Orange RockCorps 2009!
Stars Light Up The Royal Albert Hall
Whoever the brains behind the Orange RockCorps are, they should really get a pat on the back from our country and its capital leaders Mr Brown and Mr Johnson (BoJo to his private school chums), as they have created a simple concept which services to provide an incentive to give back to the community under the simplest assertion of ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’.
I’ve been to a lot of gigs in my good old 24 years, and as gig atmospheres go, you really couldn't get any better than the Royal Albert Hall on the 26th September 2009. With the historic venue heaving full with excitable volunteers - each being rewarded for a few hours of work in the community - frantic chatter and palpable anticipation resonates up to the vast ceilings and beyond. And what a night they are in for. When the line-up was announced I already had one foot in the door!
With an abundance of the heist-tier of pop culture talent featuring the likes of Razorlight, Kelly Rowland and hip-hop legend Nas the niht was set to be memorable. David Guetta kicked off events to an energetic reception. Whilst getting into the motion of things, the crowd got a welcome surprise when superstar Akon appeared to assist with hit single ‘Sexy Bitch’, turning the volume up further and sending people into frenzy. Even amongst the usually ‘stiff’ press I could feel a slight loosening of the ‘critique’ atmosphere, which was confirmed when a guy with the worst case of dandruff I had seen in a while was doing the ‘Migraine Skank’, or what seemed like it… No sooner had he departed, when the incredibly beautiful Kelly Rowland took her place on stage for massive anthem ‘When Love Takes Over’, uniting the whole venue in song and dazzling us in her stunning dress.
After such an impressive start, dubstep pedlars Chase And Status had a lot to live up to. Despite a good crowd reaction, they failed to live up to expectation and rushed through track after track with little inspiration and crowd involvement - toilet break time. Even an appearance from rapper Plan B did little to lift things, and they departed knowing they probably could have done better. It was a prime example of the difficulty of transferring a good song from the studio to the stage,
However, the standout moment of the night was taken by the energetic Akon, returning to the stage for a surprise solo set. And he did not disappoint; even wading into the crowd to shake the hands of the thousands reaching outwards.
Impressive appearances from Daniel Merriweather and the legendary Nas who performed the classic anthem ‘If I Ruled The World’ to take proceedings toward conclusion, with a resurgent Razorlight who filled the penultimate slot with a slick performance. Cue then, the biggest cheer of the night as hip hop stalwart Nelly took to the stage, stirring the crowd up to a riotous cacophony for one last set. He Played hits including ‘Ride Wit Me’ and ‘Hot In Herre’, his energy levels never drop and he remained buoyant to the last moment.
The moment I was looking forward to acted as a more than fitting finale, as Kelly Rowland for the irresistible ‘Dilemma’. The twosome oozed charisma and ensured 5,000 volunteers and 1 press girl went home with large smiles on their faces.