Yes featuring Anderson, Wakeman and Rabin, The Scorpions and Megadeth have topped the bill at this years' Stone Free Festival in London, with a musical display that marked out the 2018 event as the best yet. Taking place at the capital's O2 Arena from 16th-17th June, this year marked the third outing for the growing festival.
Returning to its two-day format following a scaling down to a one-day event in 2017, the likes of Supertramp's Roger Hodgson, The Winery Dogs' Richie Kotzen, and Detroit garage rockers Warrior Soul filled out the bill across the venue's multiple stages. With spoken word, acoustic acts, and even comedy sets, Stone Free offered something for everyone. Complemented by a record fair and craft stalls, the music however, rightly took centre stage.
Following a well-received set by Buckcherry in the main arena, it was Big Four titans Megadeth who kick-started a masterclass of entertainment on Saturday night. Mixing up their set to cover classics from often-overlooked debut 'Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good', band leader Dave Mustaine admitted that the band's European jaunt had all been leading up to Stone Free. Said Mustaine; "We were looking forward to this show so much. This whole tour has been predicated to this". Going on to play some hidden treasures from across their career including a pulverising 'Rattlehead' and majestic 'The Conjuring', their's was a set for the die-hards as well as the casual fan.
Sticking to the classics, The Scorpions brought the bombast with their only U.K. show of the year. Taking to the stage with the retirement-referencing 'Going Out With A Bang', singer Klaus Meine said; "Good to see you London. It's great to be back in the U.K.!" Weaving their way through their fifty year career, the German band brought the house down with tracks such as 'Is There Anybody There' and inevitable closer 'Rock You Like A Hurricane'.
Taking a more sobering approach, Sunday's line-up focused on progressive rock. Thundering through a hits-laden set, the outwardly emotional, U.S. based Roger Hodgson confessed; "I always get very emotional when I come back home - it always tugs at my heartstrings".
It was left to Yes to close events, and celebrating five decades of 'Quintessential Yes', the Jon Anderson-fronted version of the band pulled out all the stops to ensure that Stone Free 2018 would be one to remember. Buoyed on by his mic-stand mounted lion mascot, Anderson, along with Wakeman, Rabin and band's roaring set proved the perfect way to end the weekend.
Greeting the crowd, Anderson said; "It's great to be here", before going on to introduce some of the finest rock anthems ever recorded. Focusing heavily on their pop-era classic '90125' with the opening 'Cinema' as well as 'Hold On' and the Rabin-fronted 'Changes', the maestros also dipped heavily into their seventies' catalogue. Bringing the evening, and the event to an end with a celebratory 'Roundabout', Yes took their bows on what had been a spectacular evening.
Stone Free festival is expected to return in 2019.
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