Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Hard Rock Calling 2009 - Day 2 - Neil Young

Saturday morning in London was a very hot one. But early in life we learn not to rely on British weather, don't we? So, we started making our way to Hyde Park quite early. Our goal was to catch the Pretenders. Because in my teens, Debbie Harry was my favourite blonde rock singer, but Chrissie Hynde was my favourite brunette.

I had a normal ticket this time, so we made our way to the normal entrance which was not too crowded today. There were lots more people sunning it out in the park though. After all, it was a Saturday morning!

The first thing we did when we entered was head straight for the bar, to get a beer! Yes, as I have already said, it was THAT hot!

As the last drops of our Tuborgs were being poured into our (plastic or paper - can't remember which) glasses we heard the first notes from the Pretenders coming from the stage. "Thank you for coming so early" Chrissie said, as they launched into a set of old favourites which also contained some new ones (the most notable being "Love's A Mystery" from their latest album at that time "Break Up The Concrete"). "Marry me, Chrissie" I said, after "Back On The Chain Gang", my favourite song of theirs.

After the Pretenders set was over there was now a lot of time to enjoy the "festival experience". We were walking around the grounds exploring all the facilities on offer. There was a stop to have a (paper) glass of Gaymers that was one of the festival sponsors. But Gaymers had also set up a "record shop" with lots of vinyl records on offer. What's more this also had a DJ who played songs and some people were dancing. Surprisingly, he even played Bruce Springsteen songs, surprisingly because he was due to appear on the following day. There was also time to check out the third stage, the "Bandstand".

After that we slowly gathered at the main stage where Ben Harper was just finishing his set. The "extremely hot Saturday morning" had now turned into an extremely overcast Saturday afternoon and it soon started raining. It looked serious, but gradually the rain went away and the weather was fine again by the end of the Fleet Foxes set.

Fleet Foxes were very good, but as I was looking through my files, I found out that I had no videos of them. What's more when I recently watched the Hard Rock Calling 2009 highlights TV broadcast there were neither clips nor interviews of the band either. Needless to say, there were very good and provided a nice warm up for Neil Young.

Finally it was time for Neil Young to come on stage. His latest album at that time was "Fork In The Road" (not bad) but he only played one song off it ("Get Behind The Wheel"). Instead he treated us to a "best of" set including songs from his solo career and several originally recorded with Crazy Horse. There was a super extended version of "Down By The River" and the biggest moment was the finale of the main set: "Rockin' In The Free World". Oh, and did I mention the sheer size of his amplifier?

But before he left, there was still one surprise in store for us: Paul McCartney came up on stage and together they performed "A Day In The Life" (There was a video of "A Day In The Life" on the DVD accompanying the deluxe version of "Fork In The Road" actually). The funny thing is that, I have attended Hard Rock Calling festival twice, and both times Paul McCartney has appeared on stage as a guest (In 2012 he performed with Bruce Springsteen).

And so it was on this note, after having seen one half of The (remaining) Beatles as a bonus that the 2nd day of Hard Rock Calling ended. The following day was the big day: Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band!

01. Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
02. Mansion On The Hill
03. Are You Ready For The Country?
04. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
05. Spirit Road
06. Words (Between The Lines Of Age)
07. Cinnamon Girl
08. Fuckin' Up
09. Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)
10. The Needle And The Damage Done
11. Comes A Time
12. Unknown Legend
13. Heart Of Gold
14. Old Man
15. Down By The River
16. Get Behind The Wheel
17. Rockin' In The Free World
18. A Day In The Life (with Paul McCartney)

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