The American hitmaker comes up big at BST Hyde Park’s final show of the year
Photos Dave Hogan
For someone born in 1988, the chance to watch Stevie Wonder performing his 1976 double-album Songs in the Key of Life in its entirety really is a rare treat. Managing to get a spot right up at the front of a 65,000-strong crowd? That’s extra special.
I’m getting an idea of what British Summer Time has been offering corporate groups across its six shows in Hyde Park. Split over two weekends, each evening has seen some huge acts take to the Oak Stage: Florence & the Machine, Take That, Carole King, Patti Smith and Mumford & Sons among them. Tonight is a sellout, and the excitement is palpable.
I’ve got an Amazon guest pass, which gets me into the Premium Viewing area closest to the stage, and entry to the invite-only hospitality area just behind the stage. Here, there are old fairground rides to sit in, a cocktail truck muddling Le Fizz cocktails and a River Cottage street food van serving chicken wraps. Posh toilets and no queues make this level of hospitality a no-brainer, especially as Mr Wonder’s set lasts just over four hours.
Warmed up by Pharrell Williams, the crowd is in good spirits prior to Stevie’s 20-piece band entering stage right. The two-hour album is the perfect Sunday summer evening soundtrack, and the man himself is on fine form. As the sun sets over Hyde Park to the sound of a closing medley – Part Time Lover, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, and Superstition – it’s fair to say that this musical masterclass has been one of the year’s best bookings.
British Summer Time Hyde Park will take place in July 2017.