Thursday, September 12, 2013

July 6th 2013

There were no souvenirs the last time The Rolling Stones played Hyde Park, just our memories of that sunny summer afternoon forty four years ago - Mick wearing a white dress, the excitement of being out in the open with others also rejecting the old authority, white butterflies, flamboyantly, extravagantly dressed people, seeing our soundtrack live at the centre of the Empire - the counter culture at play.
I came up from the suburbs as a seventeen year old schoolgirl, jumped a train to see The Great Rock Band, who after the death of Brian Jones were playing to confirm the life force.
I was one of a quarter of a million people floating under the trees that day, the odd one out in my milieu, here I was home safe. There were no fences, barricades or merchandising, security was only to protect the band. We talked to strangers, we smoked some weed, we knew the lyrics but were far too cool to sing them out loud even though they were anthems already.
I don't remember the play list just that it was a life changing day, one of the best, most spontaneous days that London has ever produced. I went away feeling that I'd been initiated into something very large, a tribe, a life underground.
My partner of the last twelve years, Eddie Mosdell, was there on that day in 1969, we didn't know each other then even though we lived a few miles apart, so July 6th was a big memory day for both of us.
A lot of time passed, the concert in the park became a distant memory, in 2013 the barricades were up, security wore black, we were searched, there was no shade and it was ferociously hot, the sponsors had some truly awful advertising and directionless performance artists wandering about.
But we'd come to see The Stones and none of it mattered when they fired up, some of their best work was written in the intervening forty four years, they'd moved into much deeper territory and they played it all, it was heartfelt, it was a thread through a lot of lives.
"Wind me up and I'll never stop, never stop" was what he sang and that's what he did - he danced, he pranced, he sang, he gave us the life force rock and roll style for two hours. The show never flagged, their performances were seamlessly fluid, the lyrics were resonant, they gave us a piece of themselves and they were joyful doing it, different to the moody posing of their earlier style.
Paint it Black was deeply, purple black and menacing, lyrics from another century when information was what you heard on the street. The long version of Midnight Rambler was goose flesh erotic and felt like entering a trance state with the band, Satisfaction and Brown Sugar were nearly as good. There were many musical allusions layered on top of each other, Eastern, Gypsy, American South, all rolled into London.
The overriding memory of those hours was the driving force of the lyrics, of just how much of an enigma the individual band members and their relationship with each other are. Mick has said that he could have done something else with his life, that you don't need to be intelligent to be a rock star.
I disagree, the power of an intelligent band performing music with multi layered inflections and timeless lyrics, played for several generations to go wild over is a great gift to have, and to give.
The day made me feel young again, a big shot of the life force, they deserved the glory
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