I suppose this is a review of sorts, I mean I watched it “as live”, and that for me is the crux of the issue, not actually live, but “as live”. Maybe it should have been called ‘As Live At Worthy Farm’ On a positive note the lowering of some Covid restrictions meant that I was able to watch it with five mates round at my gaff 🙂 So thank you Simon, John, Paul, Pete and Rusty for helping to make it a great night! Maybe it was luck but we did not suffer any of the technical difficulties that thousands of other paying punters did. I am not sure who put the whole show together, but on paper the line up looked good and I love the way the sky got darker as the night went on.
The whole thing was kicked off with a blistering set from what seemed like a really fired up and ready for it Wolf Alice. They appeared to give it their all in the stone circle, despite the lack of a roaring crowd. “Don’t Delete The Kisses” was an incredibly powerful way to open the whole show. Meanwhile “The Last Man On Earth” was truly epic and suggests that the new album will be ace. The incredibly talented Michael Kiwanuka followed and his set was funky, jazzy and majestically soulful. Particular highlights were set openers “You Ain’t The Problem” and “Rolling” from his incredibly classy third album ‘Kiwanuka’ from 2019. Next to enter the Glasto site was George Ezra in very stripped back way, just him and a guitar walking around playing and singing, like a mobile busker. He played a few songs next to a raging fire and we thought maybe he was going to be sacrificed in a Wicker Man style, but don’t worry Ezra fans, he wasn’t! IDLES were bombastic and frankly hotter then Ezra’s fire. One of the few acts on the night to attack this vile UK government, “Reigns” is a great protest song. “Kill Them With Kindness” was another highlight for me. Their incendiary set was like a mini best of from their three albums to date. As a footnote it looked like they were playing in a warehouse full of strange junk, in fact it was filmed at Joe Rush’s “Carhenge” workshop!
HAIM were next and another of my highlights, the three sisters rocked the hell out of the Stone Circle. “Summer Girl” and “I Know Alone” were particular favourites of mine. When I have seen them in the past I was always mesmerised by the gurning antics of Este Haim, which sadly were not really evident in this performance. The next band, for me, are a bit Marmite, in that people seem to either love them or hate them, yes I am talking about Coldplay. personally I thought their first couple of albums were good, but they seem to have become a bit identikit and boring musically. Although they have great Glasto credentials, having headlined four times so far. They were filmed in front of the iconic Pyramid Stage, or at least a skeleton of it, with a stunningly good light show. The old songs were the winners for me, “Clocks”, “The Scientist” and especially “Fix You”. Next was Damon Albarn, an artist I really like, however I felt this set was a little self indulgent, although a long way from terrible. The crowd at my house went moderately wild in a socially distanced stylee when he played a couple of Blur songs, “Out Of Time” and “This Is A Low”. His set was a little underwhelming, however the thing that captivated us was the new Barnet sported by Mr Albarn, he has a mullet! Yes, seriously, a mullet! Damon, sort yourself out!
Jorja Smith is only 23 and yet her music has a beautiful maturity, she is a supremely talented singer songwriter with a fantastic voice. I love her ‘Be Right Back’ EP which came out in May. Her first big UK hit was “Blue Lights” and she opened her set with a powerhouse version of it. The Smile were the special guests and if you have not heard about them yet you really do need to crawl out from under your rock and scrub the moss off. Smile is Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke of Radiohead aided and abetted by Nigel Godrich and Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner. Skinner’s jazz background perhaps carried the most influence on the music, which showcased that Radiohead can do pop, especially synth pop with a huge dollop of prog. I really hope the Smile record and release an album, it will be worth it for “We Don’t Know What Tomorrow Brings” a synth pop banger that the likes of Depeche Mode would salivate over. But the most outstanding tune for me was “You Will Never Work In Television Again” which is full to the brim of great melodies and hooks. They even managed to fit in an unreleased Radiohead tune, “Skating on the Surface”. The Smile pretty much capped the evening for me, plus I had consumed a hell of a lot of wine by then. So I don’t recall too much about Kano’s set (humble apologies to Kane Brett Robinson a.k.a. Kano). I do remember marvelling at how fast this guy can rap, he spits his words at almost superhuman speed! The whole event was closed by a, so I am told, marvellous DJ set from DJ Honey Dijon featuring Róisín Murphy. Sadly the wine had really done for me by then! I should also give a shout out to all the artists and poets who provided spoken word interludes PJ Harvey, Jarvis Cocker, Kae Tempest, Kurupt FM, Little Amal and Mr Glastonbury himself, Michael Eavis.
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