It was a blisteringly hot day in London on the day of the last of The Stones two Hyde Park gigs. I did take a punt at getting into the Bowie V&A exhibition first but the line was huge so I went to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I was surprised at how many Academicians work was up, it seemed notably more than previous years and also that Grayson Perry had a room to himself, which would mean that hundreds of other artists wouldn't get in. There was nothing that really jumped out at me this year, and some feedback I had about the painting I sold was that the person who bought it normally bought something in the Summer Exhibition but didn't this year, so who knows…
I had thought about not going to the Stones gig, I've seen them twice before and it was going to be expensive but when I got to London I was glad I did, lovely day and when I met up with my mates we basically just went on a pub crawl around London, parking ourselves in one of the boats on Embankment for a sizeable chunk of the afternoon.
We seemed to walk for miles before we go to Hyde Park, but we timed it well getting their half an hour before the Stones were due to take the stage. When we first got into Hyde Park I didn't know if I'd be able to stay, how can a park be so claustrophobic? There didn't seem to be a spare inch and you couldn't get anywhere near the bar, which didn't stop one or two of the crowd being extremely well refreshed. Luckily we found a spare patch and settled in
There's of course a great atmosphere with a big gig like that which was helped by the weather and it be open air. The Stones took the stage to 'Start Me Up' and cranked through the hits. Jagger was amazing for a man hitting 70 and Charlie was good, in fact they were all great except for Keef, I thought he was a bit out of tune, but I loved the him taking the mike for 'Silver' and 'Lucky' . Another highlight was seeing Mick Taylor back on a great loose version of 'Midnight Rambler'. I laughed out loud when Jagger made a gag about Boris Johnson taking over the stage set as a summer house followed by a 'Brrrrm tchee!' from Charlie. When Jagger introduced Charlie he asked him to say something "Allo." said Charlie. "It speaks!" replied Jagger. It was two hours of solid crowd pleasers and was probably the best set I've seen them do. When they took their bows at the end of the show it had an odd sense of finality about it, but who knows, they'll probably out last us all.