Paul McCartney, Elton John to mark Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Although the months-long celebration officially kicked off Monday (2/6), the event will culminate June 3-5 with a long weekend of one preposterously posh event after another on the Royal Calendar, highlighted by the U.K.'s official June 4 holiday and 60th anniversary of the Queen's ascendance to the throne.
In addition to McCartney and John, the June 4 concert at London's Buckingham Palace will also feature Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Madness, Annie Lennox and Cliff Richard, among others. The concert, which will take place on several stages around sited around the Queen Victoria Memorial, is being organized by avowed royalist Gary Barlow, a member of British pop singing sensations Take That.
"The Diamond Jubilee concert will celebrate the 60 years of the Queen's reign with an amazing line-up of world class artists coming together to play at one of the biggest and most exciting live music shows in recent years," Barlow said in a statement.
"With Buckingham Palace as a backdrop, it's going to be a fantastic event which transcends multiple decades of music."
The British government will give away 5,000 free tickets to the event through a national lottery. Hopefuls have until March 2 to apply online or by post for the freebies. Authorities expect 20,000 people in attendance.
Not everyone was pleased with the planned event, however. "Where are the Sex Pistols when you need them?" asked Andrew Eaton-Lewis in an article published Wednesday (2/8) in Edinburgh's The Scotsman newspaper, calling the "lack of a genuinely subversive response to the anniversary ... more than a little disappointing" and noting that the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebration in 1977 was mercilessly lampooned by the burgeoning punk, including the Sex Pistols' infamous anti-tribute, "God Save the Queen," which was banned by the BBC for including such winning lines as "God save the Queen, a fascist regime."
Eaton-Lewis said he wasn't "suggesting they (the Pistols) play Buckingham Palace," just that the proceedings lacked a certain anarchic element this time around. He went on to call Barlow a "social-climbing sycophant," as if to stir the pot some.