From associatedcontent .com
On Sunday, July 1, 2007 at 3:00 p.m., England’s Princes William and Harry held a very eclectic concert in honor of their mother, on what would have been her 46th birthday. The artist line-up for the concert was organized by the princes to represent Princess Diana’s life and loves and also included a few of William and Harry’s favorites. According to The New York Times, the concert tickets cost £45, or $90 and all proceeds are being donated to Princess Diana’s favorite charities, as well as the ones that both Princes William and Harry participate in. In Prince William’s own words, spoken to the audience at the concert introduction, “This evening is about all that my mother loved in life: her music, her dance, her charities, and her family and friends.” Earlier Princes William and Harry told the BBC in an interview that they had hoped to, and certainly seceded in, organizing a joyful event to celebrate the memory of their mother. As the years are passing by it seems that people are only bringing up and remembering the bad things about their mother and seemingly forgetting the good. Prince William told the BBC that giving a concert in memory of her seems like the perfect way to remember her. He also stated that they “wanted to represent exactly what our mother was” and they wanted the concert to be full of energy and happiness and be something that she would have loved. Princes William and Harry certainly succeeded in creating their happy, yet also poignant concert.
According to The New York Times, the eclectic concert mixed pop, rock, hip hop, classical ballet, and songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s plays. Some of the artists that represented Princess Diana’s joys were her friend Elton John, her very favorite band Duran Duran, an excerpt from “Swan Lake” danced by the English National Ballet, and songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s plays “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Cats,” and “Phantom of the Opera.”
The concert was held under the glass dome of London’s Wembley Stadium, England’s largest stadium and, according BBC Radio 2, was attended by an audience of about 62,000. Ironically, while the rest of the week had been very wet and rainy, the afternoon sun shone down on Wembley Stadium for the concert. When BBC Radio 2 asked Prince William how they had arranged for the sunny day, he jokingly replied, “We had a word.” Prince William also restated the purpose for the concert as being “a chance for everyone to remember her (Princess Diana) in a fun way.”
Some of the highlights are listed below:
The concert opened with Princes Diana’s good friend Elton John singing “Your Song,” which made the US Top Ten when it was released in 1970. The song was well chosen and reflected his thoughts of his good friend in the lyrics “how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.” The song even turned out to be an ironic choice considering that it also contains the lyrics “the sun’s been quite kind while I wrote this song” and that the sun beamed down on Wembley Stadium during the concert after days of rain.
Princes William and Harry gave their warm introduction after Elton John sang the opening song and then were immediately followed by Princess Diana’s very favorite band Duran Duran. Duran Duran opened with “Sunrise,” a hit single from their album Astronaut, released in 1985. “Sunrise” was another very appropriate song to dedicate to the concert because in the lyrics it speaks of music and change being born out of darkness:
“Now the time has come
The music’s between us
Though the night seems young
Is at an end
Only change will bring
You out of the darkness
In this moment everything is born again
Reach up for the sunrise
Put your hands into the big sky
You can touch the sunrise
Feel the new day enter your life”
Duran Duran also dedicated the song “Rio” to Princess Diana, a Top 20 hit in both the UK and America when it was released in 1982 and 1983 respectively. “Rio” was well chosen to symbolize Princess Diana in her love of dancing, dancing spirit, and shining personality in the lyrics:
“Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand
Just like that river twisting through a dusty land
And when she shines she really shows you all she can
Oh Rio, Rio dance across the Rio Grande”
British singer James Morrison followed Duran Duran and performed his newly released “Wonderful World” from his debut album released in 2006. “Wonderful World” has very poignant lyrics and was well chosen, probably to express the feelings of Princes William and Harry, as well of others who miss Princess Diana, with its lyrics:
James Morrison followed and contributed Wonderful World
“And I know that it’s a wonderful world
But I can’t feel it right now
Well I thought that I was doing well
But I just want to cry now
Well I know that it’s a wonderful world
From the sky down to the sea
But I can only see it when you’re here, here with me”
BBC Radio 2 interviewed James Morrison before he went on stage to perform and asked the very witty question, “Millions of people will be listening to you today…who have never heard you perform live before, are you any good?” James Morrison gave the very comfortable and dubious response, “Mmm…yeah…yeah. I can do live.”
The English National Ballet’s performed excerpt from “Swan Lake” proved to be a real crowd pleaser. The audience received it very well, and after the performance they told BBC Radio 2 that they were glad the audience enjoyed it so much.
Before the end of Act One, Anastasia who has sold over 12 million records world wide did a bang up job singing the theme song from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar,” getting the audience to sing a long. Sarah Brightman did a characteristic lovely performance of “Memories” from “Cats” and also sang a beautiful duet of “All I Ask of You” from “Phantom of the Opera” with Josh Groban. Josh Groban also sang “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera.” Donny Osmond, Jason Donovan, and Lee Mead (the three wise Josephs) also sang “Any Dream Will Do” from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” along with the Cambridge boys.
After the intermission, Rod Stewart got the crowd going wild with his fun choice of “Maggie May,” which became a number one hit single in both the US and the UK when it was released in 1971, followed by “Baby Jane.” Rod Stewart also created one of the most beautiful moments in the concert when he dedicated to Princess Diana the song “Sailing,” a number one hit in the UK in 1975, and got the entire audience singing. The well-chosen lyrics, “I am sailing, I am sailing home again,” proved to be very beautiful and real tear-jerkers.
Ricky Gervais added some comedy to the evening, including jokes about the royal protocol prohibiting swearing in front of the princes. “They’re in the army,” he said, “and they’ve never heard a swear word,” then continued to make up a scenario in which one of their corp mates gets parts blown up, but has to keep himself from swearing in front of the princes. He also began his comical introduction of Elton John by saying, “The bad news is that Elton John can’t make it…the good news is…I brought some poetry.”
When Elton John finally came on the stage to perform the finally, he got the crowd roused with his rocking performance of “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,” an interesting song to be singing on what is now Sunday night. The applause was wild after he finished singing “Tiny Dancer,” a song that’s very representative of Princess Diana’s dancing interests and skills. And his song “Are You Ready,” with lyrics “Are you ready for love,” was an excellent song to end the concert with and send the crowd out into the night.
According to the website, www.concertfordiana.com, the concert’s proceeds, after deducting all the costs of the concert, will be donated to The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, which provides grants to support charities in the UK and abroad that work towards assisting people living with HIV/AIDS, communities affected by landmines, and other people needing help. Proceeds will also be used to support The Royal Marsden, a hospital specializing in cancer care and research; The Great Ormond Street Hospital, the largest research center for childhood illness outside the US; The Leprosy Mission, an International Christian organization that serves the needs of people with leprosy; The National AIDS Trust; and the English National Ballet. Concert proceeds will also support Centre Point, a charity Prince William is a patron of, which helps to combat homelessness. Finally, proceeds will also support Sentebale, a charity founded jointly by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, which supports vulnerable children and young people in Lesotho, particular ones orphaned by AIDS.
The concert was a wonderful and useful way to commemorate their late mother, Princess Diana, and like footballer David Beckham said while introducing the band Take That, the princes have done wonderful things and “the nation should be proud.”
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