London Hyde Park

There were storms - both barometric and emotional...

It starts with [a]Travis[/a], sunshine, and ‘WHY DOES IT ALWAYS RAIN ON ME?’. It ends in clear skies, and [a]Lionel Richie[/a], QUEEN, MARTINE McCUTCHEON, SUGGS and MARTI PELLOW singing ‘WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS’. In between the sublime and the ridiculous at PARTY IN THE PARK, there were storms – both barometric and emotional.

The persistent rain in Hyde Park does its bit to unleash electrical gremlins on Party In The Park, the now-annual Prince’s Trust/Capital Radio pop co-production.

Gabrielle and Kylie Minogue are particularly afflicted, with onstage sound lapses and slippery floors frustrating both divas.

But the 100,000 people present in the audience couldn’t care less about the rain, though, as Steps, Destiny’s Child, Savage Garden, Truesteppers, Craig David, Five, Sisqo, Chicane and Bryan Adams, Moloko, Ronan Keating, Billie Piper, Dum Dums, Bon Jovi, Honeyz, Christina Aguilera, Westlife, David Gray, The Corrs, Elton John and The Backstreet Boys, Texas, All Saints, Sonique, Mel C and Bryan Adams and Artful Dodger keep up nine hours of non-stop hits – even though an estimated five out of the 30-plus turns actually sing or play live.

In a sensible measure, which will be suggesting to all future festival promoters, all the stars are limited to two or three songs, making Party In The Park a day of all-to-wall hits and no flab. Collaborations include Victoria Beckham joining Truesteppers and former Another Level star Dane Bowers, Craig David and an all-star UK garage cast (Artful Dodger, Sweet Female Attitude, DJ Luck and MC Neat) for a medley of every garage hit to date, Backstreet Boys backing up Sir Elt, Mel C going all girly again and rekindling her hit ‘When You’re Gone’ with Bryan Adams, and Five doing ‘We Will Rock You’ with Queen.

Prince Charles turns up and waves an umbrella at the assembled throng, while backstage, David Beckham watches his wife Posh easily trounce Mel C in the solo Spice reinvention stakes.

A suddenly very blonde Billie Piper only does one song, and is shown up by Christina Aguilera, one of the day’s top draws. Most popular on the scream-ometer are Craig David, Sisqo and Westlife. However, Stephen Gately fails to show, due to kidney pains following recent surgery to remove stones from his said organs. And did we mention it rained?