Old rockers get ready to roll over for Prince's Trust
By Tom Leonard
From the DailyTelegraph
April 24th, 1996
THE dust was brushed off some of the oldest reputations in rock music yesterday as Bob
Dylan, Eric Clapton and The Who were named as main attractions at a massive charity
concert in Hyde Park this summer.
The organisers of Masters of Rock hope to attract 150,000 people, making it one of the
biggest rock concerts and the first in the royal park for 20 years. The concert on June 29,
which is in aid of the Prince's Trust, will also feature the first live performance of The Who's
rock opera, Quadrophenia, by an ensemble of 20 musicians.
Among them will be three of the band's founding members, their decision to play together
ending years of bickering. The band's drummer will be Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr.
Roger Daltrey, who as The Who's former lead singer once helped set new standards of
on-stage bad behaviour, said he was nervous about going back on stage again. "It's a bit like
going to the dentist. It's good once you've done it," he told a news conference.
Pete Townshend, the band's guitarist, described the concert as "a chance to do something
more adventurous than strum on my own". He rejected suggestions that the event was aimed
at cashing in on the popularity of the current wave of British rock bands such as Oasis, Blur
and Pulp. "It is not trying to capitalise on what other young bands are doing. We are not
trying to compete," he said.
Praising the work of the Prince's Trust, he added: "I met a group of kids in Covent Garden
the other day who were musicians. And one of them said 'We are in a band and we are trying
to do melodies'. I asked how they got going and they said they got a grant from the Prince's
The concert is expected to be the biggest one-day event since the 1978 concert at Blackbushe,
near Sandhurst, Berkshire, at which Clapton and Dylan both performed. It will be the main
event of this year's National Music Festival and is timed to coincide with the eve of the final
in Britain of the Euro '96 football championships.
Organisers said other star names would not be revealed before they stepped on stage, although
they will certainly include Alanis Morissette. "I won't tell you their names in case they fail to
appear," said Mr Townshend. Tickets, at £8, go on sale from Friday.
My g-g-generation needs a flask and warm blanket
By David Cheal
July 1st, 1996
THE British have an admirable capacity for enjoying themselves in conditions of adversity, as this show - the first
open-air rock concert in Hyde Park for 20 years - amply demonstrated.
It was not just the weather, although a chilly mistral blowing across from the Serpentine made it inclement enough to induce
numbness to the extremities.
There was Bob Dylan to contend with, too, in all his whining, wheezing awfulness, performing his tuneless, formless
one-note renditions of classics such as Don't Think Twice, It's All Right, puffing his one-note harmonica solos, and hacking
away at his two-note guitar solos.
Yet despite all this, the crowd of 150,000, including the Prince of Wales whose Trust will benefit from the concert's proceeds,
remained in good spirits.
Their patience and fortitude - most had paid only £8 for their tickets - were rewarded by sparkling shows from Pete
Townshend and friends, performing the first full-length live rendition of The Who's other rock opera, Quadrophenia, and by
Eric Clapton, a Hyde Park veteran who played there in 1969 with Blind Faith.
Townshend was accompanied by the other two surviving members of The Who and Zak "son-of-Ringo" Starkey on drums, as
well as various other musicians and celebrities. Among them was the newsreader Trevor McDonald, who played a
newsreader, to huge cheers - I never realised he was quite so popular.
A word, too, about young Zak Starkey: in the drumming stakes he is best described as better than his dad and not quite as
good as the late Keith Moon, although he did come close to replicating Moon's extraordinary performance on the recorded
version of Quadrophenia, where even some of his fills had fills.
The music was, in parts, magnificent, the highlights being the opening number, The Real Me, and a blistering 5.15, sung with
leonine ferocity by Roger Daltrey, his left eye covered by a patch after a collision in rehearsal involving a microphone stand
and Gary Glitter.
Finally, there was Eric. The man whose nimble fingers - sadly out of sync on the video screens - can make a guitar weep,
moan, talk and laugh was on cracking form, delivering a crowd-pleasing combination of old favourites (Wonderful Tonight, I
Shot The Sheriff, White Room) and blues classics (Have You Ever Loved a Woman, Old Love).
Terrific stuff, professionally done and all suffused with such passion that it must have warmed even the chilliest of cockles.