Plug pulled on Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney in London

Bruce Springsteen, left, and guitarist Steve Van Zandt perform during Saturday's Hard Rock Calling Festival in London's Hyde Park, were concert officials pulled the plug after Springsteen broke curfew.
(Jim Dyson / Getty Images)

Sir Paul McCartney or no Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and the ex-Beatle were told “you can’t do that” when they ran past the curfew time imposed on concerts in London’s Hyde Park, causing organizers of the festival they were playing Saturday to pull the plug on the closing minutes of their performance.

Springsteen and the E Street Band were headlining the Hard Rock Calling Festival at Hyde Park, where Springsteen played in 2009 in a show released last year on DVD, and after a three-hour set, he called McCartney up for an encore of “Twist and Shout/La Bamba” and “I Saw Her Standing There.”

Here’s some video footage before the audio was cut.


But before they could finish, festival officials cut the power, citing a 10:30 p.m. curfew on Hyde Park events.

“It was unfortunate that the three-hour-plus performance by Bruce Springsteen was stopped right at the very end, but the curfew is laid down by the authorities in the interest of the public’s health and safety,” said a statement posted on the Hard Rock Calling website. “Road closures around Hyde Park are put in place at specific times to make sure everyone can exit the area in safety.”

E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt tweeted: “English cops may be the only individuals left on earth that wouldn’t want to hear one more from Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney! On a Saturday night! Who were we disturbing?” He also wrote: “There’s no grudges to be held. Just feel bad for our great fans. ... It’s some City Council stupid rule.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson seemed to side with Van Zandt, criticizing the decision to halt the show: “It sounds to me like an excessively efficacious decision. If they’d have called me, my answer would have been for them to jam in the name of the Lord!”

But the support wasn’t unanimous. Writing for the Guardian, reporter Michael Hann said, “I don’t blame Live Nation for cutting the sound on Springsteen and Paul McCartney‘s romp through ‘Twist and Shout/La Bamba,’ rather than risk losing their licence to put on shows in Hyde Park. Much as I love the E Street Band, Steve Van Zandt’s tweets that ‘We break curfews in every country’ and describing the UK as ‘a police state’ were the reactions of someone playing in a band whose every whim is usually indulged.”

McCartney also has been known to keep playing despite time limits. At his 2009 performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., he ran 50 minutes past the show’s curfew, generating a $50,000 fine -- at $1,000 per minute -- for promoter Goldenvoice. The following night, the Cure was cut off about 30 minutes after it continued playing in spite of the curfew. Prince and Art Brut also have violated Coachella’s curfew.


Others note that Hyde Park is near some of London’s wealthiest residents, and there’s long-standing tension between those residents and tens of thousands of rock fans who jam the park for large-scale concerts like the three-day Hard Rock Calling fest, which featured Soundgarden closing Friday night and Paul Simon on Sunday. Also on the bill of dozens of acts across four stages were John Fogerty, Iggy & the Stooges, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Lady Antebellum, Tom Morello & the Nightwatchman, Christina Perri, the Mars Volta and Big Country.

Earlier in his set, Springsteen had brought Fogerty and Morello up to join him.


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