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World Cup: Live makes way for football fever

Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Chic and All Saints are all making concessions for World Cup fever, as the 2018 edition of the world's most-watched sports event nears its end

By IQ on 11 Jul 2018

Beyoncé and Jay-Z's On the Run II tour touches down at the Stade de France after the World Cup final

Beyoncé and Jay-Z's On the Run II tour touches down at the Stade de France after the World Cup final


image © Live Nation

A host of live events in the UK, including major concerts and comedy shows, are being pushed back or altered to accomodate tonight’s Fifa World Cup semifinal, which sees England do battle with Croatia to determine France’s opponents in Sunday’s final.

The last time England were in the semis was 1990, and with the country in the throes of World Cup fever – the Lightning Seeds’ Euro 96 classic ‘Three Lions’ is on course for this week’s no1 single – concert promoters and venues are reluctant to go up against the once-in-a-generation fixture. (Emily Sandé discovered this the hard way when England played Colombia in the knock-out stages during her show on 3 July, and, “halfway through [the] piano ballad ‘Clown’, the most delicate song in her setlist, a raucous cheer broke out from the crowd” after Eric Dier’s penalty kick put England through to the quarter finals.)

Both Justin Timberlake, who is playing the O2, and Niles Rogers and Chic, who are performing at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, will screen the 7pm match before their shows, with Chic promoter Cuffe & Taylor electing to bump Sister Sledge off the bill in favour of the Three Lions.

“We fully understand that when it comes to England reaching the semifinals of the World Cup, people feel torn if they have other plans,” says Cuffe & Taylor director Peter Taylor. “Therefore, we’ve decided it is only right to show the big game on our stage screens so everyone who is attending the Nile Rodgers and Chic show can still see England perform, too.”

Girl group All Saints, who are playing Electric Brixton (1,500-cap.) in London, will now take to the stage at the later time of 9.30pm. “The people have spoken and we have listened,” reads a statement from the venue. “We’ll now be showing [the] World Cup semifinal match on a huge screen before our All Saints Show.”

Comedians Jason Manford and Chris Ramsey, meanwhile, have axed stand-up gigs in Stevenage and Ulverston, respectively, with Manford tweeting that he’s “bow[ing] under the weight of an expectant and hopeful nation”. Both shows will be rescheduled for a later date.

One event that won’t be showing the football is DEAG/Kilimanjaro Live’s Kew the Music, which continues in Kew Gardens, west London, tonight. A Kew Gardens spokesperson says while it won’t be showing the football ahead of this evening’s Gipsy Kings show, which kicks off at 8.45pm, it will be displaying the scores around the concert site.

AEG’s British Summer Time – halfway through its free-to-access midweek programme, ahead of another weekend of music from Paul Simon, Michael Bublé and Bruno Mars – will screen the game in Hyde Park tonight, after handing out 30,000 free tickets in a ballot yesterday afternoon.

As for the songs that will be played at Luzhniki Stadium for the match itself, Queen’s sporting anthem ‘We Will Rock You’ joins Imagine Dragons’ ‘Thunder’ and two K-pop hits, BTS’s ‘Fake Love’ and EXO’s ‘Power’, as the soundtrack for the evening. The songs emerged as the top four choice in a poll organised by Fifa, which saw around five million people vote on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Looking ahead to the weekend, and Sunday 15 July’s France vs England/Croatia final, several live music events have similarly confirmed their intention to screen the game. According to the NME, Latitude, Citdel and Lovebox in the UK will be showing the final (with Paul Simon-headlined BST expected to follow), as well as Dour Festival in Belgium.

In France, meanwhile – the one nation confirmed to be in Sunday’s match – even hip-hop royalty are making way for the World Cup. Beyoncé and Jay-Z will play to a jubilant/despondent crowd at the Stade de France on Sunday night, following a screening of the game prior to the show.

“Twenty years after the French team’s first World Cup win, Beyoncé and Jay-Z invite those who have a ticket for their concert to present themselves at the Stade de France at 4pm in order to be able to enjoy, on the stadium’s big screens, […] the Blues’ final victory,” reads a statement from Live Nation France.

 


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