Platinum Party at the Palace Review – You Can Understand Why the Queen Didn’t Show | music

The last time the exterior of Buckingham Palace and The Mall was transformed into a concert hall – for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations curated by Gary Barlow in 2012 – the Queen arrived halfway: clever timing meant she was on time got there for Kylie , Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney but missed Jessie J and Gary Barlow and Cheryl Tweedy’s baseless attack on Lady Antebellum’s Need You Know.

This time she bravely took part in a skit with Paddington Bear, tapping out the rhythm of Queens We Will Rock You on a teacup before Queen herself emerged – Brian May, clad in a jacket covered in drawings of badgers, performed one hydraulic platform – but never showed up in person at all, which came as a surprise: what apparently poor 97-year-old wouldn’t happily spend an evening watching Jax Jones and Sigala? Not even a rare public appearance by the elusive disco superstar Nile Rodgers – this time guest starring Duran Duran – could lure Her Majesty from the comfort of Windsor Castle.

Missing a show that became more visually spectacular as night fell, she tried to give everyone everything – a selection of musicals and performances by dancers from the Royal Ballet alongside Craig David and TikTok-supported teen pop star Mimi Webb.

It was fun watching audiences look utterly stunned by Stefflon Don – this obviously wasn’t the Brexit they voted for – although even the most ardent Republican might be forced to admit that the breakout stars of TV coverage Prince George and Princess Charlotte, aged eight and seven, were clearly bored out of their minds: they were stuck with the feeling that at any moment their parents could just give in and hand them their iPads.

The concert is on firmer ground with Sam Ryder restoring national pride at Eurovision, and indeed with George Ezra, although the line in the Green Green Grass chorus about throwing a party the day you die has been decently edited out .

Alicia Keys. Photo: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

Presumably anxious to sing the incomparable grandeur of a former colony in front of Buckingham Palace, Alicia Keys changes the lyrics of Empire State of Mind to refer to London instead. Celeste and Hans Zimmer offer an intriguingly dark version of What a Wonderful World, but the tried and tested works best: Elbow with One Day Like This; Rod Stewart avoids his own hits and barks his way through the guaranteed sing-along of Sweet Caroline; a video of Elton John performing Your Song at Windsor Castle projected onto the front of Buckingham Palace; and the headlining performance by Diana Ross, which starts shakily with a race through Chain Reaction and the title track from her latest album, but picks up momentum with the finale of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.

Before Ross appears, Prince Charles jokes that the audience cheers so loudly that the Queen can hear it in Windsor. In the unlikely event that she could, you wondered if the noise might have bothered her while she was busy seeing something else.

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