Hyde Park Calling 2007 @ Hyde Park, London
23rd June 2007
The day had finally arrived and Hyde Park Calling’s all rock fans to central London’s premier outdoor gig venue for a full day of all out classic rock guitar assault. My expectations for the day were sky high, with a stellar lineup of acts new and old. So upon arrival not even the great British summertime weather of dark clouds and drizzle could dampen my spirits. The site was the same size as your usual Hyde Park setup, only with 2 extra “very small” 2000 capacity tents at either end of the main arena.
After scouting the 3 stages I settled upon the main stage and Micki Free Electric Blues Experience after a non-inspiring mix of classic rock and Americana I was about to grab lunch when the opening reverb riff of voodoo child rung loud in my ears. After a decent Jimi rendition another dive for food was interrupted by another unmistakable riff, Zeps Rock and Roll.
After finally tucking into lunch I moved over to the 2nd stage and a band I’d checked out previously Black Stone Cherry. Sadly with the amount of flyers for these guys lining the floors they had generated a huge hype-buzz around their show, which displayed itself by way of a queue to even get into the tent!! After a short wait I got in, and was treated to a great hard rock band riffing the ass off the crowd who were clearly loving it!
Huge guitars and urgency of a young band whose going places, shame I was at the back really. They closed the set with lo and behold another voodoo child cover, (seems as if Jimi was the order of the day). This one however easily outstripped the first as they transformed it into a thumping dirty Deep South blues jam! When both guitarists play the guitar solo in perfect harmony with their axes behind their heads, you know they are damn good! Finishing with the drummer balancing atop of his kit hitting the bass guitar sums up the band, loud aggressive, and they don’t care whose ears are bleeding at their hands, because they rock and rock hard!
The Answer were next up on the main stage so after settling in pretty close I actually saw what they look like in the daytime. Again their classic rock mix of riffs and huge choruses was a treat to behold. The crowds were rather enthusiastic for early in the day and why not for this awesome band. I was rather let down because of the awesome time I had in Holborn. But they were still great, throwing in a workhorse performance which must have grown their fan base fourfold.
Here came the big decision,
Do I stay for Jet and run the risk of not getting into the tiny tent for Satch, considering the size of the queue for Black Stone Cherry?
I did in fact, sacrifice seeing Jet for the sake of Satriani. After getting to the tent (and out of the rain) I was happy, even though I probably could have turned up a lot later. Still I wasn’t gonna take the risk, I stood and endured Fastway
Fastway are a stereotypical 80’s British metal band a la Whitesnake, only without a single decent song. This dragged massively and I started to regret my decision not to see Jet! The only saving grace was watching a true British metal legend, ‘Fast Eddie’ of Motorhead fame on lead guitar.
Next were a band I’d seen previously in the Mean Fiddler and so wasn’t hopeful of a spectacular show. How wrong I was, Rose Hill Drive had clearly tightened up their material vastly and the songs had real catch-a-ability. The vocals of the bassist were clear and melded well with the thumping guitars. The blues riffage on show was not only impossibly loud, but so damn catchy. Impressively for blues riffs they didn’t drag at all and each track morphed 3 times into whole new beasts of rock and roll.
Rose Hill Drive
The lead guitarist was yet again doing his best “cousin IT” impression, but you can’t blame him when he’s playing some of the most innovative rhythm and impressive solos of the day! The all out rocking prog blues-outs were a pleasure to behold, even if I lost all hearing for a good 10 mins after the set closed. I can’t stress how much you need to see this band live, they are a totally different monster to their studio records… they were clearly born for the stage!!
My decision to get here early turned good as I got within 15 feet of the stage, anticipation in the tent is now fever pitch as chants of “Joe, Joe, Joe” rung round the tent! Joe Satriani appeared to a tremendous roar from the crowd, Flying in a blue dream ringing from his custom Ibanez. Joe in his customary shades displays exactly why he is such a great guitarist, blazing a trail across the fret board at breakneck speeds. Technically this was an absolute masterpiece, his energy onstage is abundant and the crazy soloing faces he pulls are a joy to behold.
If I could have chosen the set list, I would have picked exactly what he did, newer treasures such as Super Colossal & Crowd Chant, stood up to the classic’s of Surfing With The Alien and Satch Boogie not forgetting the greatest instrumental song ever Summer Song. The tent was more a temple for this performance as the crowd worshipped St. Joe with all eyes falling upon the unrelenting talent of this guitar legend! Simply one of the most amazing Hours of my life, Amen.
After an already amazing day, there was still more to come. Aerosmith took to the stage 20 minutes late to the irritation of the rather agitated and damp crowd. Still once into full swing all was forgiven pretty rapidly. Steve Tyler has to be one of the great front men of rock. His calculated screams and cracked vocals are brilliant all the while he’s bounding across the stage with his trademark ribboned mic stand. As guitarists are the flavour of the day I can’t help but mention Joe Perry and his classic blues riffs with each song was driven along by the crunch of his guitar. Regressing to their bluesy roots Perry and Tyler jammed through tracks from their latest Honkin’ on Bobo album to uplifting effect.
The balladry they have perfected over the years was soon to follow with a stirring version of the first the notable rock-ballad Dream On, the girly charms of I don’t want to miss a thing (Oh! Raj where art thou..) and the sheer brilliance of Cryin. As much as they are tuned towards the ballads, they make a damn fine pop tune too, Livin on the Edge, Jaded, and their signature tune Sweet Emotion all sparking massive crowd vocals.
The lateness of their arrival showed with a single song encore and the early Sunday finishing time of 10:30 didn’t help matters. They missed loads of my fav songs but with the back catalogue the size of theirs that was expected. Just a good thing that they chose Walk This Way to close the night, showing the girl popsters where they went wrong with that awful cover version. It was great and topping that, D.M.C. made a guest appearance rapping alongside the demon of screamin’.
The day was simply one of greatness and I will remember it forever as a monster day of the best rock and roll has to offer!!