God is good, man he’s good… Getintothis’ Jack Atkins worships at the altar according to Stevie.
Inner city festivals are a strange experience.
Unlike their countryside alternatives, busy streets and civilised picnics swap endless rows of tents and flagpoles, the obligatory idiot ketamined off of their tits is replaced by someone you may see at your mum’s birthday party.
However, the overall vibe and ethos of these city festivals remain the same as the behemoths that dominate fields across the world come summertime.
The unfortunately named Hard Rock Calling is one of these trendy festivals hosting a plethora of musical legends on it’s stage over the few short years of its existence – but today features what can only be described as a musical God; Stevie Wonder.
The sun is in fine form, allowing the crowds soak up the humdrum jams of Corinne Bailey Rae and James Morrison, before some we’re treated to some self-aggrandising (and excellent) funk-twinged pop from Jamiroquai.
But it’s the man born Steveland Judkins that the 45,000-strong crowd are here to see, the man who, for the last 40 years has crafted some of the most timeless soul hits of all time and has inspired and mesmerised countless generations.
Wonder hits the stage, to everyone’s surprise, rocking out like a man possessed on a keytar, dropping to his knees and soloing while his 13-man band prepare to rip into My Eyes Don’t Cry.
Wonder, as always, seems jubilant, getting the crowd to chant God is Good during the opening to Master Blaster (Jammin’) and dedicating the whole evening to Michael Jackson.
Further jaunts through Higher Ground, Living for the City and covers of The Beatles‘ We Can Work it Out and the afore-mentioned Jackson’s Human Nature ensure the crowd are not given the chance to let up, constantly dancing and singing, celebrating 60 years of the man they call Wonder.
A weird skit involving a ‘magic potion’ and a vocoder enable Wonder to sound like little Stevie again, both bemusing and enthralling the audience, as he goes into Fingertips, Part II.
Luckily the vocoder is switched off for the remainder of the set; as Sir Duke an amazing My Cherie Amor and of course Superstition are rolled out, before ending on a rousing rendition of Another Star accompanied by a local choir and a world-drum circle.
Wonder slinks off into the night as the drum circle finish up on an oddly anti-climactic finish.
It would’ve been nice to have heard He’s Misstra Know It All and I Was Made To Love Her but every song was incredible, and besides, Hyde Park had just witnessed Stevie fricking Wonder, a reward in itself.