Review: Shirley Bassey

9 out of 10: 5.20, Sunday, Pyramid Stage. 'Arctic Monkeys - that's how it's done,' announced Dame Shirley at the end of Diamonds Are Forever.

Stage: Pyramid Stage

Time: 5.20pm

Dress code: A red gown slit to the thigh for Shirl, and black tie for her orchestra. Yes, orchestra - complete with a conductor.

In summary: Watched by one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, Dame Shirley tore the place apart with a tigerish saunter through her greatest hits. Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and Big Spender (performed twice!) were all peerless, while her cover of the Doors' Light My Fire gained extra significance in the mudbath with its line, "No time to wallow in the mire."

Highlight: While Dame Shirley's voice has all the subtlety of a flame-thrower, today she proved that not only is she the only person who could pull off Goldfinger, put she can do it as easily now as she could forty years ago.

Lowlight: Some of her banter was a little off-piste. "Arctic Monkeys - that's how it's done," announced Shirley at the end of Diamonds Are Forever (they'd covered it a couple of nights previously), which you can either take as diva-ish high camp or, well, rather ungracious. She also announced that she'd brought the sun with her "from Monte Carlo" and that she'd be drinking champagne post-show - maybe not what the hippies in the Green Field would want to hear.

Unusual occurrences: Bringing out the two tattooed lesbians who'd written one of the new songs she performed. But let's face it, the whole show was an unusual occurrence.

Mark out of 10: 9 - she gave it her considerable all, and with an orchestra to boot!

Where she'll be on the bill next year: Nowhere - Shirley at Glasto is the kind of thing that only happens once in a lifetime.

Will be talking about this set until: For ages. In fact, 2007 may well end up being known in shorthand as "the one Shirley Bassey played at".


Alex Needham

The GuardianTramp

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