Bruce let the music do the talking tonight as it rained down on London town. Keeping the audience on their toes he switched the set around from his headline Hyde Park appearance on Thursday night, this time kicking off with My Love Will Not Let You Down. What followed was hit after hit of his best-loved tracks, from Prove It All Night, Promised Land, Badlands and Mary’s Place, which popped up at exactly the right time for the crowd to bellow: “Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!”
The 18-strong band, which included guitarist Steven Van Zandt and saxophone player Jake Clemons – nephew of original member Clarence Clemons – once again performed stellar cover versions of The Commodores’ Nightshift and a song written with Patti Smith, Because The Night.
An hour or so in and Springsteen stopped the music to share the story of his friend and original bandmate from The Castiles, George Theiss, who passed away from cancer in 2018. “In 1965, I was 15 and I had been playing guitar since I was 14 and a half,” he told the crowd. “[George] was dating my sister and she had told him that I play guitar.”
Going on to introduce his track, Last Man Standing, he explained: “It was George’s gift to me when he died… he left me with this.”
Closing the epic three-hour set was a phenomenal encore, packed with Springsteen’s most iconic tunes. Born To Run, Bobby Jean, Glory Days, Dancing In The Dark and 10th Avenue Freeze-Out and his famous cover of The Beatles’ Twist and Shout all featured, before he ended with an acoustic rendition of I’ll See You In My Dreams.
Second on the bill was American country-rock band, The Chicks, who also returned for their second performance at this year’s festival. Formerly the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines and sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer arrived on stage to Sin Wagon, followed by Gaslighter, Julianna Calm Down and Landslide (a Fleetwood Mac cover).
“Well hello, Hyde Park. Are you ready for Bruce?” called Maines from the stage. “That’s Martie, that’s Emily and I’m Natalie and we’re going to play some music for you.”
The band revved up the crowd with their songs both old and new – White Trash Wedding, Daddy Lessons / Long Time Gone, Not Ready To Make Nice and Goodbye Earl all featured, while the powerful March March left the audience close to happy tears.
Earlier in the afternoon, the UK’s own James Bay hit the stage, playing both his trademark tracks and sharing some brand new exclusives.
“Oh wow, thank you so much,” smiled Bay, as the audience gave applause. Later, Bay revealed that he has been recording new songs with his band and would be releasing new music in the near future. “I’m going to go out on a limb. You get an opportunity like this and you can’t help yourself. I’m going to play some new songs.”
Naturally, Bay’s delightful performance ended with the mighty Hold Back The River.
Brittney Spencer opened the Great Oak Stage this afternoon, with as much excitement for today’s lineup of artists as the fans themselves. “I was inspired by The Chicks, but I’ve never met them,” she laughed. “So today I’m losing my mind because I saw the sign on their dressing room with their name on. I’m so excited!”
Singing original tracks including Sober & Skinny, More Than Perfect and Damn Right, You’re Wrong – she warmed up audiences nicely for the upcoming array of top-notch artists – with the added bonus of Yesterday (The Beatles cover).
Today’s action began this afternoon on the Rainbow Stage presented by British Airways with country singer-songwriter, Kezia Bill, who combined her own sensational tracks with impressive covers. “I’ve come all the way from Derby. Thank God it’s not raining anymore,” she smiled. Getting into the festival mood she followed up her track, Whiskey Over Ice, with a sip of Irish whiskey. “Cheers Hyde Park!”
Next up were Missouri singer Sam Barber, who played a selection of tunes, such as Drowning, Ghost Town and Dancing In The Sky. Then it was the turn of Country Kerry sensation, Pa Sheehy, who hit the Irish Top 10 in 2021 with his debut EP, The Art of Disappearing.
With one final day of brilliant live musicians still to come, headed up by Lana Del Rey, it’s been yet another epic day at American Express presents BST Hyde Park 2023.
BST Hyde Park 2023 returns this summer for its 10th anniversary year and we’ve got even more legendary headliners this year: All Things Orchestral presented by Myleene Klass and featuring Alfie Boe (23 June), P!NK (24 and 25 June), Guns N’ Roses (30 June), Take That (1 July), BLACKPINK (2 July), Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (6 and 8 July), Billy Joel (7 July) and Lana Del Rey (9 July).