Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Ghost Of Glastonbury Past...


It was 20 years ago today Sgt Pepper taught the band to play. It was also 20 years ago that I had my one and only visit to Glastonbury. It is easy to view the past with rose tinted spectacles, but 1995 at Glasto was a vintage year. At the height of Britpop we had the joy of seeing Sleeper, Elastica, Belly, Gene, The Charlatans and Supergrass amongst many others. It was the also first year that they had a dance tent which witnessed sets from the likes of Massive Attack and Dreadzone. The Metro published an article the other day about why Glastonbury in '95 was the most '90's thing ever and looking back 20 years later it probably was. In fact the festival was so good in '95 that they took the next year off to recover. For a festival that is almost synonymous with rain and mud, '95 was also the year of glorious sunshine. The entire weekend was baking hot from the second we arrived, something we were not prepared for, so to say that we were looking like three lobsters by the middle of day one is something of an understatement.

As it was the 25th Anniversary of Glasto they needed big name headline acts to celebrate this and they did not disappoint. Oasis, Pulp and The Cure had the honour of headlining each night. In the years since I don't really listen to much Oasis but at that time when they were riding high as the biggest band in the UK they were the perfect end to the Friday night. Pulp, brought in as a last minute replacement for The Stone Roses delivered one of the best performances of the weekend with a set that was set was a triumph of wit, style and pop suss. But for me, The Cure not only played a blinding set, they were the highlight of the weekend. Which is saying something given the line up. A special mention must go to two acts who were largely unknown before the festival and who both played sets that will go down in Glasto folklore.

Portishead were delayed from going on stage due to a rather worse for wear Evan Dando eating into their time slot with an impromptu acoustic set that resulted in him being booed off the stage by a few thousand highly expectant Portishead fans.When they eventually made it onto the stage in the extremely sweaty acoustic tent, they showed that all the hype surrounding them was genuine with a set that is still spoken about today as one of the best ever at Glastonbury. Also on the bill on the main stage, on Saturday afternoon, was Jeff Buckley who played a nine track set that included a blistering cover of Kick Out The Jams. To say the crowd was mesmerized by him does not even begin to describe his performance. A stunning performance from one of the most gifted musicians of his generation that will be remembered by everyone fortunate enough to witness it.

Over the last couple of days I have been watching some of this year's Glastonbury and there has been some great sets so far. On Friday we had stellar sets from Motorhead, The Libertines and Super Furry Animals. Although I am not a huge fan I have to take my hat off to Florence Welsh, who stepped up to the plate after Dave Grohl's accident, and put on an audience pleasing finale to Friday night. On Saturday we had a terrific performance from Edinburgh hip hop trio Young Fathers alongside the legend that is Mavis Staples and a fantastic headline performance on the John Peel stage from Suede.

This year's headline act on Saturday night has been the source of much discussion with Kanye West seemingly splitting opinion down the middle. I did watch his full set last night and have to say that it left me cold. Telling the crowd that they were watching “the greatest living rock star on the planet” was not borne out by his performance. At least when Jay Z headlined a few years back he tried to win the crowd over by having a bit of banter with them and opening his set with Oasis' Wonderwall, due to Noel's disapproval of his presence of him on the bill. No such trying to woo the audience from Kanye. He seemed totally disconnected from the crowd and only seemed interested in the Kanye West Show. Never mind, at least we have Patti Smith, The Fall and The Who to look forward to today.



11 comments:

  1. I was there in 95 too, my fourth and final Glasto. Each year I went it was baking hot, so I cannot begin to relate to the media's depiction of Glastonbury as one big mud bath. Or maybe I just got lucky...

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    1. I think we were just lucky, feels like it has rained every year since. Have you caught any of this year's on TV ?

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    2. Bits and pieces. Can't sit and watch it a great deal if I'm honest. You can't get a feel for the atmosphere, or indeed the acts themselves. There were also very few people there I was really interested in seeing.

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  2. 20 years ago sounds a lot better than the Glastonbury of recent years although as you say there’s still a lot of good stuff like Patti Smith and The Fall to enjoy.

    Watched Motorhead but thought Lemmy looked and sounded frail and I gave up during the drum solo. Must play catch up on iPlayer today and see Young Fathers.

    Jamie

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    1. I thought exactly the same about Lemmy. Sad. Also thought The Who were terrible, like a bad Who tribute band.

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  3. Watched some stuff in iPlayer this afternoon Jamie. Well worth catching Young Fathers, Benjamin Booker and The Pop Group.

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  4. Love this post - it sounds like it really was the perfect year for you to be there and I'm envious!
    Catching up on some footage today, and just getting that overall feelgood atmosphere coming through, I started thinking I really ought to go one day before I get too much older (and also quite comforted by the fact that Jo Whiley and Mark Radcliffe are from similar vintage) so may have to put it on the bucket list thingy.
    So far...I was intrigued by Benjamin Booker, had no time for Kanye and his ego, looking forward to catching up with Suede, enjoyed seeing the Pop Group, Everything Everything, Ella Eyre, La Roux, Wolf Alice... not so keen on Young Fathers... Slaves took me back to my youth... and agree with Jamie above about Lemmy... but still so much to watch back and watch forward... An annual TV ritual!





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    1. Thanks C, it is a cliche but there really is something special about the place. We didn't really realise it at the time but it probably was the perfect year for us to go. I would recommend everyone try it at least once in their lifetime. I have just watched Suede's set again and they were really good, can't wait to see Patti Smith's set.

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  5. I'm a 'whites of their eyes' concert goer, though there have been a couple of exceptions over the years. I've never been tempted by Glastonbury's charms, but have recently been lucky enough to see bands like Sleaford Mods, Young Fathers and The Fall up close and personal. If you don't live near any good small venues, I guess Glasto is a good way of catching up with a lot of artists in one fell swoop.
    I've caught a sprinkling of this year's festival so far and have to say that I agree with your comments on Lemmy, he looks frail.

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  6. Lemmy will be 70 later this year.

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  7. I'm with the Swede on this one. Although I would have loved to have seen Beyonce a few years back. Watched it from the comfort of our rented house in Bude in Cornwall and she was brilliant. Had tickets way back in 1986 or 87 and planned to go down on the Scooters but in the end we ended up giving away the tickets when we realised how far down it was as we couldn't really be arsed going all that way on the Vespas.

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