Why we cut off Springsteen and McCartney
Festival bosses who cut the power on Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney in London say they had no choice but to stop “music history” in its tracks because megarich neigbours had put pressure on authorities.
McCartney was Springsteen’s special guest at Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park over the weekend. But fans were left bewildered and angry when the sound system was shut down before the pair ended their performance of Beatles songs.
Guitarist Steven Van Zandt later tweeted about England being a “police state” and demanded to know: “Is there just too much fun in the world? Who were we disturbing?”
Tempers flared again the next night when organisers Live Nation were accused of turning the volume down during Paul Simon’s festival-closing set.
They first stated their decisions were related to health and safety considerations – but now chief operating officer Paul Latham admits it had more to do with the influence of wealthy citizens of the exclusive area.
Latham says: “Suffice to say the residents of Park Lane and Mayfair may not be numerous, but they wield inordinate power over the Gogs and Magogs of Parliament.”
He says the performance licence, which took a year to negotiate, included “very strict noise restrictions, traffic plans and curfews, with the sword of Damocles hanging over any future events if we broke any of the conditions.”
“We had a musical cocktail for the ages, but a nightmare curfew scenario. We were assumed they were going to only do a couple of numbers, but the couple of numbers happened to be Beatles medleys. When Bruce went to change guitars to start again, I’m afraid the power had to come off on music history in the hope that we will be allowed to create more in the future.”
Springsteen made fun of the drama in Dublin last night when he started his show by switching a huge power switch on, saying: “Before we were so rudely interrupted,” and performed the end of Twist And Shout – the Beatles track that was cut off in London.
Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry has called for an end to concerts in the city-centre location. He tells Londoner: “They shouldn’t have these events if it’s going to cause embarrassing problems. The problem with Hyde Park is that the volume is never loud enough. I’m sorry for Paul McCartney and Bruce.”
After Live Nation’s earlier statement, Health and Safety Executive boss Kevin Myers – who was in the audience while Springsteen and McCartney played – said: “The fans deserve the truth. There are no health and safety issues involved here. While public events may have licensing conditions dictating when they should end, this is not health and safety and it is disingenuous of Live Nation to say so.”