Review: Kylie, Grace Jones and Mika rock Hyde Park for British Summer Time
For one glorious weekend in June, London is packed with more homosexuals than a Mormon prayer convention – and we don’t mean next week’s Pride in London. Kylie Minogue is in town.
The princess of pop took to Hyde Park on Sunday for the Barclaycard British Summer Time festival, appropriately dressed in royal regalia as she cranked through the hits.
At 47, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the star would be growing tired of her back-catalogue – but from the pure joy of I Should Be So Lucky (c. 1987) through to Spinning Around (c. 2000), it’s clear she’s loving every moment.
Indeed, the half-hearted sing-along to the Neighbours theme is the only moment where it feels like her heart wasn’t truly in it – stomping through an extended crowd-pleasing set of her greatest hits, with three wardrobe changes and time to spare.
Unafraid to play up to her audience, Kylie has transformed ‘All the Lovers’ into the full-blown gay anthem it was always meant to be – rounding out her set to a montage of gay rights silhouettes and logos.
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After three decades churning out hits, the Australian star can still bring it with the best of them, though she takes a notably more Madonna-esque approach in letting her dancers do most of the work on some of the more energetic routines.
Elsewhere, Mika took to the stage for a lively set – re-hashing hit Lollipop in one of the stand-out moments of the day. Curiously, he didn’t mention his new album (out this month) once – while Foxes managed to clock up at least four references to her new material.
The talented (and adorable) Olly Alexander of Years & Years also performed a stellar set, but special mention has to go to Grace Jones – who was responsible for nearly all the weirdest moments of the day.
Be it her topless hula-hoop routine, appearing naked with just body paint to cover herself, rolling off the stage and nearly destroying a light, or riding around on the shoulders of a sheepish-looking security guard who definitely wasn’t consulted in advance – the unadulterated anarchy of her performance felt like the antidote to Kylie’s to-the-second coordinated precision.
We took time out during Chic and Nile Rodgers’ overlong performance to visit a few of the smaller artists. The charming and down-to-earth Kimberly Anne performed a fantastic set to a tiny crowd – before admitting on-stage to having only been booked a couple days before after a cancellation. Just call her Nick Jonas.
Meanwhile, the Pride in London stage featured an in-your-face rotation of drag queens, pole dancers and strippers. Quite why there needs to be an LGBT side-stage at a festival headlined by two out singers and a gay icon, we’ll never know.
Though most people turned up for Kylie – nearly everyone seemed to agree it would be Grace Jones haunting their dreams.