By Up To Speed reporter Michael Dias, who was on board.
Singer James Blunt and 150 fans have soared from Stansted Airport into the Guinness Book of Records for the highest altitude concert ever performed.
‘Gig In The Sky’, organised by Heart FM and insurance group RSA (owners of More Than and celebrating their 300th birthday), saw a packed Boeing 767 reach an altitude of 42,000 ft, before the singer performed a 20-minute acoustic set.
Before the 1pm flight, James Blunt told reporters how he hoped to ‘smash’ the record held by Jamiroquai, who performed at 35,000 ft in February 2007.
Blunt and Jamiroquai front man Jay Kay are friends, and he said: “I will be phoning him as we land to rub his face in it.”
During the flight over East Anglia, Blunt sang five songs, including ‘You’re Beautiful’, ‘1973’ and a single from his new album, due to be released in November. A Guinness World Records official was on-board to confirm the attempt was a success, and awarded Blunt and Heart FM DJ Simon Dale a plaque in front of the cheering fans.
As the cabin crew served champagne to everyone on board, James Blunt went through the cabin signing autographs and having photos taken. The Heart FM listeners on the flight had all won a competition on the station’s shows and website, and were thrilled to meet their hero.
Christine Leamey, a personal assistant from Braintree in Essex, was the only participant to win tickets online. She said: “I couldn’t believe it when they phoned me and said I was a winner.”
Another Heart listener, 19-year-old Chelsea Hickford from Brentwood, said: “my sister told me to phone the station, and I got straight through. Today has been brilliant, and I’m loving it.”
After a little turbulence when coming in to land, the guests enjoyed a buffet lunch in the executive lounge at Stansted.
Liz Parkin, a member of Heart’s promotion team, said: “It’s taken us about nine months to get from the conception of the idea to the event itself. The guys at RSA wanted to do something special for their 300th birthday, and we thought it would be great to combine music with a world record.”
“I couldn’t be more proud that the Heart network now has a world record to its name,” she added. “It’s been an amazing day.”
James Blunt, who earned his own pilot’s license when he was 16, is also a well-known climate change activist. He confirmed the 30-tonnes of carbon expelled during the event would be completely offset by RSA, who will set up a biomass project in Thailand.