hard Rock Calling fest in Hyde Park, we listened as the fab duo knocked off a rousing “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Twist and Shout.”
Then, abruptly, there was no more “Shout” left.
The Saturday night concert had gone over its 10:30 p.m. curfew, and so the plug was pulled on a pairing that the New Jersey native said he had waited 50 years for.
There was no chance to say thanks or perform a reported encore song.
The immediate reaction of the crowd around us was first disbelief ... then (loud) booing.
Which was echoed by Bruce wingman and Soprano regular Steven Van Zandt when he later tweeted about the U.K. turning into a “police state.” In fact, though, the tony neighbors who have long been fighting the concerts in Hyde Park already had probably left their mark on the evening.
The audio level of the concert was decidedly below the ear-challenging standard the Boss and others are used to pumping out. The minimal (and sublime) version of "Thunder Road," which kicked off the night, probably was more in keeping with things.
Throw in torrential rain, which has plagued London during much of the summer, and you have a night that would have challenged the worthiest of rock stars. But Bruce rose to the occasion, showcasing songs from his latest release, “Wrecking Ball,” as well as a slew of old standards.
He was joined onstage by at one point by another Hard Rock headliner, Credence Clearwater Revival founder John Fogerty, who noted to the fans that he played Woodstock a few years back. Considering the absolutely muddy state of the park, he must’ve felt right at home.
Sunday’s starring act was Paul Simon doing a rousing set marking the 25th anniversary of the "Graceland" album. He might have learned a lesson, though, from the night before. One of his last encores was the appropriate "Sound of Silence,” from his Simon and Garfunkel days.
This performance ended well before curfew time.
By the way, there’s another American at scheduled for Tuesday night in Hyde Park: Madonna. Let’s see if the “Material Girl” gets her way!