Phoenix are now looking tight, both musically and trousers-wise, so I’m going to leave this blog right here. They’ll be reviewed later. Thanks for keeping me company. See you same time tomorrow for the titan of rock that is Ed Sheeran. Good night!
It’s washed away by Warpaint doing the fabulous song Undertow. There’s also a Grohl link in the way it seems to nod to Nirvana’s Polly.
Lauren and Huw are on the TV in their zone by the Park stage, and they’re introducing Tom Walker, who sounds like a cross between James Blake, Adele and Paolo Nutini – in other words, just a bit contrived.
I’m persevering with BBC2 for a bit, but Alt-J aren’t making it easy.
And here come the fireworks as they come to a halt, three minutes past midnight. They’re taking a well-deserved bow. Whatever you think of the songs, they gave that performance all they had.
“We never really say goodbye, we just say this,” says Grohl as the band mounts an assault on Everlong.
“I feel loose, I feel good – this is the fucking big one, man, I’m into it,” Grohl tells the crowd. “Thank you for sticking around with our band for 22 years.” The UK, he says, is “Where we became a band.”
This is the perfect cover version for them – crowd-pleasing, epic, extravagant – and they knock it out of the park.
Dave Grohl’s off to play the drums while Taylor Hawkins sings. They’re doing Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure.
Dave Grohl annouces that he was told by a journalist that you’re not allowed to swear at Glastonbury – presumably because of the BBC broadcast. Grohl adds that Adele holds the record for the most “fucks” in a live broadcast and then breaks it by singing the f-word about 50 times. It’s juvenile, but also funny and charming coming from him, the nicest man in rock.
Regent Sounds of Denmark Street in London is getting some great publicity thanks to Taylor the drummer’s vest, which advertises it. It’s a real place, too.
Johnny Depp is much in evidence this festival:
Meanwhile Dave Grohl says “This is exactly what I hoped would fucking happen tonight.” Everyone is chanting the “woah” riff from Best of You.
A reader writes, and fair enough:
After appealing to the crowd to stop thinking about going to the “EDM tent”, Dave Grohl hits them with Best of You. It’s exhilarating, but not quite as great (so far) as Prince’s version at the Super Bowl back in 2008.
After some expert teasing of the crowd, asked repeatedly whether or not they want a break, Foo Fighters hit them with a brutal Monkey Wrench. Meanwhile, according to WhatsApp, the Guardian’s features posse are at the Jacksons, who are currently playing Wanna Be Startin’ Something by Michael Jackson, who died eight years ago tomorrow.
I can remember it vividly, because I was at Glastonbury. It was the Thursday night and I was having a nice chat with my friend Richard. Neither of us were entirely sober.
Another friend, Alan, came up and said: “Have you heard that Michael Jackson’s died?” I dismissed it as a Glastonbury rumour. Then, 10 minutes later, he came back and said it again.
Richard checked on his Blackberry (that dates it) and bloody hell, Jackson actually had died. I stumbled into the Guardian Portakabin to start to configure the web response – meanwhile the Guardian staff in London rushed back into the office having been at a boozy leaving do.
I quickly wrote this piece; the rest of the weekend involved chasing pop stars around for quotes about the legendary performer. But Glastonbury has a way of smoothing over the vicissitudes of the rest of the world, and by Sunday, it seemed like old news.
Shame he never played, mind.
Back to the Foos, and it’s their debut single, This is a Call. I’m old enough to remember Steve Lamacq playing this on the radio for the first time, back in the Cretaceous period (OK, 1995).
It’s loud, vigorous and anthemic, but I remember at the time thinking there wasn’t that much depth to it, and my views haven’t changed in the intervening 22 years.
I have to say at this point, though, that Dave Grohl was an integral part of one of the best Glastonbury performances I’ve ever seen (in fact one of the best shows I’ve ever seen full stop). He played drums with Queens of the Stone Age in 2002 – Mark Lanegan and Nick Oliveri were also part of the band – and the sheer vicious power of it, coupled with some classic songs, virtually ripped my face off.
Wiley and Stormzy, Other Stage
They played one after the other, earlier tonight, and Hannah J Davies was there.
