Glastonbury Festival 27th – 29th June 2014
This year’s Glastonbury festival had a mixed and varied line-up which resulted in quite a bit of discussion around the Pyramid stage headliners who were Arcade Fire (were they big enough to headline?), Metallica (should a metal band headline Glasto?) and Kasabian (were they ready?) after negotiations with Prince fell apart, and Fleetwood Mac were unable to confirm because John McVie wasn’t well. In the event the largest crowd of the weekend was for a little country girl from Tennessee, Dolly Parton, who got everyone singing along during the Sunday afternoon legends slot.
We arrived at Glastonbury late on Wednesday afternoon, managing to find a spot for our tent, on a wonderful hot sunny Summer evening. Thursday was spent exploring the site and also sheltering from the first of many downpours. The weather was quite mixed this year with rain on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday was completely dry and hot. Friday’s rain was the worst with torrential downpours, thunder and lightning, causing the music to be halted for a short period. The rain resulted in the inevitable Glastonbury mud, which wasn’t as bad as it might have been; when the rain passed the sun quickly came out and some very hot spells quickly dried up the ground. Because of the weather, and also because we are getting older, we didn’t venture far from the Pyramid stage this year.
The festival officially opened on Friday; we made a point of watching Lilly Allen (who was good fun) and Arcade Fire and also listened to Elbow (lots of singalong), De La Soul and Rodrigo Y Gabriella. I can’t pretend to know much of Arcade Fire’s music, but found their set quite enjoyable.
On Saturday we caught Lana Del Rey (excellent and much darker and rockier than I had expected), Jack White (very 60s and Zep/Cream-like), Robert Plant and Metallica. Robert Plant’s set came after a massive downpour but I had promised I would make sure I saw him so I made my way right down to the front of the stage (very muddy) for his set. This is the first time I have seen Plant’s latest band the Sensational Space Shifters and must say I was impressed by them. The set was a mix of Zep classics and some new songs and Plant was on fine form, singing well, and reminiscing about playing the Bath festival in 1969. The Zeppelin songs have been reworked a little, but Plant’s vocal delivery remains pretty true to the original. A great set and the highlight of the weekend for me. Robert Plant Setlist: Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You; Tin Pan Valley; Black Dog; Rainbow; Going to California; The Enchanter; Little Maggie; What Is and What Should Never Be; Fixin’ to Die; Whole Lotta Love / Who Do You Love. Encore: Rock and Roll.
Metallica’s set was preceded by a quite weird and funny video which started with a clip from a Clint Eastwood western and then moved to a fox hunting scene, ending in Metallica dressed as bears and shooting the huntsmen. Rolling Stone magazine explained: “Before Metallica took the stage, they poked fun at the Britons who protested their appearance over frontman James Hetfield’s support of hunting with a video titled Glastallica directed by Glastonbury documentarian Julian Temple. The band kicked things off by running their usual intro clip of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but switched things to focus on a fox hunt. As the video shows wealthy statesmen readying themselves for a big hunt, a voice calls out, “What does the fox say?” and chaos begins, with rifle-wielding bears, played by the band itself, exacting their revenge on the hunters.”
Metallica have been waiting a long time to play Glastonbury, and it was clear they were delighted to be playing. Their set was truly excellent, pulling out all the stops for a crowd who were largely unfamiliar with their music and mostly not metal fans. It worked, with a good mix of rock and ballads (“Nothing Else Matters” in particular resulting in large cheers and lots of singing) and the Glastonbury crowd gave them a great reception, largely vindicating the controversial booking.
Metallica setlist: Glastallica (Bear Hunting Parody video); Creeping Death; For Whom the Bell Tolls; Wherever I May Roam; Sad but True; Fade to Black; Cyanide; The Unforgiven; The Memory Remains; One; Master of Puppets; Nothing Else Matters; Enter Sandman. Encore: Whiskey in the Jar; Seek and Destroy.
The highlight of the Sunday, and of the entire weekend was Dolly Parton. The Pyramid stage was completely rammed for her appearance which hit the perfect note. Dolly handled the massive crowd (estimated at 90,000 – 100,000 of the 180,000 at the festival) as she would a crowd at one of her own arena concerts, introducing each song with a little story about its background and herself. The crowd loved it. Glastonbury works best with artists who have a large back catalogue of songs that everyone knows (e.g. Stevie Wonder, The Stones) and it certainly worked for Dolly Parton.
