Saturday provided much to enjoy, as it turned out. The red button was the saving grace however, as the various programmes offered a frantic dance around the stages – Jay Z and Winehouse aside – leaving you with only a fleeting sense of what might have been. Thankfully, thanks to the multi-screen splendour I got to see Crowded House, Imagined Village, Vampire Weekend, Band Of Horses, The Wombats and, probably the set of the weekend thus far, Elbow. I’m sure Massive Attack could have been in there too, but in their infinite wisdom, the Beeb offered five minutes of their set to fill a gap before Jay-Z came out and then two songs some time after midnight. Having just skimmed through the iPlayer, it would seem that BBC3 played out two more songs at around 1.40am. I’m astonished that the BBC didn’t consider them more important.
(EDIT: It’s now midday and 34 minutes of their set has appeared on the BBC Glasto site – go here.)
The Jay-Z performance was much as expected. If you like his music, you’ll have enjoyed his set. If you don’t, then you probably didn’t. It’s as simple as that. There’s no debate to be had about what ‘belongs’ at Glastonbury. Everything ‘belongs’ at Glastonbury – that’s the whole point of it. Whether Jay-Z was a more worthy main stage headliner than Massive Attack though, I’m not so sure. He opened with a version of ‘Wonderwall‘, obviously trying to ram home his point about Noel Gallagher getting it wrong, but the crowd took such delight in singing the song for him, it was hard to tell what the final message was. That said, Oasis delivered one of the worst Saturday night headlining sets I’ve ever seen three years ago, so I’m not sure anyone’s in a position of superiority on that one.
Anyhoo, there was much to enjoy, although the BBC’s Glasto site doesn’t appear to have caught up yet in terms of video footage. Your best bet is to head straight to the iPlayer. The show labelled ‘Elbow/Hot Chip’ features two belters from Elbow near the start, the hour long ‘Pyramid Stage’ show is all Winehouse. Worth a watch. It was riveting, if not, perhaps, the most professional festival set you’ve ever seen.
The big fuss today is about the return of The Verve, but having heard the new single, I’m not expecting a great deal. If ever a band was coasting by on nostalgia for halcyon but, crucially, bygone times, it’s them. Everyone bangs on about how they captured a moment with ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony‘, but a few decent singles (because, let’s face it, ‘Urban Hymns’ wasn’t much cop) does not a tremendous Sunday night headline slot make. Especially when you think it was The Who last year.
‘Mad Richard’ (oh do fuck off) aside, Solomon Burke’s performing today and that promises to be an absolute joy. If he hasn’t got his own section in your record collection you need to get that sorted. Leonard Cohen, Spiritualized and Laura Marling all play today too, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much in terms of seeing them on the telly.
I suspect, looking at the line-up, that the red button showings of yesterday’s highlights may well be your friend today. Have fun.