Darkness on the edge of stage as London curfew ends Springsteen show

Mon, Jul 16, 2012, 01:00

PROMOTERS PULLED the plug on Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney as the Boss’s Hyde Park gig in central London on Saturday night went past its curfew.

Guitarist Steven Van Zandt vented his fury at a “police state” and London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, criticised “an excessively efficacious decision”, saying the band should have been allowed to “jam in the name of the Lord”.

But Westminster council insisted the organisers had been responsible for throwing the switch on the finale, which had pushed its curfew too far.

McCartney joined Springsteen and the E Street Band to play Beatles classics I Saw Her Standing There and Twist and Shout. Springsteen said he had been waiting for the moment for 50 years. But the show closed to boos and whistles from the audience as the stars appeared ready to launch into another number. Springsteen could be seen trying to talk to the crowd without any amplification.

Live Nation, promoters of the concert, said on its website: “It was unfortunate that the three-hour-plus performance by Bruce Springsteen was stopped right at the very end but the curfew is laid down by the authorities in the interest of the public’s health and safety.”

Leith Penny, Westminster council’s strategic director for city management, said: “Concert organisers, not the council, ended last night’s concert in Hyde Park to comply with their licence, which allows them to run the concert until 10.30pm. Licences are granted until certain times to protect residents in the area from noise late at night.”

But Van Zandt turned to Twitter in rage. “One of the great gigs ever in my opinion. But seriously, when did England become a police state? We break curfews in every country but only English cops needs to ‘punish us’ by not letting us leave until the entire crowd goes,” he tweeted. – (Guardian service)