Well, *that* was an experience and a half. After the road trip of a lifetime down to Worthy Farm to accompany The Rolling Stones during their headlining gig at Glastonbury at the end of June, Voce capped off their extraordinary summer with two more Saturday night gigs in London's Hyde Park, on 6 and 13 July 2013.
Mother Nature is clearly fond of Mick and Keef, as the sun shone relentlessly on the happy crowds during both evenings, bringing on a consumption of Pimm's that could perhaps be seen as slightly excessive; certainly the young reveler who we saw bellyflopping gleefully into a pile of open rubbish bags might have later regretted his intake. As the Official Stones Choir, however, Voce were of course on nothing but water at all times, downing litres of the stuff to keep our vocal chords in tip-top condition for our seven minutes of glory.
Despite not being able to luxuriate in the fruits of the hospitality bar, we made up for it in artists' catering, many choir members deliberately arriving unnecessarily early to allow enough time for the full range of delights, making room for the unexpected and delicious cheese platter, and a particularly fine Bakewell tart.
Fully sated, we changed into our best outfits and then warmed up outside our air-conditioned trailer, with members of the Stones' entourage joining us for our traditional 'massage chain', and other backstage guests mystifyingly choosing to record our arpeggios on their mobile phones.
With three songs to go before our performance, we got the call and calmly processed (read: hyperactively scampered) between the many trucks, trailers, golf buggies and tractors to the backstage zone, where clusters of swanky blacked-out cars clearly labelled MJ, KR, CW and RW were already awaiting their precious cargo. Up the ramp to stage level, where we were given our headset packs by (Saint) Thomas, the Stones' unbelievably patient and friendly sound man. Then into our two groups, stage left and stage right, and round to the back corners where we'd soon be filing on. Increasingly brave having performances under our belt, we peeked through the gaps in the backdrop, watching the ecstatic crowd clapping along and still unable to comprehend the massiveness of what we'd be doing moments later.
And suddenly, it was time, and our legs somehow carried us to the microphones, and we stood and looked out at the faces stretching as far back as we could see and further. And we listened to the roar of the 75,000, and then, in our ears, to the click of the metronome giving us our cue. As one, we started to sing, wanting to get it exactly right, to do this momentous gig justice, but also to allow ourselves the chance to soak up this unique moment. You Can't Always Get What You Want always went by all too quickly, Mick effortlessly working his magic as only he can, us trying not to let our huge grins engulf our faces altogether. As he thanked us, we took a bow, reluctantly but obediently walked off, whooped, hollered, hugged and jumped up and down a lot as the raw opening notes of Satisfaction cut through the night - and then it was done.
Our undying thanks go to The Rolling Stones, comfortably the best rock 'n' roll band in the world, and all their incredible musicians and crew. We'll never forget it - and neither will anyone who encounters us - for as long as we all shall live.
Voce sang with The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park, London, on Saturday 6 July and Saturday 13 July 2013. You can next see them perform on Friday 4 October, when they will be singing Mozart's Requiem by candlelight, with the London Youth Choir and the Brandenburg Sinfonia.