8 Oct 2014

A Look Back At Glastonbury

With Glastonbury tickets selling out in a record breaking time of 26 minutes for the 2015 festival, I thought I'd do a post looking back at some of the most iconic Glasto performances. Also, I was lucky enough to bag myself a ticket to next years event and in all honestly, I'm too excited to really write about anything else. 

Ride '94
Playing a very short set and sounding decidedly brit-poppy, this is up there with Ride's best ever sets. Pipped to the post by their Reading set, it's a close second. Despite sounding less shoegazey that you would expect. The five songs they did play were Birdman, Let's Get Lost, 1000 Miles (which is the best live version you will find anywhere, magical) Magical Spring and Mouse Trap. Although they chose to ignore all the songs from Nowhere (which I think is pretty much the greatest album ever) the set is still very very good. And those glasses. Wow.

The Smiths '84
With a set list spanning a mere 10 songs due to a monumental crowd invasion which forced Morrissey and his band of misfits off the stage early, this has been hailed as the performance which truly restarted Glastonbury for indie bands. Not only was it in The Smiths first year of actually being an official band, but it is one of their best ever live performance. Opening with Nowhere Fast and making their way through some of their best songs like This Charming Man, Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now and Still Ill before closing with the mammoth anthem that is Hand In Glove, it paved the way for new indie bands to play this legendary festival. Probably my favourite glasto performance ever. Reunion in 2015 boys? No? Ok. 

Bowie '00
Not only was 2000 Bowie's long hair era, it was one of the single most remembered performances ever. He took to the Pyramid Stage to play a set full of some of his most known and loved songs, a few of which he hadn't played in over 20 years. Opening with a cover of Wild Is The Wind (originally by Johnny Mathis) before really getting the crowd going with hit after hit after hit. Changes, Life On Mars?, Ashes To Ashes, Rebel Rebel and Golden Years were all belted out in the first ten songs. Following this came another cover of All The Young Dudes by Mott The Hoople, before going back to his greatest hits set. Man Who Sold The World, Station to Station and Starman all came before possibly one of his best decisions ever. He played Under Pressure, as in the version he did with Queen. I have watched it online a thousand times, but being there in that moment must have been one of the most magical moments in musical history. When he returned to the stage for the encore, the hits kept flowing. A trio of Ziggy Stardust, Heroes and Lets Dance just about prepared the audiences for his departure. Finishing the whole set with the phenomenal, I'm Afraid of Americans, this has to go down in history as one of - if not the - best headline slots ever.

Arctic Monkeys '13
Playing this set before everything went a bit wrong with the famous Sheffield quartet, they were no strangers to the Pyramid Stage, having headlined it way back in 2007. This set however, was probably the best set this band have ever played. They were slick as slick can be, but without the cocky americanisms which Turner has sadly acquired since the birth of AM two months after this triumphant headline slot. The set contained the perfect mix of new and old, with it being the first time they ever opened at set with Do I Wanna Know. Highlights include Arctics playing A Certain Romance, 505 and that stunning version of Mardy Bum which is yet to be replicated. And of course, the intro to I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor will never be forgotten.

"To all you fellas out there who were just too cool to wave their arms during the Pretty Visitors chorus, this one's for your girlfriends. LAAAAADIEEEEESSSSSS!"

Oasis '95
The Oasis show in '95 was special, purely because it was the first live showing of a lot of the songs from what is possibly their greatest album, What's The Story, Morning Glory? The Swamp Song, Hello, Roll With It and Morning Glory all had their live debuts on the Pyramid Stage back in 1995. The setlist also held some of the greats with a trio of Don't Look Back In Anger, Live Forever and Rock n Roll Star being how the set came to a close. This set was of course, played long before the split of the band, so the Liam/Noel chemistry is on full form, and the band have never sounded better. One for the history books. 

Jack White '14
Jack White's glasto performance from this year was probably the best one I saw. Other bands came close but the sheer innovative-ness of Mr Jack White alongside the mass of blue strobe lights, a gorgeous bunch of weirdos also known as his band, and probably quite a lot of drugs, this performance pulled together to be nothing short of phenomenal. He played a ton of White Stripes songs including the opener Icky Thump and the closer Seven Nation Army as well as a couple new tracks off of his new album Lazaretto. The title track brought the house down, as did the instrumental work of genius that is High Ball Stepper. Jack White is no stranger to Glastonbury, having played with The White Stripes multiple times, and you could tell. Never has an artist looked so comfortable gracing the Pyramid Stage. Absolutely jaw-dropping. 

(written and chosen by Poppy Marriott)