With the headlining acts ably backed up by a stunning array of special guests that included Latino heroes Santana, Northern Soulster Richard Ashcroft, and disco duo Goldfrapp, there was something for everyone during the three day bash.
While most spectators languished in the London heat, others caught shade under the royal park’s trees, all the while being treated to music from a soundtrack that has defined the last five decades.
Kicking off on Friday evening (6th July 2018), following a well-received sets by bluesmiester Seasick Steve, Richard Ashcroft kick-started the event with a string of anthems from The Verve’s ‘Urban Hymns’ album, as well as highlights from his solo career. Taking exception to one mixed-up wag who repeatedly called out for ‘Wonderwall’, Ashcroft asserted his validity, proclaiming; “I wrote ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’, ‘Lucky Man’, ‘A Song For The Lovers” before berating the heckler.
Offering a protest of a very different kind, Roger Waters stunning opening night headline set drew heavily from another pair of iconic albums; in Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ and ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’.
With iconography lampooning American President Donald Trump, and stunning visuals that included a fully-fledged recreation of ‘Animals’ Battersea Power Station artwork, Waters’ set was the most visually arresting of the weekend.
Saturday (7th July 2018) may have offered a change of pace, but there was no let-up in the quality of the acts taking to the aptly-named Great Oak stage. With indie luminaries Editors, Goldfrapp and post-punk revivalists Interpol propping up the most diverse bill of the weekend, it was left to The Cure to pull off a career-defining set. Celebrating 40 years as a band, the Goth originators performed the ultimate fan-pleasing set.
Baking under the summer heat and living up to his gloomy persona, front man Robert Smith quipped; “I honestly can’t talk until the sun goes down. It’s taking all my energy”.
With England’s previous-day victory in the World Cup quarter finals adding to the electric atmosphere, it was left to Eric Clapton to close the weekend. Before that, Carlos Santana and band sent everyone “Santana bananas” during their percussive set, while Clapton’s former Blind Faith band mate Steve Winwood rattled through the classics, including perennial favourite ‘Gimmie Some Lovin’.
But it was Clapton’s perfectly placed Sunday (8th July 2018) spot that crowned the three-day sell-out. Understated in the evening sun, Slowhand’s relaxed set saw him tackle tracks from right across his career. Joining the guitarist, special guest Marcy Levy revved-up ‘Lay Down Sally’ and ‘The Core’ (both of which were co-written by the one-time Shakespeare’s Sister singer), before declaring; “We haven’t done this together since 1985 – it’s such a thrill!”
Mixing up the pace with a serene acoustic set that included highlights from his 1992 landmark ‘Unplugged’ album, the blues man then brought out Carlos Santana for a closing finale of ‘High Time We Went’. Taking his bows, attendees were left with a closing big screen message that read; “Thanks for coming – you were Wonderful Tonight”
Now in its sixth year, British Summer Time continues from 13th – 15th July, with Michael Buble, Bruno Mars, and Paul Simon headlining respective days. For more information, visit the OFFICIAL BST SITE.
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