Monday, July 06, 2015

Review: Glastonbury Festival 2015, Part 3

It was Saturday morning at Glastonbury. Saturday is the peak day at Glastonbury. Everyone who was coming had arrived and nobody had gone home yet. It was the biggest shanty town in the northern hemisphere with about 160,000 people on site. The sun was shining and I was awake at 4.30 even before my alarm clock. Considering I had only four hours sleep I didn't feel too bad at all. I even had time for breakfast today before setting off for work. Our brave band of brothers and sisters had now bonded into a battle hardened fighting unit like the 101st Airborne Division and we tore into the work with gusto. It was a bit muddy at Arcadia after the previous days rain and those gas things had been trodden in and now the mud was drying in the sunshine they were quite difficult to dig out. That was a bit annoying but the morning went really quickly and we helped other teams who weren't as great as us. Rob and Alison sent me a photo they took during a break. (See Photo).

                                                                                         After work, on the way back to base I caught some of the Unthanks set on the Pyramid Stage. They had a full orchestra backing them led by Charles Hazlewood. They are Rachel and Becky Unthank and they combine Northumbrian folk music with other genres of music and the resulting sound is quite mesmerising and mysterious. I must get one of their albums. They couldn't have been that mesmerising though because I was hungry and left after about twenty minutes to get some lunch. The catering company that kept the workers fed was called 'International Eats' I think and as well as the food being really nice the staff were very pleasant. I asked one girl where she came from and she had come all the way from Estonia just to work at Glastonbury. Anyway, after a leisurely lunch I made my way back to the Pyramid Stage to see 'The Waterboys'.

 One of the reasons I wanted to see them was one of my Facebook friends Ralph Salmins plays drums in The Waterboys. He also used to play drums for Van Morrison which is how I first discovered him. The main reason I wanted to see them though is that they are brilliant. I have seen The Waterboys at Glasto going back to the 1980's but I think this incarnation of the band is as good as any that Mike Scott has assembled. I didn't have my notebook on me or I would have written down the set list. It has been nine days now so I can't remember all the songs but one was called 'The Nearest Thing To Hip' which I really liked. It seemed really 'Beat'  with its references to Sun Ra, Miles Davis, John Coltrane etc. The Waterboys were the perfect music for a sunny Saturday afternoon. I also really enjoyed 'Glastonbury Song' which is the best song ever written about this festival. During their set I noticed some loose change on the floor and picked up 90 pence in total. I found more money watching The Waterboys than I did in four days of litter-picking !

                                                                         I met up with my friends again at the Acoustic and enjoyed a set by a duo called 'The Lost Brothers'. I had never heard of them before. They were Irish and they did a great version of Corrina, Corrina, which I really enjoyed. Then I went back to the Pyramid to catch 'George Ezra'. I first realised how good George was when I saw him a year ago supporting Robert Plant. Of all the crop of young British male singers of the last few years such as Jake Bugg and Ed Sheeran I think George is the best. Only time will tell if he has another great album in him. After George it was the legend that is Burt Bacharach with his orchestra and singers but I couldn't be bothered listening and wandered back to camp.

                                                                         In the evening I really wanted to see the legendary 'Mavis Staples' in the bucolic surroundings of the Park Stage but I couldn't bear the thought of the long walk up there again. I was mentally and physically exhausted by now. I had also missed Gregory Porter who like Mavis has also recorded with Van Morrison recently. Instead I opted to see Nick Lowe, Paul Carrick and Andy Fairweather-Lowe. Nick is almost a Glastonbury tradition now. They were all in fine voice and as well as their own individual hits they also did great cover versions of other peoples songs such as 'Things' by Bobby Darin. It was a thoroughly enjoyable set. I needed a bit of a sit down because I was shattered and relaxed with Margaret & Wayne in the Theatre Bar before returning to see 'The Moody Blues'.

                                                                        It was seeing The Moody Blues at the Bath Blues Festival in 1970 that gave Michael Eavis the idea to have his own festival at Glastonbury in September that same year when 1,500 people attended. Little did he realise that 45 years later it would be the greatest festival in the world. I must say though at Glasto 2015 I was most disappointed. In the late sixties and early 70's I had lots of their albums. Unfortunately they started their set with four songs I had never heard of. Who wants to hear the Moody Blues new stuff?. Not me that's for sure. They should have started the set with some classics and put the new stuff in the middle and finished with more old classics. I lost interest and left. I regret that now because I have since learned that Michael Eavis joined them on stage and played tambourine during 'Question'. I think I was a bit hasty in leaving.

 I had heard a lot about the controversial decision to book 'Kanye West' to headline on Saturday night so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and judge for myself. Considering it was Saturday night I thought the crowd was small compared to the Rolling Stones two years ago or even Metallica last year. I must say that after two songs (If you can call them songs) I had heard enough. I thought he was crap and not deserving of a headline slot at Glastonbury. The real star of Glastonbury is the audience and great performers understand this. Dolly Parton was a big success last year because she took the audience to her ample bosom. For Kanye West though it was just another gig and he obviously has no understanding of the history of this great festival. My view isn't an age thing because a lot of the youngsters in my team told me that they thought he was rubbish as well. Also, it's not a genre thing either. I saw Cypress Hill here years ago and thought they were good and my friend Fred gave me a hip-hop album called 'Dirty Acres' by The Cunning Linguists which I enjoyed. If they want to book this type of music why don't they get Eminem whose lyrics I find witty and intelligent.
                                                                                           When I got back to camp I felt quite deflated after the disappointment of the Moody Blues and Kanye 'Bleeding' West but my mates around the camp-fire soon cheered me up. I had lots of good chats with Peter and others round that camp-fire, chewing the fat and putting the world to rights.As I fell asleep that night I didn't realise it at the time but the next day Sunday was to be one of the most memorable days in the history of Glastonbury Festival. It was to be absolutely amazing..................

To be continued soon.........................

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