Some of music’s royalty came together to honor The Queen of England, but it was a British ska band that truly raised the roof… by literally playing on the roof of Buckingham Palace.
The concert celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Queen of England’s reign. The Queen was in attendance, although her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh was not, due to a bladder infection. Prince Charles was there, as were other members of the Royal Family.
Early performers included pop singer Robbie Williams, dance music star Kylie Minogue, will.i.am of hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas (he’s a coach on the UK version of The Voice), Cliff Richard, Grace Jones, Tom Jones, Annie Lennox and Shirley Bassey (who sang the James Bond theme song “Diamonds Are Forever”). Elton John, recently released from the hospital after a respiratory infection, played a three song set which was followed by fellow keyboardist Stevie Wonder.
Wonder’s set opened with the funk classic “Sir Duke,” followed by “Isn’t She Lovely,” which saw him changing the lyrics for the occasion (“isn’t she special/a young eighty-six years old/I can’t believe what God has done/let’s celebrate the royal one”). After that, he was joined by will.i.am for his version of “Happy Birthday” (not the traditional song, rather the tune he wrote in 1981 for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). That hit a ill note with many Brits, with scores of tweets pointing out that it isn’t actually the Queen’s birthday. His spirited version of “Superstition” seemed to make up for it.
After that, the action shifted from the main stage to the roof of Buckingham palace, where British ska legends Madness played their biggest hit single, “Our House” followed by “It Must Be Love” using the entire palace as a video screen displaying different rooms.
Paul McCartney wound the show up with a rocking performance that included “Magical Mystery Tour,” “All My Loving,” “Let It Be” and “Live And Let Die.” Before his final song, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” he strapped on a bass decorated as the Union Jack, and joked that Her Majesty requested that after the show, attendees leave in an orderly fashion, “Or she will be forced to unleash the corgis,” referring to her favorite breed of dog.
An edited version of the concert will air tonight on ABC.