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Review London, Sat, 29 June 1996

no headline

Reuters, 29-06-1996

LONDON (Reuter) - Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and other legendary survivors from the 1960s brought rock music back to London's Hyde Park Saturday after a gap of 20 years.

Around 150,000 fans braved the unseasonally cold weather to see the aging rockers, and the organizers are confident another 120 million around the world will tune in soon to see the concert on television.

The Guardian newspaper said the event was "the middle-aged rock lover's wildest dream come true -- an all-day event with a line-up so stellar that Bob Dylan is only a support act."

"Bob probably hasn't been third on the bill since he was scuffling around Greenwich Village (in New York) in the 1960s," it added.

With Rolling Stone Ron Wood on guitar, Dylan played a rocking set leavened by an acoustic version of the rambling "Tangled Up in Blue," leaving to polite applause.

The Who reformed for the event to stage what was described as the "live debut" of their Quadrophenia album, already turned into a feature film in 1980. A film backdrop and star guests from the media and music world helped tell the story of Jimmy, struggling to come to terms with life amongst the Mods, the 1960s youth movement that claimed The Who as its own.

Zak Starkey, son of Beatle Ringo Starr, played drums. He was given his first drumkit by the Who's original drummer, Keith Moon, one of rock's famous drug casualties. Guitarist Pete Townshend has poor hearing, thanks to all the over-amplified gigs he has played over the years, and singer Roger Daltrey wore an eye-patch after Gary Glitter clobbered him with a microphone stand during a rehearsal Friday.

The 51-year-old Townshend refrained from the guitar-smashing that used to be his trademark, but the performance received a rapturous ovation.

Top-of-the-bill Eric Clapton started on acoustic guitar with perhaps his most famous song, Layla, and followed with a mixture of crowd favorites and old blues songs.

Clapton has been here before, in 1969, when his short-lived group Blind Faith made its debut in Hyde Park.

The other star of the event, Canadian Alanis Morisette, 22, was not even born then, but she earned her place on the bill thanks to the success of her album "Jagged Little Pill," a million-seller on both sides of the Atlantic.

The concerts of the 1960s and 1970s were free, often chaotic events, and anti-establishment lyrics were mandatory.

In contrast, Saturday's concert was sponsored by a credit card company, Mastercard, and raised money for a royal charity.

The fans had to fork out $12.50 for their music and were penned inside six miles of fencing. Alcohol was barred. Some $1 million was raised for Prince Charles's Prince's Trust, which helps young unemployed people.

The heir to the throne, who is known not to share his estranged wife Diana's love of pop music, stopped by to click his fingers to The Who and told Dylan backstage it was a shame he had missed his set.