Part one - From the pitch
Wembley Stadium and yesterday's bucket load of rain seems to be holding off for Will and Harry's Concert for Diana. Andy, the warm-up guy, divides the crowd into two - one half on William's team, the other Harry's. Sian and Hannah, young audience members from Gloucestershire, are clearly on the red-head's team, brandishing signs made from A4 paper screaming his name in bold red font.
Right. Time to get enthused with a karaoke battle between punters. They don't seem suitably lubricated enough for the Mexican wave just yet. Andy the warm-up guy goes to work.
*Doosh, Doosh, Thump, Doosh Doosh Thump*
‘Buddy you're a boy, make a big noise
Playin in the street gonna be a big man some day
You got mud on ya face
You big disgrace
Kickin your can all over the place'.
The 62,000 estimated crowd are about to settle in. Rosalyn and John Edwards from St Albans have brought their 27 year old twins along but have left them down the back to escape for a quiet beverage and a sneak peak of the action further up front. "My daughter wanted me to see Take That years ago, and then they broke up", says Rosalyn. Here's her second chance. They'll be playing a little later on.
The varied crew of musical acts gathered together to celebrate the life and times of the late Diana, Princess of Wales on what would have been her birthday have attracted a mixed bunch. Families from out of town, young teenagers, couples of all ages. Many have come for the one-off event vibe. Others have come to see some old favourites – Rod, Bryan, Tom. Rachel, Jenny and Hannah from Kent and Blackheath are all about the older set, despite their deceptively youthful cowboy hats. "We came to see Elton and Supertramp – Maybe we look younger than we really are!"
The gals get their wish early on. First up – it's Elton. The stage opens up and the wig wearing maestro brings the crowd to its feet with 'Your Song'. He introduces the royal hosts of the evening who arrive on stage to a high pitched shrill. Well done to the twenty something dolls sitting next to moi... 10 points for vocal effort, -3 for fashion sense. Kate Middleton is streets ahead girls.
Prince Will sets the tone for the party bash – a celebration of his mother's favourite music, dance and charities. Time for a bit of pop…
Simon Le Bon, with freshly tipped hair gets the eighties aficionados dancing as Duran Duran beat out 'Sunrise', the single from their album of 2004, Astronaut. But it's the follow up older hit that really get the Brit flag-bearers in a tizz. "This next one's dedicated to Princes William and Harry", screams Le Bon. 'Wild Boys'. Nice. Methinks they're on their best behaviour this evening.
Part two - From the plastic red seats
Slightly comfier, than the blue chairs down the front, spirits are high in the sea of red at Wembley Stadium.
Maneating Nelly Furtado gets the crowd in a spin with her hit from last year's 'Loose'. It's the first time during the concert everyone really gets up warmed up. The big screens catch a glimpse of the Princely duo enjoying her three-song set. Everyone is equally impressed with a performance of Act 4 from Swan Lake courtesy of the English National Ballet.
Post expensive Wembley snacks and a mini-break, its time to forget all about pirouettes with the onslaught of Status Quo. Actually, onslaught is possibly over-stating it. After all we aren't talking Pantera. Nevertheless Part Two of Concert For Diana has the red seats 'Rockin All Over the World' and the audience demonstrating an astute ability to clap and sway from side to side.
Dennis Hopper and Sienna Miller talk inspiration and freedom of expression as they introduce Devon soul diva and fan of aubergine hair dye, the colourful Joss Stone. Treating the crowd to Queen's 'Under Pressure', Joe and Andrea from Hertfordshire seem more impressed with her musical abilities than part-time Black-Eyed Pea and solo performer, Fergie who performed in Part One. "That Fergie is good for the young kids, but her skirt was a bit short for me", says Joe.
Roger Hodgson of Supertramp gets a taste of what having your music sampled by others can do, beyond providing a fat royalty cheque. Gym Class Heroes? Heard of them? The kids at Wembley seem to recognise the loop of Roger's Breakfast In America from current radio friendly track 'Cupid's Chokehold'.
