Thousands of Calling fans flocked to Clapham Common this past weekend for Calling Festival 2014 to jam with some of their favourite artists, including Joe Bonamassa, Gregory Porter, Paloma Faith, Jack Johnson and two of music’s biggest legends – Aerosmith and of course, Stevie Wonder!
There was tons happening on the site, from small bands playing in the hidden #BornToBeChilled Tuborg fridge, to a whole array of delicious, booze-friendly eats, a cocktail and champagne bar, photo booths… The list is endless!
Here are some of the highlights which made my Calling experience superb:
Talk about nostalgia and bringing back some childhood memories. Steven Tyler is still as eccentric as ever as a frontman – the definition of a true rock star! At one point during his performance he went into the audience and was totally overcome by his fans as they were singing, cheering and dancing around him… this was sure to make someone’s dream come true.
On a side note, Joe Perry was effortless with amazing guitar solos – talent at its best. One of my highlights was the sing-along to I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, where the crowd hugged and swayed along in unity – all probably reminiscing about Armageddon (just like me).
The crowd went crazy for the spine-tingling string of songs, including Love in an Elevator and Walk this Way. Aerosmith pulled off an awesome cover of the Beatles’ Come Together, which went down really well with this inspired audience who were buzzing. I reckon Aerosmith sure set the tone and raised the level for what awaited on day two of Calling.
Not deviating too far from her reputation as a rather eccentric dresser, Paloma’s rubber skirt and huge bird-nest style hat made of ginormous ostrich (I think) feathers sure wowed the crowd – as did her big, boisterous personality. Her wit about her look was great, commenting ‘Yes, Yes, I know I should be on someone’s bedside table.’ Her charm just oozed throughout her performance, and what I loved most about Paloma was her humility and awe, which surfaced when she spoke about Stevie and how she praised the opportunity of being able to perform on the same stage as him.
I must admit I never knew all of her music, but it sure is catchy and fun. Some of her set-list included Only Love Can Hurt Like This, Picking Up The Pieces and Stone Cold Sober. Her song Can’t Rely on You was fab and she added real feminism, talking about how women have to do everything; how they have to have the babies, how they have to cook, work and be available 24/7; and how she gets really agro when men demand things to be done. To me, she epitomises superwoman!
What can I say, hearing one of my all-time favourites live again was awesome. I just love his nonchalant, happy-go-lucky attitude and his chilled, feel-good songs.
Johnson joined the exclusive line-up as a precursor to Stevie Wonder, playing some of his classics, including Good People, Better Together and Sitting, Waiting, Wishing. He had all of the crowd head-bopping and swaying in harmony, humming and singing-along. I felt myself transported back to my younger days where Jack Johnson was always on the top of my playlist.
Talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity, or dare I say a #YOLO moment. Seeing Stevie Wonder rocking on stage just a few meters in front of me – priceless! Call me superstitious, but just as Stevie greeted the crowd, so did the glorious sun after the intermittent soggy-ground, hair-frizzing rain.
His two and a half hour performance showcased the very best of his history-making back catalogue – it included Superstition, Signed Sealed Delivered, My Cherie Amour and Living for the City. It was a truly unreal sight, seeing thousands of fans, young and old, dancing and singing in unison, all captivated by his talent. I even saw Gregory Porter and Paloma Faith dancing in the crowd just an arm’s length away.
There’s nothing more entertaining than some good banter. Stevie’s British impersonation of being from Brixton and speaking of himself in the third person was absolutely hilarious. He spoke about the deep stuff too: peace, love and guidance from above. For me, this added a personal element to his gig and showed that this legend is still grounded and real.
Being one of the most sought-after collaborators and musicians of our generation, he sure makes his singing, rhythm and instrument-playing look easy – which just proves that he sure lives up to his titles of both pro and legend. Basking in the presence of such a star will surely remain in the collective consciousness of all us die-hard fans for a long time, guaranteed.