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Oldies are golden

PUBLISHED: 18:08 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 17:21 16 August 2010

THE Police performed their last ever UK gig to an adoring yet rather subdued crowd at the end of June. Hard Rock Calling, held in Hyde Park on June 28 and 29,

THE Police performed their last ever UK gig to an adoring yet rather subdued crowd at the end of June.

Hard Rock Calling, held in Hyde Park on June 28 and 29, saw 35,000 people stand under the sun to watch one of the reformed band's last performances, writes Jules Cooper.

The band, that must be making a mint since they opted for an aging-rocker reunion, pleased the crowd with a range of epic songs, opening with Message in a Bottle.

Since everyone over the age of 16 must know the lyrics to half these songs, there was a lot of singing-along.

But blame it on what you will, they lacked the enthusiasm you might expect for a last-ever gig.

Personally, I think it might have been due to the rather wet selection of acts preceding them - Starsailor and KT Tunstall.

Despite lacking The Police's final UK gig tag, Eric Clapton's headline performance on the Saturday was received just as well.

The guitarist played a solid set of fret-wandering, but judging by the crowd's reaction to Layla, it seemed most people really wanted him to play his old Cream numbers.

Before Clapton got on stage, the preceding acts followed exactly the same formula as the Sunday.

American heartthrob John Mayer provided some schmooze guitar action, then Sheryl Crow stomped out some solid upbeat girl-powered singing.

The festival also had a second stage, where the highlight had to be The Stranglers' headline performance on Sunday.

Whilst the crowd loved numbers including Golden Brown, the old-timers were liberal enough to throw in a Kinks cover of All of the Day and All of the Night to keep things lively.

The Charlatans headlined the tent stage on the Saturday, where they entertained a moderate crowd.

Everyone loved classics like Weirdo and The Only One I Know, but the 90s darlings couldn't seem to stop a tide of people wandering off to get a good spot to see Eric Clapton.

Hard Rock Calling might not have rocked like Glastonbury, but The Police's encore with Roxanne and So Lonely left the crowd satisfied they'd tasted their own slice of music history.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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