The Rolling Stones on 1969 Hyde Park gig: 'There were an awful lot of butterfly casualties'
The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has spoken about his memories of playing Hyde Park in 1969 as the band get set to return there for a show on July 6.
The central London venue was the sight of the now-legendary concert that took place just two days after the death of Brian Jones. Mick Jagger sported a white smock and read a Shelley poem in tribute to Jones before thousands of butterflies were released from the stage.
"I remember lots of things about Hyde Park," drummer Charlie Watts told The Sun. "Going to pick my trousers up before I went to the Dorchester. Being at the Dorchester with Allen Klein [the Stones' manager in 1969] marching about like a little Napoleon."
He added: "The butterflies were a bit sad, really. They looked good from the audience, but actually if you were near them there were an awful lot of casualties…It was like the Somme before they even got off the ground."
Speaking about Jones' death, he recalled: "Brian’s death wasn’t unexpected. You didn’t expect him to die, but he wasn’t well for a long time, a couple of years. So it wasn’t as big a shock as if it had been Bill (Wyman), for example, you would have thought 'blimey'…But he was only young, you didn’t go at that age."
The Rolling Stones will perform at the central London park as part of the Barclaycard presents British Summer Time festival. Support on the day will come from The Vaccines, The Temper Trap, Gary Clark Jr and King Charles, plus Palma Violets, Tribes, The Boxer Rebellion and more across three other stages. Tickets go on general sale at 9am Friday, April 5, priced at £95.
Speaking about the announcement yesterday, Mick Jagger said: It's great to be playing the centre of London in July. It should be a beautiful evening." Moving on to talk about the last time the band played Hyde Park, when he performed wearing a white dress, Jagger continued: "It was a free concert, Brian Jones had recently died. There were a lot of nerves, it was a crazy thing to do. In the end it was a landmark concert."