British Prime Minister Tony Blair entertained Bill and Hillary Clinton along with Helmut Kohl, Jacques Chirac and other heads of state at a G8 Summit rock concert in Birmingham this past weekend. Performers included Simply Red's Mick Hucknall, Jools Holland, All Saints, Chris Rea and the Voice of Gospel. The night was typical for Blair, who once played guitar in a college rock band called "Ugly Rumors." The British press has dubbed his regime "Cool Britannia."
Two songs by All Saints were received cooly. The British press found the most notable thing about the performance to be the obviously pregnant state of the group's Melanie Blatt, who made no attempt to hide her budding belly with an above-the-navel short shirt. Blatt's partner is Jamiroquai's Stuart Zender.
Reuters reports that while the artists were all British, the night had a distinctly American flavor, which may (or may not) account for the absence of Boris Yeltsin, who opted to skip out of the
Mick Hucknall, Blair's most avid supporter in rockdom, paid tribute to Frank Sinatra. Rea sang a song about Texas. The Voice of Gospel, who closed the show to a standing ovation by Presidents and Prime Ministers alike, had roots deep in the American south.
Holland played with his 12-piece Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and received a hardy return wave from the Clintons as they bopped to songs including "Let the Good Times Roll."