Now for a tale of two grime artists - Wiley and Stormzy - who received very different receptions tonight at Worthy Farm. Godfather of the genre Wiley segued from his mainstream hits (Wearing My Rolex, Heatwave) to his grime-naissance tunes (Speakerbox, 25 MCs, Can’t Go Wrong), all while inexplicably wearing a Barcelona tracksuit.
Having recently backpedalled on comments he made in 2013, when he went on a Twitter tirade about how “tight” Glastonbury was among a smattering of more explicit language, he garnered a decent-sized crowd. Even so, he couldn’t inspire the sort of frantic fandom bestowed on Stormzy, who followed him sonically and literally, playing after him on the Other Stage tonight.
“I was on the Sonic stage in 2016, and there were about 400 people there,” the Gang Signs and Prayer supremo said, full of disbelief and head to toe in trademark Adidas. “And now there are thousands of you!”
As well as his breakthrough hit Shut Up, he whizzed through most of his new album - Cigarettes and Cush and Big For Your Boots proving to be highlights. There was also space for some politics, too; he touched on Grenfell Tower, unzipping his tracksuit top to reveal a tribute T-shirt, before singing his verse from the newly-released charity single, and telling the crowd that “we must have justice” (cue another burst of the weekend’s biggest anthem, “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”).
Wiley did a decent job - and turned up on time, quite the rarity for him - but, by contrast, his set felt more like a slice of 00s nostalgia than a comment on the trials of today.
And the hits keep coming – My Hero this time, which went down like a raw steak in a tank of piranhas.
Back to the Foos, and readers are emailing in in their, er, pairs. Keep your views coming!
Dan Greenspan writes that we should be checking out Joe Goddard’s DJ set:
Watching online from Los Angeles after trudging through the mud this time last year. I was bouncing around waiting for Warpaint on the Park stage, and man is this Joe Goddard set tremendous. Not a surprise given his Hot Chip affiliation, but it’s clever dance music you can actually dance to, not the derivative sludge that has taken over wide swaths of Coachella.
Matt Dony gets to the matter in hand:
The thing with the Foo Fighters is, they write some brilliant songs, but haven’t put together a consistently brilliant album since The Colour And The Shape. The upshot is, I never listen to their albums, but they are terrific value live when they can largely drop the dross. And Grohl is a masterful frontman.
Father John Misty in the John Peel tent
As the Foo Fighters finally slow things down a little, our Gwilym has been watching Father John Misty in the John Peel tent. I found his new album Pure Comedy rather impenetrable: it went down better live. Gwilym writes:
It’s Saturday night at Glastonbury! So grab your glowsticks and head over to the John Peel, where Father John Misty is emoting his way through Pure Comedy, a six-minute chorusless opus about the grand cosmic folly that is the human race. Oh.
Josh Tillman’s brand of apocalyptic troubadour folk might seem an odd fit for a point where much of the festival is readying itself for a big night out , but there’s something about the sheer puritanical zeal with which he delivers it that keeps things afloat. Backed by a chamber orchestra, Tillman flings his arms around with an abandon that’s part philharmonic conductor, part evangelist preacher. It makes for a great fire and brimstone spectacle, perfect for absolving yourself of your sins in advance of an evening in the Naughty Corner.
Dave’s regency curls and beard do give him quite a familiar look:
When Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters drummer, was announced, he hollered “daaaay-oh!” at the crowd, Freddie Mercury’s old bit of singalong stagecraft. “That’s two Queen things already,” fretted Grohl. Hawkins then led the band on Cold Day in the Sun, before Grohl ripped into Congregation. Eight songs in and it’s still good, dumb fun. A man in the field tweets:
“I don’t think Ted Nugent is popular here,” says Grohl of the Trump-supporting git while introducing the rest of the Foo Fighters – the guitarist had just busted out a Nugent riff. When he gets to bass player Nate Mendel, the band launch into a snatch of Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust.
Solange at West Holts
Earlier on, Kate Hutchinson went to see Solange at the West Holts stage. I saw this show at Primavera, and loved it every bit as much as Kate did.
Every year at Glastonbury there is a performance that expands the parameters of a live show and adds a touch of class that feels almost otherworldly. Last year it was Christine and the Queens but in 2017, Solange and her band take it to a new level. Their combination of resplendent magenta-hued backdrop, art installation-like set - like Sun Ra meets 2001: A Space Odyssey - matching red 70s outfits and effortless choreography is more like a moving painting than a gig.
