The Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace to honour 60 glorious years of Queen Elizabeth II as Monarch.
Thousands gathered outside the Queen’s residence for the Diamond Jubilee Concert, organised by Take That frontman Gary Barlow and performed on the elegant jubilee stage, surrounding the Queen Victoria Memorial.
I was in The Mall, that was covered with blue, red and white Union Flags and outfits as far as the eye could see. Giant screens in St James’s Park and all along The Mall made it possible for thousands of fans to watch the concert steps away from the palace. One could move freely down the Mall and enjoy the show from a variety of screens, which I did.
Rays of descending sun added a finishing touch of glory to the hot party atmosphere that reigned over the star-studded show with the Queen as the guest of honour. Presenter Rob Brydon kept the crowds warm with his jokes.
The Jubilee Concert featured almost every music genre under the sun and became a true celebration of the six decades in music. It brought together a constellation of knighted music legends like Sir Tom Jones, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Elton John and Dame Shirley Bassey.
Celebrity performers on the night included Robbie Williams, who opened the show with Let Me Entertain You, backed by Cold Stream Guards, Kylie Minogue with Flawless, Annie Lennox wearing Angel wings, extravagant Grace Jones with hula hoops, Alfie Boe, Jools Holland, Jessie J, JLS, classical pianist Lang Lang, Ed Sheeran, Cheryl Cole, Stevie Wonder and pop veterans Madness, who brought the concert to finale with Our House on the roof of Buckingham Palace. The palace façade represented live canvas at that point with intricate 3Ddesigns created by lasers. It was a totally unforgettable spectacle, thanks to 600 technicians who worked on the show behind the scenes.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie could be seen on giant screens singing along to popular tunes.
The Queen, dressed in gold colour gown with crystals, arrived mid way through the concert. It was announced that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was unwell and had been taken to hospital. Crowds were chanting ‘Philip, Philip, Philip’.
One of the most magic moments of the concert was the premier of a new inspirational piece of music called Sing – the song of tribute to the Queen by distinguished composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and award winning song-writer Gary Barlow with over 200 people on stage.
The Jubilee anthem was performed by the Military Wives choir conducted by Gareth Malone and musicians from across the Commonwealth including the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Band, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Slum Drummers of Kenya and the African Children’s Choir. For one performance only the Commonwealth band came together and filled the hearts with hope and light with its beautiful singing to the video track, featuring special moments from the life of Her Majesty.
“You brought hope, you brought light
Conquered fear, it wasn’t always easy
Stood your ground, kept your faith
Don’t you see
Right now the world is listening to what we say
Sing it louder, sing it clearer
Knowing everyone will hear you
Make some noise, find your voice tonight
Sing it stronger, sing together
Make this moment last forever
Old and young
Shouting love tonight”
The proceedings were closed by Her Majesty the Queen, lighting the national beacon outside Buckingham Palace. Spectacular extended fireworks marked the end of the Diamond Jubilee Concert at 10:30pm.
14.7 million people tuned into the BBC’s coverage of the concert on Monday night. It was totally overwhelming to celebrate the Queen, the country and the Commonwealth with thousands of well wishers in the Mall to crème de la crème of the music world.
News and photos by Eugenie Absalom