Stars shine on The Queen at Jubilee concert

Jubilee Concert The Queen joined all of the night's performers on stage for the National Anthem

"I don't think she's a big pop music fan," said Sir Elton John, backstage at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert.

"I think she'll really like the opera singer, Alfie Boe. I think she'll like the pianist, Lang Lang. I don't know that she'll like us very much."

We may never know whether Her Majesty enjoyed the pop music played on the steps of Buckingham Palace on Monday. After all, she has had six decades to practice looking inscrutable.

But the monarch was visibly moved by the crowd's enthusiastic support for the Jubilee - and appeared close to tears when they broke into an impromptu chant of "Philip, Philip" for the Duke of Edinburgh, who had been taken to hospital earlier in the day.

The other members of the Royal Party were easier to read.

Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice danced in their seats to Jessie J; Prince Harry was rapt by Kylie Minogue's routine (and, perhaps, her outfit); and Prince William was spotted rocking out to Live And Let Die.

Jessie J and Jessie J and helped to kickstart the party atmosphere

The three-hour Jubilee Concert, organised by Take That's Gary Barlow, was a proper Royal knees-up.

It certainly put paid to memories of the terrifyingly awkward "Party At The Palace", held for the Golden Jubilee in 2002.

That show was marred by moments of cheese (Brian May on the roof) and inexplicable collaborations (Brian Wilson performing Good Vibrations with Atomic Kitten, anyone?)

Barlow's show was worlds apart. Slick, pacy and as well-drilled as the changing of the guard.

Robbie Williams got things off to a rousing start, embellishing Let Me Entertain You with military pomp, courtesy of the Guards Drummers and Trumpeters.

"Ain't nobody here going to do it like me," he chanted - a bold claim when he was being followed by the crown jewels of British rock and pop.

Sir Cliff Richard Sir Cliff Richard performed a medley of hits from across the six decades of the Queen's reign

The first half of the concert, held before the Queen took her seat, rattled through the noisier spectrum of chart pop, with Jessie J, and JLS whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

But Sir Cliff Richard was the first act to unite the audience in a singalong, with thousands of Union Jacks being swung in time to Congratulations - from the Royal Box down to the front row.

"Red, white and blue - it was stunningly fantastic," he said afterwards,

"And when I looked down The Mall, the crowd seemed to go all the way up to the Admiralty Arch.

"I don't know how many people that represents but it's got to be hundreds of thousands. It's very humbling."

Sir Cliff was first of a quartet of knights to play the concert and, by and large, they received the best reaction.

Sir Tom Jones prompted what the first ever mass flamenco dance on the steps of the Queen Victoria Memorial as he launched into Delilah.

Sir Elton John, still recovering from a respiratory infection, was nonetheless in fine voice as he gave a delicately soulful reading of Your Song.

And Sir Paul McCartney wrapped up proceedings with a jaunty crowd participation version of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

Other memorable moments included Annie Lennox's There Must Be An Angel, for which she sported a set of wings, and Grace Jones' hula-hooping her way through Slave To The Rhythm.

Kylie Minogue at the Jubilee Concert Kylie Minogue played a medley of her greatest hits

Alfie Boe and Renee Fleming also turned heads, performing West Side Story's Somewhere from the balcony of Buckingham Palace - a neat reference to Romeo and Juliet.

It wasn't just the music that impressed: A series of light projections beamed onto the walls of Buckingham Palace were spectacularly realised.

During Madness' Our House, the Palace was transformed into a row of terraced houses, with the windows and doors flipping open to reveal families dancing inside.

The concert's only awkward moment came when Stevie Wonder dedicated his song Happy Birthday to the Queen. Had he got mixed up between the Jubilee and a birthday party? Or was he getting his greetings in a little early for the Queen's official birthday in 12 days time?