Dolly Parton setlist: Baby I’m Burnin’ / Girl on Fire; Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That; Jolene; Blue Smoke; Coat of Many Colors; Rocky Top; Mud Song (song written especially for Glastonbury); Banks of the Ohio; Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You / But You Know I Love You / Real Love / Think About Love; Here You Come Again; Two Doors Down; Islands in the Stream; 9 to 5; Lay Your Hands on Me (with guest Richie Sambora); I Will Always Love You.
We left shortly after Dolly Parton’s set to avoid the traffic leaving the site, having overall enjoyed the festival. Final views: a good Glastonbury, but my no means classic, weather mixed but not terrible, line-up lacked any really massive acts but strong and varied, the demographic seems to be shifting; I noticed far fewer older people and at several points felt I was probably one of the oldest people there (a feeling which I haven’t experienced there before).
Archive for the ‘Elbow’ Category
U2 Don Valley Stadium Sheffield 20th August 2009
Support Act : Elbow
Somewhere along the line the rest of the family have lost faith in U2, so they couldn’t be tempted to join me and I ended up going along on my own to see them in Sheffield’s Don Valley stadium. To be honest I wasn’t too sure about going myself, but I figured It would probably be worthwhile. I’ve seen U2 9 or 10 times since the early days when they supported the Police at Gateshead Stadium, and played Newcastle Mayfair. So I set off around 4pm to drive to Sheffield. The traffic was OK until I reached the M1 a few junctions away from Sheffield, at which point I crawled for the rest of the journey. When I got off the motorway the police were directing cars into a car park near Meadowhall which is fair walk from the Stadium (I didn’t realise you could get the tram along there!).
By the time I had walked to the stadium Elbow were coming to the end of their set. I bought myself a programme and made my way down onto the pitch which was packed with fans. I wandered around to look for a good spot and realised that the 360 degree spider stage really did give a good view from all angles. After a short wait U2 took the stage at around 8.30. The sound was loud and clear and the crowd were really into it. And the stage and lighting were the best I’ve ever seen, much more impressive than other recent big shows such as the Stones Bigger Bang, Muse or Take That. Bono and the Edge took turns in coming into the crowd on walkways which revolved around the stage and took them to different parts of the stadium, giving everyone a chance of a good view. The set list was a good mix of old and new; highlights for me were Vertigo (the crowd really jumping to this), Sunday Bloody Sunday and The Streets Have no Name.
I left during the encores to get to the car and get out in good time and was home by 12.45 (while some people I heard on BBC Radio Sheffield were still in the car park). So yes I did enjoy U2 this time and probably will go again next time. Perhaps there will be time to convince the family its worth the effort next time.
Set list: Breathe; No Line On The Horizon; Get On Your Boots; Magnificent; Beautiful Day; Elevation;I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For;Happy Birthday;Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of;Unknown Caller;The Unforgettable Fire;City Of Blinding Lights;I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight;Sunday Bloody Sunday;Pride (In The Name Of Love);MLK;Walk On;Where The Streets Have No Name;One
Encore(s): Ultra Violet (Light My Way);With Or Without You;Moment of Surrender
Elbow The Sage Gateshead Oct 20 2008
Laura and I went along to see Elbow at the Sage on Monday, largely as a result of Laura’s interest in them. She had listened to most of the albums and had been telling me how good they were. We bought the tickets before they had won the Mercury Music prize, and were both looking forward to seeing what they were like. The gig had been sold out for some weeks (since they won the Mercury prize).
Laura was going to a fancy dress party straight after the gig, so was dressed as Snow White under her coat; and sporting a lovely bright red Snow White headband, which the girl at the merchandise stand complimented her on. The support act (who we missed) was Jesca Hoop.
I was actually pleasantly surprised as to how good Elbow were. The music was quite different to what I had expected; pretty difficult to categorize. They were accompanied by a string section and various other instruments. The crowd came from a mixed age range, and seemed to know all of the songs (unlike me!). They even managed to get people on their feet, which is quite difficult in the Sage!
Set list was something like :
Leaders Of The Free World
Grounds For Divorce
Weather To Fly
One Day Like This
Scattered Black And Whites