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Stars perform for British queen's diamond jubilee concert

(Xinhua)

08:12, June 05, 2012

LONDON, June 4 (Xinhua) -- British Queen Elizabeth II on Monday joined a crowd of tens of thousands at a concert of pop, rock, and classical music held on a stage outside Buckingham Palace as one of the highlights of the four-day Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The Queen, who this year celebrates 60 years on the British throne, was accompanied by her son Prince Charles as her husband Prince Philip was taken ill during the afternoon.

At the climax of the three-hour concert, the Queen lit a fire beacon, the final beacon in a series of 4,200 beacons to be lit in celebration across Britain and the Commonwealth, of which she is the head.

Among the entertainers who performed in the concert was the Chinese piano star Lang Lang.

When speaking to Xinhua in the final dress rehearsals earlier in the day, Lang Lang said "This is a very special occasion; it is a celebration for the Queen and also it is the year of the Olympics in London. We can see the strength of the attraction of this celebration, there are top artists, and I'm happy to play with them."

"I was happy to meet the Queen. We had met before, she is nice and easy-going," he added.

Among the other performers were international stars such as Australian Kylie Minogue, Americans Stevie Wonder and opera singer Renee Fleming, along with leading British stars such as former Beatle Paul McCartney, Elton John, Robbie Williams, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, and Ed Sheeran.

Gary Barlow, a member of "Take That" band, joined Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of Phantom of the Opera to create the Diamond Jubilee anthem "Sing," which was performed at the concert by a band of more than a hundred performers drawn from member countries of the Commonwealth.

Another highlight of the show came as one of Britain's most popular bands, Madness, performed a hit single from the 1980s "Our House" from the roof of Buckingham Palace.

A total of 18,000 people were invited to watch the show, 10,000 of whom had won their tickets in a ballot, and the remaining 8,000 tickets going to members of charities associated with the royal family.

Despite cold weather and heavy rain on Sunday night, many people camped out in the Mall, the wide ceremonial thoroughfare leading up to Buckingham Palace, to get a spot within earshot when the concert took place, and organizers estimated that 70,000 people had filled the Mall to capacity with tens of thousands more in the neighboring St James' Park and Green Park.

Diamond Jubilee celebrations will conclude on Tuesday with a service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, followed by a luncheon for 700 in Westminster Hall and a ceremonial procession through the center of London.

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