Buckingham Palace The windows of Buckingham Palace went multi-coloured during Sir Elton's set

Or perhaps he was giving a nod to the Commonwealth - fans watching the show on TV in New Zealand had of course just celebrated their own public holiday, marking the Queen's official birthday there.

Backstage was like a Commonwealth of Pop, as the stars happily mingled with one another, swapping stories and posing for photographs.

Their conviviality spilled over to the audience, where no-one was jostling for position or pushing their way to the front.

"It's a really nice atmosphere," said Cheryl Cole. "It just feels really English and pleasant."

"It feels really friendly," agreed Kylie Minogue. "People seem really happy. Even though it's been raining on and off, it's not seemed to dampen anyone's spirits."

Cheryl Cole and Gary Barlow Gary Barlow and Cheryl Cole duetted on a cover of Lady Antebellum's Need You Now

On stage, the jokes were similarly good-natured - the Royal Box particularly enjoyed Lenny Henry's impression of Prince Charles.

And there was a wry smile when Jimmy Carr quipped that the Queen's 60-year-reign should serve as a warning that "you've got to plan for your future and you've got to get a pension.

"She's 86 and she's had to rent out her driveway to Gary Barlow!"

The highlight of the musical performances was undoubtedly the Jubilee Song, written by Sir Andrew-Lloyd Webber and Gary Barlow.

Opened by a 14-year-old soloist called Lydia, the simple, but emotive song packed a huge punch - particularly as the orchestra swelled for the finale.

The song saw musicians from across the Commonwealth take to the stage, including Kenya's Slum Drummers and the African Children's Choir.

"I can't believe myself. It's like I'm in heaven," said Joel, a percussionist with the band.

Asked who he would be watching on stage during the concert, Joel's answer was simple: "The Queen".

Sir Paul McCartney Sir Paul McCartney didn't play The Beatles' Her Majesty, as he had done for the Golden Jubilee in 2002

It was a sentiment shared by all of the night's performers, from the youngest wannabes to the most seasoned performers.

"What a fantastic job she's done," said Sir Paul McCartney. "She's a great example for Britain and she's a great family woman."

"She's stoic, she's brilliant, she's wise, she's funny. We're all very glad to be here," said Sir Elton John.

Rolf Harris was one of the few artists to speak directly to the Queen from the stage, calling her "a living testimony to the power of dedication, kindness, tolerance and loyalty."

"I hoped that I conveyed to the Queen everybody's intense love of her," he told the BBC afterwards.

"You could feel it welling up all around you."


Robbie Williams - Let Me Entertain You and Jessie J - I Gotta Feelin'

Jessie J - Domino

JLS - Everybody In Love / She Makes Me Wanna

Gary Barlow and Cheryl Cole - Need You Now

Cliff Richard - Medley, including Dynamite, The Young Ones, Devil Woman, We Don't Talk, Wired For Sound, The Millennium Prayer, Congratulations

Lang Lang - Hungarian Rhapsody #6, Rhapsody In Blue

Alfie Boe - O Sole Mio / It's Now Or Never

Jools Holland and Ruby Turner - You Are So Beautiful

Grace Jones - Slave To The Rhythm

Ed Sheeran - The A Team

Annie Lennox - The Must Be An Angel

Renee Fleming - Un Bel Di Vedremo

Tom Jones - Mama Told Me Not To Come / Delilah

Robbie Williams - Mack the Knife

Gary Barlow et al - Sing

Shirley Bassey - Diamonds Are Forever

Kylie Minogue - Medley, including Spinning Around, Can't Get You Out Of My Head, Step Back In Time, All The Lovers

Renee Fleming and Alfie Boe - Somewhere

Elton John - I'm Still Standing, Your Song, Crocodile Rock

Orchestra - Beautiful Day (instrumental)

Stevie Wonder - Sir Duke, Isn't She Lovely, Happy Birthday, Superstition

Madness - Our House / It Must Be Love

Paul McCartney - Magical Mystery Tour, All My Loving, Let It Be, Live And Let Die, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da

