The Who in Hyde Park

So as I said Friday was a bucket list day for me. I finally got to see a band live who I’ve grown up listening to. Like most things your musical tastes start with what your parents listen to, then you find yourself adopting some of it into your own tastes. My love of 60’s and 70’s music comes from the records we listened to when I was young both at home and the many family parties we had.

But for years now I’ve been searching deeper into the bands for myself. The discussion on the train was ‘What’s your favourite The Who song?’ Always a tough one as normally my rule is I don’t do favourites, it feels like being unfaithful to all the other songs I like. But Friday morning I woke with Pinball Wizard in my head so maybe that was the favourite on Friday.

We rattled off numerous songs we liked and even sung a few bars to remind each other. Then we turned to the support acts of which there were many. The two we were aiming to see were Kaisercheifs and Paul Weller so we rattled off the songs we hoped they’d play.

I’ve been to concerts in Hyde Park before but this is the first time I’ve been since the British Summertime Presents people took over. I’m used to one stage with food and drink stalls around the outside.

This time there were 2 stages, a gourmet food area and stands around the outside built to look like New Orleans buildings which mostly housed pubs! There were also a few food vans lurking around. There was a carousel and a seating area attached to a crane which took people up in the air for what I imagine was a great view of the park. It was all so different to what I’m used to but I liked it, a full on festival vibe in the heart of London.

It was difficult to gauge what time we wanted to arrive. The doors opened at 2pm and there were acts on most of the time on one stage or another, but we decided to stick to seeing the bands we knew.

Finding a spot is always difficult, we got there about 5pm and the queues for the pubs were already quite long. People were pretty crammed in and finding a spot was not going to be easy as people were using every available space as a walkway. We finally managed to find a square to drop the blanket and split up to queue for the beer.

About 10 minutes later the first support act we saw on the main stage, the Kaisercheifs started. There was no introduction, the music just started and people were up and dancing. They played for about an hour to a mixed crowd, some people were enjoying it and others were just chatting away oblivious. They played the hits and a few people sung along but the music didn’t seem that loud over the talking around us and people zoned out.

After that there was a break before Paul Weller came on. We decided to use the time to get a bit of dinner so one of our group was sent off with money and waited to see what they came back with. As Paul began his second song we were greeted with the most amazing grilled cheese sandwiches ever. Who’d have thought it! We were betting on burgers and chips or fried chicken so the grilled cheese was a very welcome surprise. Although my newly diagnosed ‘fatty liver’ probably didn’t think so.

I didn’t ever envision myself dancing to That’s Entertainment and eating a grilled cheese sandwich in Hyde Park but that’s what I found myself doing. I’ve seen Paul Weller as a support act before and he didn’t do what I would call the hits but Friday he did. That’s Entertainment was supported by Miles Kane and he finished on Town Called Malice which very few people weren’t singing along too! What a warm up for the big event.

The Who came out and began playing I Can’t Explain so we knew straight away it was going to be a great night. In between songs they were trying to talk to the crowd but people were too busy having their own conversations and those of us that wanted to hear were struggling but it was just a small annoyance.

By the time they were announcing a few songs in that Paul Weller had requested the next song we were wondering what gem we would get next. Pictures of Lily has been a family favourite for a while and I couldn’t help but grab the camera. For me it wasn’t just about the song but also the reaction of the people I was with enjoying it. It’s nice to see people happy.

They played a few slower songs that I wasn’t really familiar with but all the big songs were there, with the exception of Magic Bus. My Dad asked me if they’d done that song and I think it was probably the only big hit they missed.

The run in to the big finale Pinball Wizard, See Me, Feel Me, Baba O’Riley and finally Won’t Get Fooled Again, not a bad message to leave on!

It was getting close to 10:15 when the concert finally ended, possibly the earliest I  have ever left a venue. People were expecting an encore which didn’t come but then we’d heard the songs we went there to hear so we can’t complain.

After a tiring day dancing in the park another bucket list item is ticked off. Days like that are what life is about, spending time with the people you love and having fun sharing interests.

Sometimes you just have to grab those days with both hands, because we never know how many of those opportunities we’ll get, and there is never a better time to do something than now!

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