“The best things always happen at the arse end of the night,” someone said. It may have been me. Whoever’s champagne-fuelled comment that was, it proved to be true as Stephen – incredible Stephen – lifted his violin out of its case, as if a baby from a cradle, and said those magic words: “What would you like to hear?”
Something special happens in that wrinkle-in-time place between where the party officially ends and the story continues, an ‘afterward’ of sorts. And that was where we, the remaining handful of guests at The Best Party of the Year, found ourselves on Friday night, huddled around the fire, listening to Stephen Hussey, violinist and arranger of London’s Urban Soul Orchestra play, unplugged. To orientate this on the fabulous and special scale, USO has worked with Mick Jagger, Robin Thicke, Maxi Priest, Leona Lewis, Madonna, Kylie, Grace Jones, Oasis and The Script amongst others. Continue reading
The music thumped through me as if Freddie, Bryan, Roger and John were playing on a tiny stage deep inside my chest, rather than on the huge stage 100 meters ahead of our spot on the grass bank. Dad’s hand – dry and warm like pages left out in the sun – squeezed mine; he tapped his chest and laughed. His smile may have out-watted even mine. We were here. Together.
The album that started it all. Bohemian Rhapsody on rotate.
The band launched into the baseline of “Under Pressure” and the crowd went mad, hands in the air, screaming: Pressure! Pressure down on me! Pressure down on you! I leapt to my feet – I couldn’t help it! – then sat down again, embarrassed. I was nine. I’d never been to a concert before. Dad laughed his head off.
“C’mon you,” he said, and dragged me back up.
Oh what a night. Moi at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night to see the Rolling Stones
“We’ve been coming here a long time, New Zealand. So long that the first time we came, we were touring with Roy Orbison!” Jagger told me and 47,000 other fans. Damn right. And you know what? My mum was there. She remembers screaming her 15-year-old lungs out over Mick and Keith (Roy who?) in all the Stones’ velvet, fur and tight-panted glory at the Theatre Royal in Christchurch in 1965. Forty-one years later I first saw them on their A Bigger Bang tour at Western Springs in Auckland; and for a second, and even better, time at iconic Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night.