LONDON // Concert organisers pulled the plug on rock stars Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney, silencing their microphones at the tail end of the show, after the pair defied the noise curfew at London's Hyde Park.
Springsteen had already exceeded the 10.30pm curfew by half an hour on Saturday when he welcomed McCartney on stage and the pair sang the Beatles hits I Saw Her Standing There and Twist and Shout. The microphones were then turned off before they could thank the crowd, forcing them to leave the stage in silence.
A statement from Live Nation, the concert organiser, said it was unfortunate that the three-hour-plus performance had been stopped "right at the very end".
It added that the curfew had been ordered by the authorities "in the interest of the public's health and safety".
Huge concerts in Hyde Park, a 140-hectare expanse that borders some of London's wealthiest neighbourhoods, have increasingly caused friction between fans and the area's well-heeled residents, many of whom gripe about the late-night noise and nuisance.
With complaints on the rise, officials have decided that as of next year, the number of concerts will be slashed from 13 to nine and crowd limits will be reduced from 80,000 to 65,000.
Steven Van Zandt, who plays guitar in Springsteen's E-Street Band, criticised Saturday's decision as heavy-handed.
"English cops may be the only individuals left on earth that wouldn't want to hear one more from Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney!" he wrote on Twitter. "On a Saturday night! Who were we disturbing?
"Seriously, when did England become a police state? It didn't ruin the great night. But when I'm jamming with McCartney don't bug me!" He added: "There's no grudges to be held. Just feel bad for our great fans. It's some city council stupid rule."
London's mayor, Boris Johnson, said yesterday that the singers should have been allowed to keep going.
"It sounds to me like an excessively officious decision," he told London radio. "You won't get that during the Olympics. If they'd have called me, my answer would have been for them to jam in the name of the Lord!"