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Foreign Correspondent: Glastonbury Festival 2013 – Part 2

Written by Alex Langlands on 5th July, 2013

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You can find part 1 here…

The sun rose on a glorious Saturday and the skies cleared for what was to be the most picturesque day of the festival. Indie rockers The 1975 opened the day’s proceedings, with their indie-pop vibes being the soundtrack to the morning on The Other Stage. Evidently amazed with the mammoth turn-out, the band exclaimed, “Look at all these people! We feel a bit overwhelmed playing here. Please dance…” before kicking off their biggest single Chocolate which went down an absolute treat.

Over on the Pyramid Stage it was Ben Howard who drew the biggest crowd of the early Saturday slots and after the international success of his latest album it came as no real surprise. His mellow yet inviting set called mainly upon tracks from Every Kingdom. From Old Pine to The Fear, even the sun came out to watch.

Ben Howard – Only Love (Live at Glastonbury 2013)

Australia’s best kept secret, Jagwar Ma stormed the John Peel Stage to a surprisingly small crowd, however as their infectious bass tore through the speakers the crowd quickly grew, expanding outside onto the lawn as the London-via-Sydney act quickly became one of the weekend’s big discoveries for thousands of punters. A truly animated set that included most of their tracks, it became quickly evident that we can expect big things in the near future from the local outfit.

As the afternoon progressed, it was out with the new and in with the old as legendary British acts prepared to take their individual stages. Over on the Acoustic stage, The Proclaimers packed out the tent, as an impressively diverse act anticipated the start of their set. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a majority of the crowd where waiting purely for the Scottish duo’s biggest track, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), yet when the opening chord was strummed it was truly something special. A chorus of croaky, drunken voices bellowed out every single word to the anthem, marking a real highlight of the day. Steve Winwood then took the stage to a now exhausted crowd after the conclusion of the Proclaimers set. Winwood worked the likes of Valerie, Higher Love and Night Train in his hour-long set, witnessed by a slightly more mature audience than that of The Proclaimers.

Back over on the Other Stage, it was a procession of UK acts which drew the big crowds as dusk began to illuminate the sky above worthy farm. Two Door Cinema Club kicked things off with recent single Sleep Alone which truly set the mood for the remainder of their performance. The Irish group sped through tracks from both albums including I Can Talk, Sun and Next Year. Yet it was Something Good Can Work which saw the crowd go absolutely mental, resulting in the group being one of the most popular acts of the day. Example proceeded to take over duty from the indie rockers, bringing along his full live show. Despite the fact that the crowd had begun to trickle away for the festival’s headliner the UK dance artist still put on an impressive show with a set including tracks from his past four albums.

Two Door Cinema Club – Sun (Live at Glastonbury 2013)

Arguably the sound of the British summer, Rudimental were readying themselves for the mammoth crowd, who had piled into the awkwardly shaped Silver Haynes Stage ready for last year’s biggest success story. Bouncing onto stage, the group brought all the bells and whistles as they ripped straight into their biggest and best songs. From Hell Could Freeze to Home, the crowd knew each and every word. After dedicating Feel The Love to the frontmans infant child, and thanking both BBC Radio 1 and the crowd, fans quickly sprinted over to the Pyramid Stage to catch a glimpse of the biggest rock band in the world – The Rolling Stones.

Whoever said that rock ‘n’ roll is dead is kidding themselves. Granted, it may have been through bigger and better times, but much like the grand phoenix which sat atop the iconic 100ft stage, it’s merely been reborn. The crowd which stood before the epic Pyramid Stage was far and away one of the biggest a headline act at Glastonbury has seen in years. The now 50-year-old group had not even begun to play a note before a hugely defining round of applause was awarded. As Mick Jagger’s astounding and instantly recognisable vocals burst out the opening lines of Jumpin’ Jack Flash it became strikingly apparent that something amazing was happening in front of over 200,000 people’s eyes. Powering through the likes of Paint It Black and Gimme Shelter, it was hard to establish what was more amazing; the fact that The Rolling Stones were putting on one of the best Glastonbury performances of all time, or the fact that Jagger still had the ability to dance around the stage with such energy. In the words of one elderly gentleman, “That Maroon 5 song makes so much more sense now.”

Rolling Stones – Midnight Rambler (Live at Glastonbury 2013)

The performance continued to grow, with special appearances from ex-guitarist Mick Taylor, who briefly joined for both Happy and Midnight Rambler. An adaption of Factory Girl, changing it to Glastonbury Girl, went down an absolute treat, yet it was the final stretch of the set which saw the band truly rise to the occasion. The opening percussion of Sympathy for the Devil took the audience into an ephemeral state of absolute sublime happiness and the deployment of surefire hits Start Me Up, Tumbling Dice and Brown Sugar kept the hypnotic state alive. As the encore came around, it was clear what had to be done, as The Voice Chamber Choir came onstage for a truly unique rendition of You Can’t Always Get What You Want, though they were almost made redundant as the voice of 200,000 people tried their best to drown them out. The phoenix, which had remained somewhat motionless throughout the set now came alive, breathing fire across Pyramid Stage for the duration of the song.

There seemed only one song left in the tank as the two and a half hour set began to draw to a close, and everyone knew what was coming – Keith, Mick, Ronnie and co blasted out I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction) and set the crowd alight. It was a combination of the Stones’ legacy, Watts’ stickwork, the technical ability of both Richards and Wood on guitar and, of course, the voice of an icon, Mick Jagger. Despite the fact that they’re one of the oldest bands still touring, their performance contained more energy than a vast majority of the acts who played across the weekend.

Afterwards, UK dance titan Fatboy Slim, stormed the mysterious Arcadia Stage with his usual party anthem antics. Atop a stage manufactured to resemble a gigantic metallic spider, it was by far one of the more peculiar settings of Glastonbury but Norman Cook once again failed to truly impress the crowd. Despite having a mammoth 6 separate sets at Glastonbury, his track selection consisted of what seemed to be several samples mashed with the same 8-bar electronic line, reminiscent of nearly every EDM song release last year. Cook left the stage to allow room for a back-to-back DJ set from Chase & Status and Skrillex, who dubstepped his way into Glastonbury history showcasing one of the most brutal and ruthless Arcadia sets in recent times.

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