In July, 2017 we saw Stevie Nicks take the stage with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the British Summer Time Music Festival in Hyde Park, London. “You know that Tom Petty is my favorite rock star!,” said Stevie before they began playing Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around for what was to be their very last time on stage together.
Our sons had actually bought the tickets for Sharon as a birthday/Christmas present. It was up to us to get to London (and that’s where accumulating so many airline miles comes in handy). What started as a trip to London to see a concert quickly grew into a full-fledged Rock & Roll Adventure.
We stayed at the citizenM Tower of London hotel, a newer, funky hotel conveniently located above the Tower of London Tube Station. It’s reasonably priced and a great base from which to explore London.
Friday: Pink Floyd Exhibition
On Friday we went to a special Pink Floyd Exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The numerous rooms contained memorabilia (including David Gilmour’s black Strat) and culminated with a video of three live performances, including Comfortably Numb.
Saturday: U2 and Noel Gallagher
About the time we had booked our travel, U2 announced their European Joshua Tree Tour dates and—unbelievably—they were going to be playing Twickenham Stadium, London the night before our Hyde Park concert. We booked tickets.
U2 is always fantastic live, but to see them at a rugby stadium on the outskirts of London took the experience to another level—especially since Noel Gallagher of Oasis opened for them. We didn’t realize how big Oasis was in England until we were in the middle of 50,000+ fans swaying and singing along to every song. Noel joined U2 on stage for a final encore of Don’t Look Back in Anger, a magical moment and one that Noel dedicated to the victims of the recent Manchester terrorist attacks.
Getting to Twickenham Stadium wasn’t hard (Tube to Kew Gardens—which we visited—and short Uber ride to the stadium). We knew that getting back, however, was going to be an adventure. Post-concert Uber surge pricing was ridiculously expensive. We opted instead to just “follow the crowd” and a couple of miles later made it to a Tube station which eventually got us back to central London.
Sunday: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks, The Lumineers
Sunday was the British Summer Time Music Festival. We stopped for a pre-concert lunch at the original Hard Rock Café (Eric Clapton’s Strat was still hanging above the bar where he had left it) and then walked around Hyde Park.
We had Gold Circle tickets giving us access to a special area with food, drinks, restrooms, etc. and an area closer to the stage. We missed the opening two bands, but arrived—Pimm’s in hand—in time for The Lumineers, a fantastic alternative folk-rock band from Colorado.
Next up was Stevie. She said she was going to play a number of songs she didn’t normally play (which was great for us since we know all of them). She’s still quite amazing!
Tom Petty walked on stage to an overwhelming response. In his Southern drawl, he said, “We’re going to play the very first song off our very first album,” as they opened with Rockin’ Around (With You), then Mary Jane’s Last Dance, all the way through the finale with American Girl.
Tuesday: Liverpool and The Beatles
On Monday we drove from London to Liverpool (stopping by Stratford-upon-Avon along the way) and checked in to the Hard Days Night Hotel. On Tuesday we followed in the steps of The Beatles.
Liverpool is deserving of it’s own blog post, so we’ll just share a couple of pictures here.
We started with The Beatles Story, an exhibition similar to the Pink Floyd experience of a few days earlier. We also booked the Magical Mystery Tour which took us to each of the Beatles houses and other Beatles sites. We finished with drinks in The Cavern Club listening to live Beatles music.
We plan trips in different ways. Sometimes they’re geographical (though we’re always on the lookout for “hidden gems”). This trip was different, starting with a single concert event and then growing into a Rock & Roll themed Adventure. It’s certainly An Adventure that we’ll never forget!