BEATLES legend Sir Paul McCartney will headline a spectacular musical tribute to HRH the Queen in London to mark her Diamond Jubilee, organiser Gary Barlow has revealed.
The pop superstar will be among a concert line-up that will feature artists from across the 60 years of the monarch’s reign playing in front of Buckingham Palace on June 4, writes Graham Walker.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report of Gary Barlow’s announcement at the Palace.
Securing McCartney for the event’s bill is a major coup for Take That singer Barlow who is helping to organise the event.
The Take That star said: “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.
“With Buckingham Palace as a backdrop, it’s going to be a fantastic event which transcends multiple decades of music.
“It’ll be a great, unique, experience for the thousands attending, watching on TV and listening on Radio. I can’t wait.”
Among the performers will be Sir Elton John, Sir Tom Jones, Dame Shirley Bassey, Jessie J, boy band JLS and singer songwriter Ed Sheeran.
Also taking to the stage that will sited around the Queen Victoria Memorial will be Madness, Annie Lennox and Sir Cliff Richard.
The national ballot for 5,000 pairs of free tickets is launched today with people able to apply online or by post until just before midnight on March 2.
Tickets are not being allocated on a first-come first-served basis, and applications can be made via the website, bbc.co.uk/diamondjubilee, or by post by sending a postcard to The Diamond Jubilee Concert 2012, PO Box 798, Manchester M60 1WU.
Barlow said the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry had both requested artists to perform in front of an audience of more than 10,000 that will include the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family.”
He would not confirm if he or Take That would play on the night but said almost two-thirds of the acts had been confirmed and he hoped to go beyond Commonwealth artists and have American stars taking part.
The musician said he wanted other forms of entertainment such as ballet or performances from the West End to be represented and highlighted how classical acts had already been booked - English tenor Alfie Boe and virtuoso Chinese pianist Lang Lang.
He said those already signed up were excited at the prospect of playing: “I’ve found everyone I’ve talked to, people are really looking forward to this event.
“With the (royal) wedding, it certainly made me feel great - we are hoping this concert and occasion does the same thing.”
The two-and-a-half-hour concert will be televised live on BBC1 and BBC Radio 2 with tickets available to UK residents through a public ballot and demand for the show is likely to be high.
The event will begin on June 4 with the lucky applicants who have been picked to attend invited to a Jubilee picnic in the gardens of Buckingham Palace that afternoon before the performances start in the evening.
Additional tickets will also be awarded to charities that have associations with members of the Royal Family.
Barlow said he wanted the concert to be staged outside the palace grounds to give the event a more inclusive feel.
He said his experience of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 when he was a boy was of everyone coming together to celebrate: “That’s what we’re trying to do here, make this concert all-encompassing for everyone involved, that’s why I was so keen on moving it out of the back of the palace... and out the front.”
The singer added that this would enable crowds to congregate in The Mall and nearby Green Park to share the event he believes will attract 500,000 people.
Organisers are in discussions with various bodies about installing giant screens in the areas around the concert.
Barlow also said they would have to come up with something “newer and better” to top Queen guitarist Brian May’s scene-stealing performance at the Golden Jubilee concert in 2002, when he played the national anthem on the palace roof.
The unique concert stage around the Queen Victoria Memorial has been designed by world-renowned architect Mark Fisher, and it will make full use of the historic backdrop with spectacular lighting and projections.
Danny Cohen, controller of BBC1, said: “BBC1 is honoured to be the broadcast host of this magnificent concert to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. This will be a musical event like no other, with Britain’s greatest musical stars performing to celebrate this great occasion.”