All performers - National Anthem


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  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Did the author of this article not do any research? Yesterday was the Queens official birthday. Sometimes I despair of the quality of research within the BBC. And even if it wasn't yesterday the monarchs official birthday is one of the weekends in June so wouldn't have been that far away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    I thought the concert was very good on the whole. Just a comment on some of the older performers:- Being a life long Beatles' and Paul McCartney fan, I am pained to watch him perform nowadays. He cannot hit the notes and should give up. Cliff was diabolical and, like Paul, cannot hit the high notes any more. Tom Jones was sensational and his voice is a strong as ever. The man is a God

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    As a Brit living abroad, I was disappointed that the Concert was not shown live on BBC World News, especially as several hours' live coverage were devoted to the Thames procession on Sunday. Even on the BBC iPlayer, it was only available in the UK.

    Can someone please tell me why?
    Along with the rain-drenched river pageantry, I would have loved to have seen the Party at the Palace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    "The concert's only awkward moment came when Stevie Wonder dedicated his song Happy Birthday to the Queen. Had no-one bothered to explain the difference between the Jubilee and a birthday party?"

    Do you not know that it IS the Queen's Official Birthday?? There's even a public holiday for it here in New Zealand.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Gary+backstage staff did a great job but were let down by awful performances from Cliff Richard and Paul McCartney-time to retire guys!!
    However, "The Voice"(Tom) is still a force to be reckoned with.
    Prince Charles's tribute to the Queen was very touching and the audience were terrific throughout the concert.
    This event and the Pageant on the Thames shows that Britain is still great.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    All in all a good concert.Some of the older stars did struggle somewhat but nevertheless,ok.Why the bleep Cole was there bob only knows,she can barely speak properly let alone sing.The technical special effects displayed on the Palace was superb.Some of the 'announcers' left a little to be desired but overall an excellent show.Here's hoping Prince Phillip gets well soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Thank you to Cheryl Cole for ruining my favourite song, it was absolutely cringeworthy. Also, who decided to cut Rolf off when the audience was clearly enjoying it? The show overran anyway, so the minute or two he would have taken to finish wouldn't have mattered a jot. Overall a watchable show, but the oldies need to think seriously about performing live in the future. My cat can do better.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Joseph F: The British Monarch does not rule, she reigns. She is also a net gain to the economy, which is more than most politicians can say.

    Mebbe you are an economic genius - I dunno - but you clearly don't know much about Constitutional Monarchy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Watched most of the concert. Thought Elton and Paul McCartney's voices were particularly ropey. Surprised that there was no representation of the fantastic rock acts that Britain has produced over the years. Many bands proudly fly the flag abroad but were overlooked for a range of pop or nostalgia acts....

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Fabulous concert. Who cares if some of the veterans have lost a bit of vocal power, it's wonderful to see them and hear their great songs. Highlights: the Jubilee song (beautiful), Robbie's entrance (pure joy), Grace Jones (what a song, what a singer), Tom Jones (still amazing), and Madness on the roof (priceless). Lowlight: Cheryl (why was she there?). Congratulations, a wonderful night.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Presumably you had a rest bite from school?

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Proud to be British.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Was there a problem with the performers' on stage sound system? Some singers were noticeably better in tune when playing acoustic instruments (piano), which they can hear directly, rather than when relying solely on the sound relayed to them via their earpieces.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Absolutely fantastic! I think Gary Barlow deserves a pat on the back!

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    A bladder infection must be a welcome rest bite from this tedium.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Will-I-Am ?? Why-is-He? And why can't Ms Cole sing? Otherwise, it was Madness for me!!! Fantastic!

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    I thought the concert was excellent. I am sure the atmosphere was amazing too. Gary Barlow did a great job and it made us feel proud watching such a magnificent event.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Actually we still hold a triple A rating.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    And while you brits waste money on having an unelected ruler, your credit rating fell another notch. Priorities: I have them, do you?


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