Saturday, June 16, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Concert

Media Moment: CBC coverage of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert
Queen-related: Brian May sighting

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation aired the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert the other night and for the hell of it I PVRed the program wondering if Brian and Roger would show up.

There was no sign of Roger, unfortunately, but within five minutes of the start of the program, Brian was shown sitting in the Royalty Box next to Anita. That was strange, I thought. What was he doing in the audience when he should be on stage? Maybe he was just wasting time until he’s called up to play some guitar as part of the backing band or something.

It turns out he wasn’t part of the concert at all, which was a 180-degree turn from his castle-topping guitar solo from the Queen’s Golden Jubilee ten years ago. Well if he wasn’t going to be in the show, they must have a stellar lineup of musicians planned since Brian took the time out to be a spectator instead of a participant.

Nonetheless, Peter Mansbridge, the news anchor who was covering the broadcast on behalf of the CBC, actually mentioned Brian May and his rooftop performance of GSTQ at the Golden Jubilee 10 years ago; but it was merely a segue into announcing that Madness would be performing on top of Buckingham Palace this time for a performance of Our House

As I watched each artist do their thing, I was constantly reminded of how much Queen should have been on the stage. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have to look far to find connections between a lot of the musical guests and Queen:

Robbie Williams – His cover of We Are the Champions in 2001 for A Knight’s Tale prompted rumours of him replacing Freddie. His performance of Let Me Entertain You at tonight’s concert didn’t help distance him from the Queen catalogue either.
Sir Cliff Richard – had a longstanding friendship with Freddie.
Annie Lennox – remember her duet with Bowie at the FMT concert?
Rolf Harris – If I remember correctly, he did an interesting cover of Bohemian Rhapsody back in the early ’90s.
Dame Shirley Bassey – She recorded The Show Must Go On in ’96.
Sir Elton John – Close friendship with Freddie.
Sir Paul McCartney – Not sure how close he was with the band members but I do recall he knows them well enough to comment on them in The Magic Years videos.
Prince Charles – Brian’s participated in the Prince’s Trust Concerts for years.
God Save the QueenInextricably linked to the Queen catalogue, not to mention this is what Brian performed at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

Come to think of it, if I hadn’t seen the “The” in the event name, it could have easily have been mistaken as a Queen tribute concert instead. The branding between the band Queen and The Queen seemed to borrow from each other.

Case in point, this beefeater’s outfit looks suspiciously like a Queen t-shirt design or something with the elongated tail of the Q and the crown above. Since when did Queen Elizabeth use a single letter Q to represent her?

The one performer that I thought was curiously out of place was Stevie Wonder. Wasn’t he the only performer from a non-Commonwealth country? What was an American doing paying tribute to the reign of a British monarch? Perhaps The Queen is a die hard fan of Mr. Wonder and requested his participation? He did a great job, mind you, but I’m struggling to find the rationale for him being there.

Back to Brian . . .

It was great to see him almost every time the camera panned across the Royalty Box. And when he was on his feet during McCartney’s performance of Magical Mystery Tour, that was unexpected. Rarely is he shown as a member of an audience enjoying the show in front of him.

And what about the spectators in the Royalty Box that were seated around him and Anita? What warrants them to be amongst such distinguished company? I’m sure they have impeccable peerages or have been acknowledged for their contributions to British culture — like Brian, I suppose — but were they aware of who they were seated next to?

I still left wondering . . . why wasn’t Brian and Roger asked to perform?

For an interesting article on what songs should have been played at The Queen’s Jubilee Concert, click here. Queen, the band, makes an appearance there, too.

Jubilee logo:


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