Recent rumours about Stevie Wonder’s health were cleared up by the soul legend himself this weekend. He has a kidney donor lined up and will undergo a transplant in September. That meant this show, his third appearance in Hyde Park in this decade, will be one of his last for some time. Understandably he went with a bang.
The night was billed as a Stevie Wonder Song Party. London was certainly ready to celebrate, with numerous faces daubed in the rainbow paint of the earlier Pride event.
However, volume problems prevented full euphoria. Hits such as Master Blaster (Jammin’) and Higher Ground were met with chants of “Turn it up!” An odd interlude saw a DJ spinning classics by Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. Usually a cover for a star’s fag break, Wonder remained bobbing up and down centre stage.
Other strange moments included minor singer Daley being introduced as though he was a household name, and the better-known Corinne Bailey Rae, after a lovely duet on Creepin’, being thanked as “Corinne Rae Bailey”.
But at the points when the large band lined up classics and kept them flowing – Sir Duke, I Wish, Living for the City – a Stevie Wonder Song Party seemed like one of the Hyde Park bookers’ better ideas.