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God Save the Queen('s Party)

Party At The Palace: The Queen's Concerts - Various Artists
(Virgin Records)
2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: July 9, 2002

Party Palace

Review by Holiday Girod

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne, England decided to throw a little party in honor of the good mum's Golden Jubilee, inviting a mixed bag of musical guests that ranged from MTV's once-prince of pop fodder, Phil Collins to MTV's now-hip metal father, Ozzy Osbourne.
Apparently Virgin Records felt that the selling power of this puffy party on CD would be as big as something like a Live Aid 2002, as they rushed this disc to market in just a little over a month from the date of the concert.
While the juxtapositions between artists like Cliff Richard and Ozzy seem interesting enough, most of the disc features tired warhorses of songs from tired warhorses of artists long past their prime. The majority of the concert presented on this single disc, unfortunately, feels like one of the many overblown, star-studded MTV music festivals from the '80s. Sir Elton John, who was recently knighted by the Queen for his contributions to music (apparently her hi-fi must've broke after Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), turns in a stale performance of one of his weaker latter-day hits "I Want Love," while MTV's '80s poster boy Bryan Adams delivers his prelude to the "Chicken Dance" with a dated take on his modern wedding reception standard "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)." Eric Clapton performs (surprise!) "Layla" for the seven millionth time, but thankfully has turned up the tempo a bit and added a touch of gospel and funk to the number. Even Sir Paul (McCartney - the other recently knighted musician to show up) managed to take the wind out of the sails of his own Beatles classic, "Hey Jude."
While the overall feeling of this show is dated and pompous, there were a few artists that did turn in interesting performances. 1960s lounge lizard and on-stage panty hoarder, Tom Jones, delivered some funky, blue-eyed blues on "You Can Leave Your Hat On," leaving one wondering if Lizzie was able to leave her own dewy knickers on during this bump-and-grind number. Shirley Bassey turned in a dry, sexy version of her 1964 hit from the James Bond film "Goldfinger," while Joe Cocker showed the knighted Beatle how to do a Fab Four song properly with an impassioned take on "With A Little Help From My Friends." The, somewhat surprising and welcome, inclusion of Rod Stewart's early '70s track "Handbags & Gladrags" made one remember that, like Sir Elton and Sir Paul, this artist's best material was long behind him.
Nobody really expected The Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten to be invited to spit out "God save the Queen, she ain't no human being," but, had he crashed the party, it might've helped put a little ginger into this bloated bash.

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