Hard Rock – Bruce cut short, Paul too quiet

August 2012

Live events industry


Fans have complained after Bruce Springsteen’s set at Hyde Park was cut short – well – cut anyway, after the boss overran the pre-agreed Curfew. The singer had just dueted with Sir Paul McCartney, and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt took to the net with a rant after the power was cut, saying Springsteen wanted to sing one more song, saying  “One of the greatest gigs ever in my opinion. But seriously, when did England become a police state?”. Admitting “We break curfews in every country but only English cops needs to ‘punish us’ by not letting us leave until the entire crowd goes” he sort of explained “Is there just too much fun in the world? We would have been off by eleven if we’d done one more. On a Saturday night! Who were we disturbing?” The answers to that are probably (a) the Police didn’t cut your set and (b) you are disturbing some rather well organised and vocal neighbours and (c) why not go on earlier – if you know you have a long set?

Nevertheless Van Zandt continued: “The cops got nothing more important to do? How about they go catch some criminals instead of fucking with 80,000 people having a good time? English cops may be the only individuals left on Earth that wouldn’t want to hear one more from Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney!” [again I think it may well be local residents and the licensing Authority who are more pissed off than ‘cops’] and Van Zandt added somewhat randomly “If it’s a public transport issue, I’m sorry but people are adult enough to go get a train if they need to without the cops pulling the plug!” A number of local residents who say they are routinely disturbed by the big Hyde Park gigs have been lobbying Westminster Council to cut back the number of shows that take place there. However, Westminster Council insisted yesterday that it was a Live Nation decision to end the Springsteen show when it did, in order to comply with its licence. Van Zandt did say that the cut off “didn’t ruin the great night”, but “when I’m jamming with McCartney don’t bug me!” Audience members who attended the final Sunday night edition of Hard Rock Calling, headlined by Paul Simon, complained that the sound at the show was too quiet, potentially again because of licence worries . Mayor of London Boris Johnson described the Springsteen decision as an “excessively efficacious decision” and Van Zandt later apologised to the Metropolitan Police.

Live Nation COO Paul Latham later explained the decision, that having been told last minute that McCartney would join Springsteen for a couple of songs, the boss still seemed keen to carry on even longer  and said  “For the last twelve months we have been fighting the good fight with the local authority and their licensing teams to retain the ability to stage concerts in Hyde Park. The current licences were granted on very strict noise restrictions, traffic plans and curfews with the ‘sword of Damocles’ hanging over any future events if we broke any of the conditions. Suffice to say the residents of Park Lane and Mayfair may not be numerous but they wield inordinate power over the Gogs and Magogs of City Hall and Parliament” saying the event had been truly memorable and the Boss wasn’t that upset and “being thrown off the stage added legend to the myth”!

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