Uh oh... new excitement. It's Mexican wave time people. Left side of stage currently has the upper hand. I make a lame attempt at standing up but kind of miss the moment and feel like I belong on the right side of the stadium where the not-so-quick-off-the-mark seem to be the majority.
X-files fox Gillian Anderson welcomes Sir Tom Jones to the stage who with a little help from Aerosmith's Joe Perry on guitar let's rip with one of Diana's fave tunes, Prince cover - 'Kiss'.
Will Young in a white suit gets a rousing reception and exhibits a little thing we like to call coordination. No point dwelling on what could have been. I move on.
Ok. Now its time for what three lovely pitch-side gents from Cambridgeshire came to catch... Not 'that buzz' but a somewhat older, yet still functioning Bryan Ferry. With a jacket that ticks the boxes on the wacky lapel front, Ferry looks quite the specimen. He's not nearly as old as the Cambridgeshire boys had suspected. 'Let's Stick Together' has the gents smashing their plastic cups together in unison.
The boys prepare themselves for a Lloyd-Webber mash-up. If there is such a thing. Perhaps Andrew has been taking tips from P.Diddy backstage.
Donny Osmond, Jason Donovan and Lee Mead (the three wise Josephs) close out a Lloyd Webber medley with with a Technicolor Dreamcoat sing-along. The Cambridge boys know every word.
Part three - From up in the stands
The celebrity love-in is well underway now. Kiefer Sutherland, with his resurrected status as A-list actor thanks to the US television's 24 gets up on stage to rapturous applause to introduce his 'friend' Rod Stewart. Kiefer and Rod. I would never have picked it, but there you have it.
There's been enough liquid gold flowing during the break to assure his opener 'Maggie May' proves a concert fave. Rod kicks footballs into the audience and they throw them back. The mandolin rings and Harry and William are captured on the big screen singing along with their mates in the royal box.
Right after Rod has everyone wailing with 'Sailing', a seven-minute blast of Kanye West (is this his first gig for charity?) gets the crowd bouncing to 'Gold Digger'. He even drops a bit of Daft Punk into his short but sweet set.
Jamie Oliver follows and is clearly wrapped to be part of the event. Huge cheers from right around Wembley Stadium. He tells everyone that he's here not to do the catering, but to represent Centrepoint - a charity for homeless young people. He welcomes yet another white suit to the stage along with his massive gospel choir and strings.
Enter P. Diddy.
He dedicates 'Missing You' to the Princess and gets the crowd chanting 'We love you, we love you'. Chris, Susan and Graham from Hertfordshire were remembering the moment they heard of Diana's death prior to the show. Listening to the radio they were made to take note when all the music stations switched over to the news. P. Diddy rallies the audience to remember her at this juncture.
The loudest cheer of the night comes for rich boy Beckham. The football star might as well be royalty too. He talks of England's favourite lady before introducing the act many in the crowd have been itching to see - reformed boy-band Take That. The Spice Girls can only hope to rise to such revived heights. Mark Owen struts the catwalk during 'Shine' before the crowd take over singing duties shouting along to their recent single 'Patience' and old hit 'Back For Good'.
Comedian Ricky Gervais, joined onstage by co-star from 'The Office', Mackenzie Crook provide laughs before technical difficulties force Gervais to stretch out his appearance while Elton 'gets ready'. People in the stands chant 'Dance, Dance', while Ricky doth protests, before predictably giving in. There's obviously never a 'last time' when it comes to pleasing a crowd this size. He continues to pad out the show by performing the 'Pug Face' track David Bowie dedicated to him in the second series of Extras.
There's a touch of restlessness before Elton finally arrives to close it out. 'Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting', 'Tiny Dancer' and 'Are You Ready' send the crowd off into the night. Not before the Princes give gratitude for everyone coming on their mother's 46th birthday. Elton urges everyone to stick around for a special video message from Nelson Mandela. Then the race to exit the stadium and fight for a cab begins.