Poor Nile. Quarter of the way into the Chic set the sound went. Completely. The band played on as the audience started to holler: ‘We can’t hear you!’ How it took almost half an hour for the technical wizards to click something wasn’t working is a mystery. This was after all Hyde Park, central London with some of the biggest stars around strutting their stuff on the hottest day of the year so far.
‘I’ve been doin’ this for 30 years now’ said Nile, ‘and this has never happened before; the amps have blown because of the heat! We’ve wished for this day forever… but bring back the rain!’
Only in England: The summer equivalent of leaves on the line or the wrong kind of snow. ‘And, at the most important part of the show when we play you all the hits’ he continued. Finally, the crowd roared as Chic took off again, with sound, and let rip into ‘Thinking of you’ the unforgettable guitar riffs and melody of one of Niles’ biggest hits for Sister Sledge, and yours truly’s personal favourite. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imDRuohXdRE
‘Oh wow! We love playin’ for you guys so much – it’s killin’ us!’ Nile exclaimed before breaking into ‘Let’s Dance’. Who even remembered that he wrote that for Bowie? He finished off with Good Times (his favourite) with a bit of Rapper’s Delight mixed into the middle and encored with Le Freak.
We went for some refreshment in this sunhat wearing scorcher of a day. ‘I’ll be over by the Cubans’ I said to my cuz.
I got chatting to a couple of girls from Romford next to the Float stage, and asked for a cigarette. ‘What are these? I never saw them before.’ I said, looking at the silver packet. ‘Oh, they’re cheap – we’re from Essex you know. Where you from?’ ‘Maida Vale’ I said. ‘Mayfair?!!!! That’s posh innit!’ ‘No! Not, Mayfair – Maida Vale!’ I repeated. ‘Where’s that then?’ ‘Well, it’s sort of near Kilburn’. ‘Oh yeah, I know. My Dad used to live in Kilburn – then he got a job’. I cracked up laughing as they headed off with handbags and lashes to search for more amusement elsewhere.
I looked up to see Miguel introduce the new ‘suits’. Archerio catwalked out, sporting a bright turquoise number with yellow tassles down the side. What a dazzler it was. Kengo San joined him in an equally vibrant bright red ensemble with white tassles, but Archerio stole the spotlight: Was he strutting, was he pouting? Was that a Zoolander pose? It was his moment and he knew it.
J Lo followed on the Great Oak stage but it was a hard act to follow. All tight bodysuits, hair, tanned and surrounded by buff dancers with the wind machine turned up to 11, she did little to hide her most famous asset and gave the guy standing next to me plenty of opportunity for some close up shots of her derriere.
Two haloumi sandwiches later, the main act appeared: Lionel. What a pro. Sweating profusely due to what looked like a complete outfit made of leather and python, he wiped his face with a towel after singing each one, then slammed it down on top of the grand piano before he cruised through the next. From ‘Still’ to ‘All Night Long’ he had everyone singing.
‘Good day’ my cuz said, as we turned to leave. Yep. A walk in the park.