By Neil Durham
WORTH A LOOK?: *****
This was the 1st Glastonbury Festival since 2019, the 1st 1 since it turned 50 years old in 2020 – and it didn’t disappoint.
- Read on for reasons including Pet Shop Boys, Kalush Orchestra, Diana Ross and Pam Ayres
- Years and Years into Pet Shop Boys and onto Rudimental
This was our 7th visit to Glastonbury Festival and we think the 1 we most enjoyed. Usually, for us, things quieten down on the Sunday, the final day, but not so here. A little cheat but our favourite act is in fact 3 bands at the top of their game in succession. Olly Alexander and co proved the perfect introduction with their Night Call set to Pet Shop Boys. We were a little worried by the late appearance of Chris Lowe but the duo proved their Dreamworld: Greatest Hits Live set could be improved by the addition of dancers (pictured with lead singer Neil Tennant above) and a little pruning and it was so good there are now new dates on sale including a Saturday gig next year at the OVO Arena, Wembley. Tickets We were looking for a band who could maintain the class of what we’d seen and Rudimental at The Glade was just the trick.
2. Ukraine Eurovision acts Kalush Orchestra and Go_A
There was something quite moving about the general support and flag waving afforded by the audience to 2022 Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra (pictured above) at the Truth Stage in Shangri La at 1.10am on Saturday and 2021 representatives Go_A (pictured below) at the John Peel Stage just over 10 hours later. There was tight security for the former and their 14 or so-song set proved just how Eurovision winner Stefania is well representative of their Stereo MCs-like sound and they, like Go_A later, are in their element as a live band. Go_A played a 40-minute or so set which was enthusiastically received and they even had the audience holding hands, including your author, and dancing in circles by the close. Extraordinary.
3. Diana Ross
The act we were most excited for pre-festival brought the hits we wanted to hear including the fabulous I’m Coming Out and Upside Down but we would’ve loved a little more onstage banter and interaction with the audience.
4. Nish Kumar and Cassetteboy
Glastonbury is inevitably occasionally about protest and activisim and Kumar at the Cabaret Stage on Saturday afternoon was on fire in his criticism of the current Government while Cassetteboy at The Glade on Sunday afternoon had a lot of fun tweaking footage of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump to his own ends.
5. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds into Paul McCartney
The Marmite test: we thought Gallagher’s Pyramid Stage crowd on Saturday night bigger than McCartney’s. We 1st saw Oasis at Glastonbury in 1994 and had no idea how much we’d enjoy hearing some of those songs again as a precursor to arguably the festival’s biggest name this year. We left the former Beatle’s show after about an hour with the Macca fan in our party complaining at how indulgent the set was. A talking point nonetheless.
An early evening slot on the 1st day at the John Peel Stage and our favourite Norwegian is growing in live stature for us and this tightly-packed set curated from the best of both her albums proved just how much brilliant pop music she is currently writing.
7. Pam Ayres and Sarah Keyworth
We were averaging walking 20 miles a day to the 300-stage site’s extremities and the Cabaret Stage often proves an unbeatable stop to either shelter from the rain, not that there was much of this in evidence in 2022, and a disco nap to power on through to the wee small hours. Ayres Q&A-ed on Sunday lunchtime and was as quirkily funny as you might remember but also proving what green credentials she has during her 1st Glastonbury visit in her 75 years. We’d not heard of lesbian comedian Keyworth before this festival but saw her twice here and she was laugh-out-loud funny not least when explaining her girlfriend described her as looking like the ‘secretly gay 1 from a boy band’.
8. Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs
Our Glastonbury never fully starts until we catch this skiffle punk trio at their legendary 1pm Avalon Fields slot on the Friday and they did not disappoint here. We even had a tear in our eye when Jones explained how much the audience being there meant to the band. No one quite explained the devastation Covid had wrought as well as the band and, for us, this Festival felt like the 1st time we could draw a line into how the pandemic had decimated 2020 and 2021. Their tubthumping secret gig at the Avalon Cafe just before midnight on Saturday was also recommended.
9. Woody Cook and Heaton and Abbott
We’d also previously had never heard that the son of Fatboy Slim and Zoe Ball was a DJ. He absolutely rocked the Greenpeace Stage (see picture of Woody peaking out of the tree’s nook while DJ-ing above) on Thursday evening and we particularly loved the mash-up of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love and Adele’s Rolling In The Deep. In other Housemartins’-related news, Heaton and Abbott’s mix of hits at the Acoustic Stage on Friday night including by the Housemartins and Beautiful South – particularly a moving audience singalong of Caravan of Love – was just fantastic.
- Main pictures by Facebook courtesy Pet Shop Boys Tickets Other pictures by Neil Durham
- Have you heard any of these songs or seen any of these shows? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
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