Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney silenced by Hyde Park music chiefs
Story by Jack Foley
BRUCE Springsteen and Paul McCartney found themselves prematurely silenced by concert officials on Saturday (July 14, 2012) when their Hyde Park Hard Rock Calling gig over-ran.
The iconic duo had been boisterously performing renditions of The Beatles’ I Saw Her Standing There and Twist and Shout when concert chiefs pulled the plug early.
Their microphones were turned off before they’d had chance to thank the crowd.
The performance had formed the finale of Springsteen’s three-hour Hard Rock Calling show and was meant as a crowd-pleasing surprise when Sir Paul joined The Boss on stage.
But because Springsteen had exceeded the time limit for the event, the show’s organisers decided to call a premature halt.
The move infuriated Springsteen’s guitarist and E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt so much that he took to Twitter to accuse “English cops” of preventing “80,000 people having a good time”.
“When did England become a police state?” he asked. “English cops may be the only individuals left on earth that wouldn’t want to hear one more from Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney!”
In a statement issued to the BBC in the wake of the incident, Westminster Council looked to distance themselves from the decision by insisting that the decision to end the concert was made by its organisers and not local authorities.
“Concert organisers, not the council, ended last night’s concert in Hyde Park to comply with their licence,” said Leith Penny, Westminster Council’s strategic director for city management. “Licences are granted until certain times – in this case 22:30 BST – to protect residents in the area from noise late at night.”
A statement on the Hard Rock Calling website by the Live Nation company said it was “unfortunate” that the “three hour plus” performance had been “stopped right at the very end”.
But it continued: “The curfew is laid down by the authorities in the interest of the public’s health and safety. Road closures around Hyde Park are put in place at specific times to make sure everyone can exit the area safely.”
In spite of the last minute hitch, however, Springsteen’s performance has been hailed as a classic, with The Boss belting out a medley of famous hits and lesser known numbers to the delight of fans.
Indeed, Springsteen delighted one loyal fan who displayed a banner urging him to play a lesser known track, Take ‘Em As They Come, by playing it in full.
This year’s Hard Rock Calling event was kicked off by Soundgarden on Friday night and concludes with Paul Simon tonight (Sunday).