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The Princess Diana Memorial Concert

By ATWadmin On July 2nd, 2007

Speaking of music, did anyone watch (or go to) the Princess Diana memorial concert at Wembley last night? I watched the last few hours of it on TV. A few thoughts:

It must be a sign that I’m getting older, for I mostly really enjoyed the music I heard – songs from Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s musicals (Webber is a hugely gifted music writer for the stage, his songs have such wonderful melodrama and timing, as well as melody!),  a set from the newly reformed Take That (I was never into them at the time, but perhaps because I was in the mood to listen and be carried away a bit last night, I started to appreciate their songwriting talents too), and Elton John rounded it all off in his inimitable style. Kudos to him for avoiding playing the obvious song I thought he would finish off with – that song is touching and beautiful with its original lyrics, but the remake for Princess Di was just tacky and overbearing, in my opinion. The Princes probably threatened to take him to the Tower if he played it!

Musically, the only low-point for me was some jumped-up rap "artist" lowering the quality with the usual rap style: Steal someone else’s backing track and yell over it like a thuggish spoilt brat who can’t get everything he wants. I foolishly started to hum along to the brassy Northern Soul melody-line of "Move On Up", not realising that it was to be trodden into the dirt and vulgarised by this most brutish of "musical" genres. Juxtaposed against what went before it and what followed it, it stood out like chalk and cheese. Yuck.

Ricky Gervais, I thought he could have shown some originality and presented some fresh material, but instead he chose to play safe to the crowd, simply rehashing old scenes from "The Office" and "Extras".  Good as those scenes are in their original context (and they are very good, classic Brit comedy in fact) I thought it didn’t translate too well on the stage, it just looked like he was resting on his laurels a bit. Very telling when he said "I’ll just do a David Brent thing…excuse me while I  just get into character…" (quickly runs a hand through his hair)…"OK, that’s that done.." Exactly, Ricky. You’re capable of more than that, we all know it, so don’t go lax, you’re a gifted comedian and actor, so keep your edge, put the effort in.

Their Royal Highnesses Prince William and Prince Harry got up on the stage at the end and thanked everyone. "This is how our mother would have wanted to be remembered".  Strange, mixed emotions and thoughts ran through my mind. How this media-driven age influences us all, I thought. You would never have got the "Old Guard" of the Royal Family up on stage like that, sharing their thoughts, being "part of the crowd" in that way. Remember the week after Princess Diana died so tragically, the perceived "lack of public appearance/grief" from Buckingham Palace prompted The Sun to carry the headline "Queen – Show Yourself!" (or similar words to that). The old "stiff upper lip" attitude is changing, and the Princes are part of a new media-savvy generation (not that I am moaning about that, or harking back to the old days, I just thought it was an interesting moment, that’s all. One of those moments that serves as an example of our changing society, or something like that!)

In my view, Princess Diana was a good woman who tried her best to do what she could, within the confines of her position. I don’t idolise her as a celebrity, but I acknowledge her place in British public life. She was assigned a certain place, a position, and I think she used that position with good intentions and I respect her for that. I also have a lot of respect for her sons too.

We’re living through times of very fast change in our society, things at times get very confusing as we question old values and try and move forward. It’s a mad age, in so many ways! The institution of the Royal Family is not the thing it once was in British society, yet when I consider Britain, if I am going to pledge my allegiance to anything, then it is to the Throne (the Throne, I say! Not New Labour nor the EU, in no wise! Damned be those wicked sprites!) Long live the Queen!



9 Responses to “The Princess Diana Memorial Concert”

  1. Long Live the Queen.

    Nice one Tom. I thought Prince Harrys mention of the troops and for them to stay safe was terrific. Good on him.

    And didnt Wembley look amazing? The tribute to Diana with footage of her as a kid was very moving.

  2. oh yes…and elton played my favourite of his: Tiny Dancer.

  3. ..glad he did’nt play ‘candle up my ‘wind’ pipe’..

  4. My wife had it on in the background, so I caught some of it.

    If those were Diana and the boys’ fav acts then it says something about the royal family. Talk about MOR. Mediocre entertainment.

    However, Tom Jones and Joss Stone were excellent; two consummate performers who between them sang not a single bum note; more than can be said for the rest. James Morrison was good too, though his material sucked.

  5. I just saw a few minutes of it here and there. The whole thing strikes me as a bit much, although I understand the sentiment.

  6. Mahons,

    "The whole thing strikes me as a bit much…"

    It seemed to be a bit much for Mr. Bryan Ferry and Mr. Rod Stewart. Both gentleman appeared to have lost about 50% of their vocal range since I saw them last. Pathetic performances. I see better down the pub of a Friday night.

  7. I guess I meant the level of tribute.

    I’ve felt she was an attractive woman who took up some good causes as many women of excessive means are able to do. But her love of the people hardly resulted in a refusal to take their money to support a certain lifestyle. Her time was often used to help good causes, but it was also frittered away at the pursuits of the aristocrats. All in all she seems to have had a rather sad life.

    That being said, my wife adored her and would be chewing me out now. I am sure the spotlight was not an easy place to be when she was a young woman. I suppose under the circumstances she did her best, and the idea of her was celebrated.

  8. Mahons,

    "I’ve felt she was an attractive woman who took up some good causes as many women of excessive means are able to do."

    Remind me again how much money she actually gave to good causes. And I can’t seem to recall her bequeathing any vast sum to the deserving either, not unless one includes her sons in that description.

  9. Dawkins; I don’t know. Perhaps she did. Perhaps she did not. I just find High Society as taking on good causes as they might hobbies.

    Sorry to hear that Rod and Ferry where in bad form. I saw Stewart at least 15 years ago when I was dragged there by a girlfriend and was suprised how good he was.