Greetings strangers! First off- sorry for not having written for a while now. Things have picked up at work and I’ve been busy moving flat- but that’s neither here nor there.
This weekend London’s Hyde Park welcomed some seriously big acts across 3.5 stages and over three days. The first day had a decidedly “pop” emphasis with Pink headlining with what was said to be a catastrophic set of lip-syncing. With any luck the Temper Trap at least made those in attendance not feel completely ripped off. The second day featured a blend of hip-hop and electronic/dance music with sets from New Young Pony Club, DJ Shadow, Missy, Snoop, LCD Soundsystem and some of Crockstar’s personal favorite mash-up bangers: 2manyDJs.
As finances were tight, the Crockstar crew decided to roll out for the third day only and Jay-Z alone would have made the sticker shock subside.
Image via: Barclaycard Wireless Festival
Although we missed out on some of the pre-event favourites (Chiddy Bang and J. Cole) due to a bit of a ticket mishap we were treated to a raucous welcome from no less than Wale (and may have even got daps from the D.C. native). Wale performed a set of relatively lesser-hyped anthems and dropped some extremely fresh new tracks including a new take on Sam Sparro’s Black & Gold (henny for my… champagne for my HOs) which worked the crowd into a frenzy. He also dropped some new lyrics onto Justice’s D.A.N.C.E. and finished the set strong by trying to perform in the middle of the raucous audience
Other bangers included in the set: Pretty Girls, 90210, Chillin and one of the tightest freestyle’s you’ll ever hear.
Overall verdict: Wale didn’t dissappoint, got involved with the crowd, missing some of the heat off the mixtapes, but plenty of mainstream hits.
After Wale we headed over to check out the Nicole Farhi x UGGs fashion show over by the bandstand. We were able to catch snippets of just about all of the other acts but were most impressed with the show so stuck around there for a minute.
After the show we devoted our full attention to Slash, Friendly Fires and Lily Allen. They were all moderately impressive but it didn’t really seem appropriate for these acts to take to the main stage at a largely hip hop show. Slash and a convincing Axl Rose impersonator took to the stage and seemed surprised as the teenagers walked away from the stage clearly not recognizing this legend of rock (except for a few who may have played as him in rock band). We weren’t surprised to see folks a little underwhelmed with the performance as Slash really didn’t belong on the bill. Needless to say, we are happy to report that your man can still absolutely shred and was playing boisterous solos behind his back to favourites from his golden years with Guns ‘n’ Roses to the remaining fan’s delight.
Lily Allen and Friendly Fires were largely unimpressive. Despite throwing some serious moves on the dance floor the lead singer from the Friendly Fires came across as a bit of whingy little thing after public airing his displeasure that Slash had cut into his set with all of his “noodling”.
Lily stuck to her strengths and warmed up the crowd adequately for the main act. She drew attention to her boyfriend, played to her fanbase (read: young women) and thankfully also drew attention to what was clearly the ugliest trend of yesterday: idiotic and immature young men throwing bottles (at least partially full) into the crowd whilst young ladies got taken into first aid by the tens noses bloodied, unconscious or sobbing. It was really quite a despicable site and Allen was too right to draw attention to it.
Finally, after a long and dusty day filled with allergies and projectiles the (not-so) Young Hova himself took to the stage and performed one of the most impressive gigs we have ever witnessed. Jay-Z busted out all the favourites old and new and talked about London being his second home before a sing-along version of “Empire State of Mind.” Every song you can possibly imagine whether it be from middle school dances, The Black Album, collabos with Linkin Park or bangers off the Blueprint 3 he played either in total or in part and the fans ate up every minute of it.
Jay performed almost every song with assitance from another hip hop legend (Memphis Bleek) and received support from Mr. Hudson on “Young Forever” and from J. Cole on “A Star is Born”.
Jay-Z was humble both towards other legends of hip hop both dead and alive as well as towards the fans. As time began running thin he unleashed samples of all of the favourites deciding to continue based upon the crowds reactions to the songs. This mash-up included “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Girls, Girls, Girls” and other hits from the past.
Songs included in the set:
99 Problems, Dirt off Your Shoulder, Hard Knock Life, On to the Next One, Empire State of Mind, Young Forever, A Star is Born, Jockin’ Jay-Z, D.O.A., Public Service Announcement, Izzo (H.O.V.A.), Thank You, Big Pimpin, Jigga What, Show me What You Got, Can I Get A…, and ended with everyone’s favourite version of Encore (with the LP beats) and lord only knows what else.
If ever there was a set to get tens of thousands of people to their feet (including Beyonce, Madonna, Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Winehouse, Jenson Button & Lewish Hamilton) with their diamonds in the sky, this was undoubtedly the one.
Final verdict: Top of the charts.