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2002-Jun-04: The Party at the Palace

During last evening's Party at the Palace, Sir Paul sang his song "Her Majesty" for the Queen.   "I had to do it," he said.

Watching the concert from her place of honor in the royal box was Heather Mills seated beside Yoko Ono.  Also present in the box were Britain's Prime Minister Tony and Cherie Blair,  Prince Andrew and daughters Beatrice and Eugenie, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Princess Anne, Prince Charles, Prince Harry and Prince William, and later on Prince Philip and the Queen.

Before the concert, the 12,000 fans who won the draw for tickets to the concert enjoyed a delicious jubilee picnic in the palace gardens as they watched the performers go through their final rehearsals.  As they arrived at the Palace, each guest was given a chilled jubilee cool bag filled with a luxurious picnic supper prepared by the Royal Chefs which included salmon, chicken, strawberries and champagne enjoy before the concert.   To protect them from the intermittent rain showers, a jubilee poncho was provided to the guests to make up for the ban on umbrellas.

As expected, security was tight at the event.  A Palace source said:

 "Before all the stars got into the backstage area they had to pass through a massive security check. Everyone was cooped up in the same room. They got chatting to Sir Paul about how Liverpool is the city with most No.1s - thanks to The Beatles and The (Atomic) Kittens."
Even though the concert was planned as a tribute to the Queen, under the creative guidance of the Beatles' producer George Martin there were times when it seemed to be a tribute to the Beatles as well.  Joe Cocker, Brian May and Steve Winwood performed "With A Little Help From My Friends".    Irish group, The Corrs, sang "The Long and Winding Road".   Corrs singer Andrea Corr described the experience saying, "We were rehearsing "Long and Winding Road" on the pagoda stage and we looked over to the other stage and Paul McCartney was there with Eric Clapton who started playing along and George Martin was there too. It was all very surreal."

Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Brian Wilson all joined Sir Paul in the singing of "All You Need Is Love".  It was the first time Sir Paul and Brian Wilson had ever shared a stage (even though the sounds of Sir Paul munching on a carrot can be heard on a Beach Boys' recording of their song "Vegetables".)  Before the concert, Brian Wilson admitted: "This is the first time I have been on stage with Paul McCartney and believe me I'm nervous."

Sir Paul was the top of the bill.  After being introduced by Dame Edna, Sir Paul delighted the audience singing, "Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl but she doesn't have much to say," followed by an acoustic version of "Blackbird".

Then Sir George Martin took the stage and paid tribute to the Beatles and to the late George Harrison in particular saying, "He was a wonderful musician and a dear man."  George Martin presented Sir Paul and Eric Clapton to the audience and the duo performed  George's classic "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".    Eric Clapton said that he was honored to be able to pay tribute to his friend George in such a special way.  He added,  "I needed to check with his wife Olivia and someone did that on my behalf but she was OK about it. I thought it was an appropriate thing to do and it's an honor to do it."

When Sir Paul played "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" the Buckingham Palace gardens came alive.  Spotlights lit up the trees in a rainbow of colors and the Palace was bathed in purple lighting.

Sir Paul then led all the other performers and the audience in the singing of "All You Need Is Love".  Joining in the sing-along were the throng of more than 1 million people who were experiencing the event on giant television screens outside the Palace gates in the Mall.

Next, George Martin escorted the Queen, Prince Philip, the Prince of Wales and William and Harry on stage to meet the performers. Prince Charles delivered a heartfelt tribute to his "Mummy" then asked for three cheers for the Queen before she waved to the crowd and was escorted off stage by Sir George Martin.

When the Queen had left the stage,  Sir Paul led the "Hey Jude" finale. The crowd wasn't ready for the concert to end, so Sir Paul treated them to an unscheduled rendition of "I Saw Her Standing There".

Close of the evening, Sir Paul told the crowd, "I said to Her Majesty, 'Are we going to do this again next year?' And she said, 'Not on my lawn!' "

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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