The “Concert for Diana” Wasn’t Just a Concert: Her Legacy Lives On in Her Sons’ Commitment to Humanity
by Daisy Tormé
Sunday the Concert for Diana was aired live on VH1 and yes, I found myself huddled in front of the TV watching the entire thing along with millions of other viewers. The concert was organized from the ground up by "the heir and the spare", Princes William and Harry, as a tribute to the life - rather than the death - of their late mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 46th birthday. (Thank you, VH1, for showing this live, un-edited and not chock full of commercials.)
Since the first few opening images of the concert were of a young and very much alive Diana, I began to wonder if this was going to be a weep-fest: her sons had deliberately chosen very powerful visuals. My fleeting concern soon slipped away and was replaced by a strong sense of pride in these two young men.
For two boys who spent so little time with their Mum (yet see her on magazine covers with great regularity), they seem to me to be very much like her and are both very loyal to the country. William, a bit shy, and a little quieter than most, seems thoughtful and very well aware that the future of Great Britain rests squarely on his shoulders. Harry, though more boisterous than his mother ever was, seems fully dedicated to his charity work and equally determined to walk in his mother's philanthropic footsteps.
In the meantime, while Prince Harry, upset but reconciled at being denied his chance to fight in Iraq, waits for a new assignment in the army, he and his elder brother William put together a concert of epic proportions in their mother's name. The memories of Diana remind us that she chose to make her every day life one of charity work. The pictures and videos helped us relive her generosity, her kindness and compassion, and even her bravery. It takes guts to walk through an Angolan minefield - not once but twice - understanding that the media needed to get their shot in order to fully show the world the horror that Angolans face daily. Each of the video clips was more moving than the previous, showing not the luxurious lifestyle of a princess, but the day to day efforts of a woman who truly cared about humanity.
The show itself was unbelievable, from classic rock artists like Elton John and Duran Duran, to the Royal ballet, to Andrea Boccelli, to P.Diddy and Kanye West. From Donny Osmond to Tom Jones to Lily Allen to Orson, the show covered every corner of music. It was an important show to see - a true celebration of so many art forms and one that touched me emotionally.
One moment stood out for me more than any other. About halfway through the show, Supertramp lead singer and songwriter Roger Hodgson sat alone at the end of the catwalk jutting out from the main stage and sang a medley of the band’s hits, knowing that Diana had enjoyed those particular songs. It was fun, but it's what came next that was so special. Getting up from the keyboard he'd been playing, Hodgson put his guitar around his neck and said,
"I'm going to do the next song that I wrote. It's called, Give a Little Bit, and I'd love it if you could all sing along with me, because it's a wonderful song with a wonderful message...and in these times, we really need to do that. So, let's sing! And if you want to stand up [and] clap - you know there's a whole world watching, so let's give them some good energy back out there!”
And what a moving moment it was. The crowd sang, the sax player who'd come out to do a solo stood with the backup singers, and he sang. And at my US home, I, along with my friends and the dogs, we sang. It was truly a moment of feeling like you were part of a movement to make the world a happier place, even if only for a few minutes.
Thanks to the concert, for a little while, I forgot about the terrorist events that hit the UK over the last few days. And as the concert refocused us on Diana's life, it also reminded us that despite fear, life does go on: we go on, and yes, the show must go on. London most certainly goes on. It has lived through World Wars I and II, through the Blitz and July 7th, and through IRA attacks, again and again.
I will be flying to England in less than a week, a little rattled by the events of the last few days, but determined nonetheless to spend some relaxed vacation days there. I may even stimulate the economy with a little shopping. Hey, we should all "Give a little bit," each in our own way!
About the Author
Daisy Tormé is the multifaceted performer daughter of jazz legend Mel Tormé and British actress Janette Scott. She has worked in film, television, stage, radio, PBS hosting, voice over and animation. When she’s not performing, Daisy volunteers with The Wellness Community, the Southern California Stroke Association and the Amanda Foundation.