Fingering the Counting Crows – 02 Wireless Festival, Hyde Park – July 6, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Festivals - 2008 Festivals
Written by TK   

On a day at the Hyde Park 02 Wireless Festival in which the Counting Crows was featured as the headline act, it was the Australian band Powderfinger that out-rocked all acts.  On a rainy day in which Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, the Goo Goo Dolls, the Delays and Eddy Grant also played, punters may have gone home wet but would have been hard-pressed to be disappointed.

Arguably Powderfinger had the enviable task of following on from the tepid, but crowd-pleasing, Goo Goo Dolls.  Led by lead-singer Bernard Fanning, Powderfinger has now been playing for nearly two decades having been initially formed in 1991.  Yet, so fresh is the new material from their new album, it is almost as if they are a new band.  Having had a hiatus in 2005 when band-members decided to temporarily pursue solo interests, Powderfinger came back with a vengeance in 2007 with the release of "Dream Days at the Hotel Existence". 

Funnily enough, it was probably only the Australian and New Zealand contingent in the crowd (which was actually a significant number) that knew of the band before they entered stage right, however by the end of the performance in which hits such as "Love Your Way", "My Kinda Scene", "Since You've Been Gone", "Who Really Cares, and "Baby, I've Got You On My Mind" were blasted out across Hyde Park, everyone had the band's name on their lips.

It came as a surprise not to hear some of the band's older hits such as "These Days" (from the hit Australian movie 'Two Hands' which starred the late Heath Ledger), however little did it matter especially with Bernard Fanning mixing up his performance with humorous comments to the crowd such as, "It's so nice to be here in the balmy English summer.  You people must really suffer… with the heat!"

Ben Harper and his band immediately followed Powderfinger, and Ben arrived to a cacophony of screaming female fans who were intent on letting him know how much they loved his way.  Although playing a chilled-out set more fitting for a beach-festival than a rock-festival, the crowd were kept entertained with a diverse selection of the band's back catalogues including "Excuse Me Mr", "Gold to Me", and "Steal My Kisses".  There is no questioning that Ben Harper is one talented guy, and he intersperses his rousing vocals with impressive guitar-playing.  Although now approaching forty years old, Ben Harper shows no signs of losing his passion for performing.

Counting Crows started off their performance in a mild-panic no doubt induced by the talent that had preceded them.  However, they soon settled in with particularly popular renditions of their hit singles, "Mr Jones" and "Colourblind", a song featured on the film Cruel Intentions.  Meanwhile, galactic with Lyrics Born and Boots Riley managed to induce dance-floor fever nearby (on the grass at least) with a fun collection of tunes.

And so the festival drew to a close which perhaps was metaphorically music to the ears of those exhausted fans who had braved going to multiple days to watch a plethora of star-acts ranging from Jay Z to Mark Ronson to Fat-Boy Slim.  How can the festival-organisers possibly top this line-up next year?

Highlights:-    

1.  The sun bursting through the clouds after rain had irritated the crowd all day.  The sun came immediately after the lead singer of Powderfinger had mentioned Spain!­

2.  The Australian pie shop.  It is a crime against the health of humanity that pies this good are made.     

 
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