Review by Hayley Clark

The sun beat down gloriously over Hyde Park as the British Summer Time Festival came to yet another superb finale, each year the Barclaycard sponsored festival brings something for everyone as the biggest musical headliners in the world flock to the royal park over the two week stretch. Sunday was no different as the crowds gathered to the sold out show headlined by England’s finest Robbie Williams. Hundreds of culinary aromas filled the air from mouth-watering stalls as the park was transformed into a festival extravaganza.

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With fewer stages than advertised, the Great Oak for the majority of the day was the place to be, music fans from across the globe crammed into the pits at the front of the colossal leafy stage for Welsh wonders Feeder opening with their rocky anthems and guitar riffs.

Front man Grant got the crowd warmed up as he belted through the classics ‘Youth, ‘Buck Rogers’ and ‘Just A Day’ the fans hummed along happily to the classic beats of the early 90s. Next up Scottish rockers Texas graced the stage. Sassily styled in a silver suit Sharleen Spiteri was warmly welcomed to the Great Oak, even as the temperatures raised she still looked cool albeit a little hot in her clothing choice. Taking the crowd back to the late 90s and early 2000s, they spun through the classics. The ten song setlist aired nostalgia with ‘Summer Sun’ and ‘In Our Lifetime’ leaving the crowd swaying from side to side. The polished set sounded soulful as she Scottish starlet hit all the right notes, with the crowd on their feet they enjoyed every moment ‘I Don’t Want A lover’, ‘Black Eyed Boy’ and ‘Say What You Want’ commanded a rapturous applause for the spectacular set.

With the park filling up it was time for the cool kids to take to the stage and bring the action, however unfortunately for The Black Eyed Peas the sound had other ideas and started playing up almost instantaneously. Not to put a dampener on the party will.i.am and his merry men gave it 110 percent. Acknowledging the issues and trying their damn hardest to keep the audience moving they burst onto the stage with ‘Let’s Get This Started’ a state of euphoria took over the crowd with arms in the air jumping up and down this was where the real party was happening. Dressed in a green jumper and beanie hat will.i.am was joined by teen sensation Ms Bankz and longstanding band members Taboo ad apl.de.ap, the stage came alive with technicolour graphics and dance beats, apologising for both sound issues and being under the weather the previous days apl.de.ap summed up his humble band mate in a short few sentences. “Thank you London for taking Will under your wing, he is an inspiration to us as he continues to inspire people on The Voice and we love you for accepting him also.”

The rip rocking hour long set was jam packed with all the classic BEP floor fillers ‘Pump It’, ‘Hey Mama’ and ‘The Time’ filled the air as the crowd sang along to the Dirty Dancing favourite, musical guru will.i.am took a break from energetically pacing the stage runway to get behind the decks and give the audience a taste of his DJ capabilities, Nirvana’s ‘Teen Spirit’ blended into his own ‘Scream and Shout’ sent the crowd into a frenzy, whipping them up for the encore of ‘Where Is The Love?’. As the crowd hit the notes of the thought-provoking ditty will.i.am spoke to the crowd with their goodbyes, “Thank you London, we’ve been coming here since 1998, this is my second home. It’s a honour to play such an iconic place here today with Robbie Williams and we love you for coming out today.”

Women flocked to the front to catch a glimpse of their idol, glasses filled with prosecco and lager as the crowd hustled and bustled as England’s finest showman got ready to take to the stage. At the back of the field the cabaret stage was alive with one of the festival highlights and BST residents, the one and only The Cuban Brothers, straight out of a Cuban bar in a dodgy London suburb, the four piece wowed the crowd with their slapstick comedy and energetic dance routines. No need for strictly when you have Uncle Archenio and Kenny the “illegitimate child”, flips, headstands and crotch wiggles in the side splitting show, swiping at Black Eyed Peas on the main stage they cried out “Thank you for ruining the Bill Medley, Jennifer Warnes classic, we can not do our version of it now” jokingly leaving the audience chuckling.

The anthemic tune of God Saved The Queen filled the park booming through the pa system as screams came from the crowd as on the screens were the words “Are You Ready?”, a recognisable beat came through the speakers and pyrotechnics exploded from the stage as Robbie appeared in black and silver sequinned jacket and quaffed hair, he burst into ‘Let Me Entertain You’ sending the crowd wild at his presence. Ever the showman he took over the park, captivating the crowd with Mercury esq cat calls showing off his vocal range as they called back in echo to him. The X factor and former Take That star proved why he is a national treasure as he showed he is more than a practical joker on stage.

Unveiling himself as the new face of Weight Watchers the Stoke On Trent talent closed BST with a bang, with candy lollipops dancing around the stage, each song was as entertaining as the next. Revelling in the atmosphere he brought on members of the X Factor to duet with him on Take That favourite ‘Never Forget’, with a spine-tingling chorus that raised the roof with the passion and playfulness of the late 90s original. Not afraid to step back from the limelight dad Pete accompanied the singer for a rendition of Neil Diamond’s classic ‘Sweet Caroline’ the second of covers which included ‘The Land Of 1000 Dances’ leaving the audience throwing shapes on the grass like something out of the Blues Brothers. The fun didn’t stop there in the rip roaring escapades occurring on stage, taking a break from hits like ‘Millennium’ and ‘Eternity’ for a tongue in cheek version of Shaggy’s ‘It Wasn’t Me’ the lovable rogue set the stage alight.

With the hour and half set coming to an end he welcomed on stage former song writing partner Guy Chambers as lighters flickered in the sky for ‘Angels’, singing in harmony the crowd cried tears of joy and happiness as their hero showed how far he has came since earlier demons and rifts, it was a truly heart warming performance. As Hyde Park’s BST concluded for another year it was time to draw the final curtain with a Sinatra classic, Robbie raised the roof performing ‘My Way’ ending with standing ovation and the biggest cheer of the night. What’s next for the lovable singer and father of two, a Glastonbury headline slot maybe?

Photo courtesy of Outside Org

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