Review: Arcade Fire, Black Sabbath, The Libertines and McBusted at British Summer Time Hyde Park

PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:12 08 July 2014

Arcade Fire headlined the British Summer Time stage in Hyde Park

Arcade Fire headlined the British Summer Time stage in Hyde Park


The giants of rock, metal and pop descended upon the Royal Park to put on some of the most anticipated shows of the year.

Thursday July 3

After a somewhat safe and predictable performance from Jake Bugg, it seemed a group of Frank Sidebottom fans had rushed the stage for a faux-opener with oversized papier-mâché heads (it was the band’s fictional moniker ‘The Reflektors’, which has become a touring staple for Arcade Fire as of late).

Once removed, lead singer Win Butler in his best space cowboy getup conducted the veritable orchestra of instruments, ranging from glockenspiels to steel drums. Each band member seemed to pick up and play something new multiple times throughout each track, which made for a truly whimsical display of their talent.

Last week eager fans snapped up a leaked link to £2.50 tickets, which promoter AEG surprisingly honoured, so there was no excuse to come see one of the most consistently innovative and extensive back catalogues in recent years.

With the sun beating down on the hottest day of the year, and the Ray-Bans and ironic tees out in full force, you couldn’t help but throw your arms around the person next to you as the sprawling sounds of ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ and ‘No Cars Go’ made what could go down as one of Hyde Park’s most iconic gigs in the same vein as Rolling Stones double appearance last year.

Speaking of which, His Holiness Pope Francis must have seen the leaked deal, as he (in papier-mâché form) made a guest appearance shuffling along to Stones’ classic Sympathy For The Devil.

The band met the nearby Park Lane residents demand for an early curfew with an igniting call to ‘Wake Up’ everyone within the M25 with the final song of the same name, washing a wave of euphoria over the entire crowd who answered their call in kind.

Win began with: ‘For perhaps the last time, we’re Arcade Fire’.

I sure hope that was just the heat getting to him.

By Richard Wyatt

Friday July 4

Black Sabbath released their debut nearly 45 years ago, and to still be on stage, and, in Ozzy’s case, coherant, is a remarkable acheivement that was soured somewhat by the presence of sunlight, something of an antithesis to a band that draws on the darker side of human imagination for their music.

The bands tour staple ‘Black Sabbath’ samples a particularly thundering downpour, and as it began to play the rain displayed on the gigantic screens either side of the stage foretold an imminent darkening of the clouds. Ozzy’s voice sounded great on newer release ‘God Is Dead?’, which was written with his current range in mind, but he did struggle somewhat to maintain the energy through the groups earlier releases, heavily relying on audience interaction to help carry him.

Lead guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler played flawlessly, but even drummer Tommy Clufetos boundless energy struggled to fill the park in the face of an early curfew and a decibel restriction.

The godfathers of metal may have once been able to melt your face off, but they barely managed to melt my ice cream.

By Richard Wyatt

Saturday July 5

Four years away from the capital was plenty of time for the more than 60,000 revellers who turned up to get riled and ready to see the chaotic pairing of Carl Barat and Pete Doherty. From the start however, the band struggled to hold together a show beset with crowd problems.

A surge to the front had caused a crush, and by their second song, ‘Boys in the Band’, the music was cut in an effort to ease the situation, and it took repeated calls from Pete to ‘calm down’ before they carried on. Shortly after you could’ve mistaken Hyde Park for a South American football stadium, as flares of all colours were set off, piling plumes of smoke across the crowd.

The gaps in the set did give Pete a chance to namecheck his beloved Queen’s Park Rangers, and also pay tribute to the death of Gerry Conlon, who was wrongly imprisoned for the 1974 IRA Guildford pub bombings.

The band managed to get through most of their crowd-pleasing ctalogue, including The Delaney, Don’t Look Back Into the Sun and Can’t Stand Me Now saw some of the loudest reactions from the crowd over the entire weekend.

The nearby Park Lane residents were definitely not sleeping softly.

The band’s curtain call finished with a altogether jolly rendition of the Hokey Cokey, which laid rest to another chapter in the band’s turbulent history.

The band will now go on to play three nights at London’s Alexandra Palace on Friday September 26, Saturday September 27 and Sunday September 28.

By Richard Wyatt

Sunday July 6

I have always been a big fan of both Mcfly and Busted when I was younger so when I got the chance to see both of them headlining at British Summer Time in Hyde Park, I couldn’t have been more excited!

Dance group and Britain’s Got Talent winners, Diversity kicked off the day with an intensive performance, followed up cockney group Scouting for Girls, newcomers The Vamps, and legendary boy band, Backstreet Boys.

But the night really began when McBusted popped up on stage, singing a combination of all of their hits including Air Hostess, Year 3000, It’s All About You and Five Colours In Her Hair.

The six piece was not only great at performing, but were also really funny, so I couldn’t have asked for anymore from the night.

By Hayley Anderson

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