“So… This is what 74 looks like”, said Carole King midway through playing the whole of her album Tapestry in concert for the first ever time at Hyde Park on Sunday. The crowd roared and for a mind-drift moment I thought she was referring to a year of song. Wrong. She is what 74 looks like and she looks amazing. Not in any faux smooth lined and frozen faced way but in a my-body-and-face-express-my-life sort of way, and this is the result. She oozed passion, energy and style. Every song was pitch perfect and performed with total heart and soul commitment. Knowing the entire album by heart, I sang along remembering - like many others - moments of my life to which Carole's voice had provided the soundtrack. First loves and first flat-shares featured massively; and friends of course.
It was emotional; but what moved me most of all was thinking about the wonder of transformation and what happens when performers take over a space. The Great Oak Stage came to life at 8.15 pm on Sunday evening and all at once we were transported to settings, locations and occasions as Tapestry stirred our memories. A piano, a performer and a place galvanised 57,000 disparate spirits into harmonious union – and the magic was sprinkled by a 74-year-old woman!
Age cannot wither nor custom stale her infinite variety. Go Carole.
Talking about age (after you're 40) is something most of us tiptoe around with care, rather than holding our heads high and proud. No such neurosis seems to consume Glenda Jackson, who turned 80 in May. Glenda is soon to be appearing eponymously in Shakespeare's epic late play King Lear at London’s iconic Old Vic theatre – no quiet return to the stage for her. It's a mammoth part requiring mental agility, physical strength and emotional flexibility. It's not for the faint hearted. Glenda, like Carole, is doing what comes most naturally to her - walking onto a stage and producing alchemy. There is no age restriction to performing and there shouldn't be any age related prejudice against those that wish to do so.
Carole and Glenda we salute you.
Here come the girls.