Party at the Palace

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Party at the Palace
Concert by various artists
Party at the Palace.jpg
Venue Buckingham Palace Garden, London, England
Date(s) 3 June 2002 (2002-06-03)

The Party at the Palace was a concert held in London in 2002. The event was in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II held over the Golden Jubilee Weekend 1–4 June 2002. The concert itself was held at Buckingham Palace Garden on 3 June 2002. It was the pop/rock equivalent of the Prom at the Palace, a classical music event.

Event and venue[edit]

The concert was held at the gardens of Buckingham Palace Garden as part of the Golden Jubilee. The event was touted as the greatest concert in Britain since Live Aid or possibly ever. Tickets to the event were determined by a lottery. 12,000 people attended the concert.[1] An estimated 1 million people watched outside the Palace in The Mall and around the Queen Victoria Memorial,[2] and 200 million on television.[3] The concert included performances of many hit songs from the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The event was the culmination of a national day of partying. The BBC Music Live Festival also occurred on the day. At 1:00 towns across the United Kingdom had bands play "All You Need Is Love" before church bells were rung around the country.


Amongst others, performers included:

Paul McCartney,[4] Bryan Adams, Queen,[5] Elton John, Shirley Bassey,[6] Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Phil Collins, Ray Cooper, Ray Davies, Dame Edna Everage, Tony Iommi, Tom Jones,[7] Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Annie Lennox, Ricky Martin, Ozzy Osbourne,[8] Rod Stewart, Tony Bennett, Blue, Emma Bunton, Atomic Kitten, The Corrs, Cliff Richard,[9] S Club 7,[9] Will Young,[5] Ruby Wax, Brian Wilson, Steve Winwood and Tony Vincent.

Also performing was the London cast of the musical We Will Rock You. Several newspapers mentioned the absence of The Rolling Stones. The Stones said the event conflicted with their upcoming world tour.

Aspects of concert[edit]

The concert began with Brian May performing "God Save the Queen" on the roof of Buckingham Palace as a guitar solo with support from the orchestra onstage in the Garden far below.[10] This sequence was spectacularly filmed, including some upward photography of May in full "rock god" mode and shots of the crowd in the Garden below. It has become an iconic moment and Brian May himself has said in interview that he hoped that he would strike the last chord at the same time as the orchestra in the gardens far below. Once it was finished, said May, the arm and fist went up, and the guitar was free, for it had done its work.[11] Ozzy Osbourne recently said in the same interview that this was the greatest moment of his career and pronounced the Queen to be "a beautiful woman."

Phil Collins played drums for many of the artists, as well as singing his 1983 UK number one single "You Can't Hurry Love", with Queen's Roger Taylor playing drums. Taylor took late singer Freddie Mercury's place by singing lead vocals for the band's 1984 number two hit "Radio Ga Ga" (which Taylor had also written), with Collins playing drums in place of Taylor.

S Club 7's performance of "Don't Stop Moving" was announced as the last time the group would be performing as a septet, as Paul Cattermole had announced his departure from the group prior to the event.

It is thought of as one of the most impressive collections of musicians on a single stage. The concert was divided into two parts: pop music and classic rock music. In between acts there were some comedy segments by Lenny Henry, Ben Elton, Meera Syal, Nina Wadia, Ruby Wax and Dame Edna Everage.

The event ended with the Royal Family joining the stars onstage. Prince Charles thanked his mother for her fifty years on the throne, famously beginning his speech with the words, "Your Majesty.....MUMMY!" to the delight of the crowd and bemusement of the Queen.[12]

Following this the Queen and Prince Philip went to light the National Beacon on the Mall. After the lighting of the beacon the largest fireworks show in the history of London took place. During this time different symbols were projected onto the palace including a Union Flag.


A DVD has been issued of the performance. Some portions have been cut, e.g. Ruby Wax's monologue, Dame Edna's introduction of Paul McCartney performing "Blackbird" and Paul McCartney's spontaneous performance of "Her Majesty".[13]

A live CD recording of the performance was also released in 2002.[14]


External links[edit]