With just an hour to go before the Queen's Jubilee Concert, the sun broke through the clouds above Buckingham Palace and the drizzle that had threatened to dampen proceedings halted, and patriotic crowds began to stream through the golden gates.
The 10,000 people lucky enough to have attended the Queen's Jubilee Picnic in the afternoon came laden with a wicker hamper stuffed with food treats created by Michelin star chef Heston Blumenthal, including the apt Coronation chicken.
For those just arriving, it was rain macs and Union Jack flags they clutched in their hands, along with the goodie bag handed out to everyone, once they had successfully passed through the ID checks and metal detectors that made up security.
A sea of flags outside the Palace
From red, white and blue wigs, to hats made from balloons, patriotic headgear was all the rage in the crowd, who raced to the front of the stage for the best view of the show that Gary Barlow and his team planned for the nation in celebration of the Queen's 60 years on the throne.
Barlow's best friend and Take That band member Robbie Williams opened the show. His raucous performance of Let Me Entertain You, flanked by the Coldstream Guards, got the crowds on their feet and frantically waving their flags as the first of many fireworks were let off into the sun.
Robbie Williams was given the responsibility of opening the show
The young musicians such as Cheryl Cole, Jessie J, Ed Sheeran and JLS performed their chart hits, but it was the golden oldies that really got the crowd going. Sir Tom Jones, who's been performing hits for only ten years less than the Queen has reigned, had the crowd wailing "Why, why, why?" to his 1968 hit Delilah and Dame Shirley Bassey captivated the audience as she belted out her Bond anthem Diamonds Are Forever, as sparkling diamonds were projected onto the Palace walls.
As the sun went down the crowds swapped cold beers and ciders for tea and coffee to stave off the chill. One thing was for certain - nobody wanted to leave this concert early, even if we could no longer feel our fingers.
It wasn't just music on offer. The hosts of the night including Lenny Henry, Lee Mack, Rob Brydon and Miranda Hart cracked their funniest yet politest gags for the royal audience. The simple sight of Peter Kay dressed as a Beefeater got the crowds roaring the loudest, only matched when Prince Charles referred to Her Majesty as "Mummy" during his thank-you speech.
Musical highlights included Kylie Minogue performing a medley of hits in her hotpants, Madness chanting It Must Be Love from the rooftop of the Palace - it was as if we all suddenly remembered what a good tune it was - and Stevie Wonder getting everyone's hips moving (I definitely spotted some dad-dancing) as he sang his infectious Superstition.
Madness (top right) take their turn on the roof, singing Our House
Oh, and then there were Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John, for whom the crowd stamped their feet for more songs, shouting out their favourites - as if these consummate performers were going to take requests on a night that had been planned down to the last note for the past two years.
One of the most touching moments of the night - when the atmosphere was filled with a sense of purpose and celebration - was when the 200-strong performers from across the Commonwealth took to the stage to perform Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sing, a song created specifically for the occasion.
But out of all the excitement, the cheers, claps and waves, no one received a better reception than Her Majesty. This wasn't any ordinary musical concert, these music-goers very clearly knew who the real star of the show was - no Grammy-Award winners, multi-platinum record sellers or international superstars received the same amount of devotion and outpouring of affection as the Queen. Even the absent Duke of Edinburgh had his name chanted to the rafters in a bid to raise her spirits.
As the sound of over 250,000 people singing the National Anthem crept along the Mall to the front of the stage, and the largest Union Jack flag I've ever seen was projected onto the Queen's home, even I, by no means a fan of the monarchy, was hard-pushed not to feel patriotic.
The brilliant firework display
To top it all, a spectacular array of screaming and blasting fireworks were let off over the Palace and almost every concert- goer stayed till the bitter, freezing-cold end to saviour each last moment of this momentous occasion.
Diamond Jubilee concert stars in action...
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