Music for the Marsden

Music for the Marsden

The Music for the Marsden charity concert raised £1 Million for the hospital’s new cancer facility. Gary Brooker of Procol Harum assembled a stellar line-up of musicians including Yusuf / Cat Stevens, Sir Tom Jones, Bonnie Tyler, Eric Clapton, Sir Van Morrison, Mick Hucknall, Mike Rutherford, Rick Wakeman, Nick Mason, Zucchero, Paul Young, Paul Jones and more to perform at London’s O2 Arena on a night that won’t easily be forgotten. Hit after hit filled the air as each artist sang their support for a most worthy cause.

Following a virtuosic solo performance of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ Rick Wakeman introduced Yusuf and accompanied him on a scintillating rendition of ‘Morning Has Broken’. Prior to performing, the two men shared a meaningful moment together. Rick actually played the piano part on the 1971 Cat Stevens version of the song and yet this was the first time the two had met since that recording. Despite having to be quickly reacquainted with the structure during soundcheck, Rick performed the piece perfectly. Yusuf’s voice was clear and true and they demonstrated a delightful musical chemistry. 

Yusuf then treated the audience to a terrific version of ‘Wild World’. It commenced with a syncopated reimagining of the song’s introduction which then gave way to the familiar groove and melody. From the side of the stage you could see a lifetime of memories flicker across the faces of audience members for whom the song has been a long-serving, loyal companion. The famous chorus filled the auditorium, its bitter-sweet sentiment seeming to perfectly fit the mood of the occasion.

The audience used their phones to create a sea of stars for Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ and Mick Hucknall blew the roof off with a particularly uplifting version of ‘Something Got Me Started’. His soulful voice supported by an explosive horn section was a real highlight. Backstage, Yusuf and Sir Tom Jones reminisced about old times and shared a joke or two. Later, they watched Van Morrison and Eric Clapton bring a lot of blues to the occasion from the side of the stage. Gary Brooker rounded the evening off with a stunning version of ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ and then the legends all gathered one final time for an encore of The Beatles classic, ‘All You Need Is Love’. 

To have such a glittering array of talent come together is credit to Gary Brooker and all who helped him organise the event, however, it also speaks to the importance of continuing the fight against cancer. The £1 Million raised will go towards the building of The Royal Marsden’s Oak Cancer Centre, a state of the art research and treatment facility that will have a real and positive impact on countless lives.

Images courtesy of royalmarsden.org