- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2002

LONDON Buckingham Palace rocked last night with screaming guitars, cheering fans and pop stars led by Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton in a concert celebrating Queen Elizabeth's 50 years on the throne.
Guitarist Brian May of the group Queen, standing on the palace roof with his long hair flying in the breeze, opened the "Party at the Palace" with a solo performance of "God Save the Queen," while tens of thousands of fans waved the Union Jack flag in the plaza below the palace.
More than three hours later, the concert ended with Mr. McCartney singing a medley of Beatles' classics, such as "All You Need Is Love," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Hey Jude."
Some of the songs Mr. McCartney sang alone, some with rock stars from his generation such as Mr. Clapton, Rod Stewart, and Joe Cocker, and two in the finale numbers with all the other performers at the gala.
When the music ended, Queen Elizabeth led the royal family onto the stage to thank the performers. Her son, Prince Charles, then gave a speech thanking everyone for their participation in the Golden Jubilee and his mother for the five decades she has been queen.
"We feel proud of you, proud and grateful for everything you have done for your country and the Commonwealth over 50 extraordinary years supported throughout by my father," said the prince.
"You have embodied something vital in our lives: continuity. You have been a beacon of tradition and stability in the midst of profound, sometimes perilous, change," he told the queen.
At the end of the concert, a 14-minute fireworks finale lit up the sky around the palace along with 50 searchlights on the roof. The queen lit a huge beacon the final one in a series stretching through the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, and about 50 other Commonwealth countries.
One of the beacons was lighted yesterday atop Mount Kenya, not far from the Treetops camp in Kenya where a 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth learned of the death of her father, King George VI, on Feb. 6, 1952, and acceded to the throne.
At a morning parade in Windsor, about 16,000 people turned out to see the queen and Prince Philip at a jubilee parade. Crowds lined the streets, sometimes 15 deep, waving small flags and cheering as the couple took their seats to watch brass bands, Scout troops and school classes in homemade costumes marching past.
Looking relaxed and happy, the queen later walked along the road, stopping to talk with people in an unusually informal and lighthearted way.
"I wished her congratulations and said I hope she didn't wear herself out jiving around tonight too much," said Myrna Linegar from Taunton, in western England. "She just laughed and said thank you."
For the concert, an estimated 1 million people, undeterred by intermittent rain, had poured into the wide avenue of the Mall, parks and Trafalgar Square, where the stars could be seen on huge video screens, Scotland Yard said.
More than 12,000 lucky ticket holders were in the queen's back garden at the palace, standing and swaying to the music. Prince Charles and his sons, Princes William and Harry, laughed and cheered with the rest of the fans, while other young royals joined in the fun.
Prince William clapped enthusiastically at the arrival on the huge stage of S Club 7, and he and Prince Harry raised their hands over their head applauding for Ozzy Osbourne's performance of the Black Sabbath anthem "Paranoid."
Beach Boy Brian Wilson sang "California Girls" on his own before pairing with Mr. Clapton, then The Corrs, and finally pulling the audience and much of the rest of cast into "Good Vibrations."
Mr. Clapton returned with "Layla," accompanied by Phil Collins on the drums.
Tom Jones sang two songs, including one from the movie "The Full Monty," and the rock group Queen did four, with several artists singing the lead vocals of Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDS in 1991.
Prince Charles' companion, Camilla Parker Bowles, sitting in the third row of the royal box, led the clapping.
The crowd cheered wildly as the queen and Prince Philip showed up in the last half.
As with the classical concert held at the palace Saturday night, the pop celebration was being broadcast nationwide on television.


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