At times even her entire band, guitars, trombones and keytars in arm, effortlessly glide across the stage with the Knowles sister and her two backing singers, as they play through her acclaimed album A Seat at the Table. It never feels forced, though; understated moves to match the minimalist, stripped back Motown and R&B - a sophisticated yet defiant assertion of femininity and power.
“It’s my 31st birthday today - but this is better than any party,” says Solange, smiling and then fixing the West Holts with a cool stare, the definition of poise, to sing her biggest hit yet, Cranes in the Sky. At times it’s danceable, at others introspective, but nothing less than mesmerising at all times. And none moreso than during FUBU, her song about black empowerment (“For Us by Us”), when she goes down to the crowd barrier, singles out the young women of colour at the front, and sings with them, then gets back onstage and twerks victoriously.
It’s the perfect dusk set - but really there’s no other way to describe it other than flawless.
Another hit, The Pretender. “Do you love rock’n’roll?” Dave enquires of the crowd. “Do you wanna dance with me?” It’s 2017 but in an ever-changing world, some things are perennial.
It’s going to be long night, says Grohl. They’ve got eight albums of material, and a ninth in the can “which you ain’t even fuckin’ heard yet”. Nine albums, yikes. That’s three times the amount Nirvana managed.
A reader called Crannon is kind enough to email:
I always think i can’t bothered for Foo Fighters and am well over them, but they’re hard to deny. Bloody good songs and sound great live.
Nothing is being left to chance – the Foo Fighters are doing their third hit in succession: Learn to Fly. It’s not subtle, but it’s brutally effective.
I’m either a pushover or the Foo Fighters are bringing their A game, because I’m already enjoying this quite a lot.
Now it’s All My Life. It’s safe to say that the Foo Fighters aren’t going the Radiohead route of stuffing the set with difficult deep cuts ... mainly because, to my knowledge, they haven’t got any. The crowd are going nuts, almost drowning out the band on the chorus.
And after an acoustic start, they slam into a full-on rock take on the song.
As Dave himself would holler: “I got a confession to make!” I don’t really get the appeal of the Foo Fighters, but in the spirit of Glastonbury I’m going to stick with this in the hope of being convinced. At the moment, I’m still baffled that Grohl went from being in one of the best bands of all time (Nirvana) to this bunch, wildly successful though they are.
“As I was sitting in my wheelchair, watching the show on TV, Florence played a fucking Foo Fighters song way better than we ever played it.” So they’re starting the show with that song, and dedicating it to Florence. It’s Times Like These.
Foo Fighters headline the Pyramid stage
Now it’s the Foo Fighters, who were booked in 2015 but had to bow out after Dave Grohl broke his leg. He’s dressed all in black and greets the crowd saying “I’m about two years late tonight, I’m sorry. Traffic was a bitch. Let me tell you, for all of you who were here in 2015, I’m sorry I missed you.”
He’s back! The crowd looks enormous and it’s exciting to see Stormzy boss them so convincingly. This moment hasn’t been broadcast yet, but the #grime4corbyn posse, of whom Stormzy was such an effective member, should be enjoying their unexpected success in moving the political needle:
OK, now it’s Stormzy, tearing up Big for Your Boots on the Other Stage ... except the transmission is screwed.
Now we’re getting Wormrot, a Muslim band from Singapore who are, we’re told, “brutal”.
I’m still on BBC2 – and we’re getting a digest of the Earache records thrash metal showcase that hit an unsuspecting Glastonbury on Thursday night. “We don’t set out to shock people but the music is clearly sonically exytemely violent – we get a kick out of wrecking people’s heads,” says Mark “Barney” Greenway, the singer from Napalm Death.
BBC2 is now showing Wiley, who’s doing Wearing My Rolex while wearing a Barcelona training tracksuit. The view on Twitter is harsh:
Liam’s talking about his state of mind post-gig to Jo Whiley: “At the moment I’m just fucking spaced out and that jazz shit ain’t helping.”
Songhoy Blues on the Park Stage
We just saw a bit of them on BBC2, and now Ben Beaumont-Thomas has reviewed the Mali marvels. He writes:
With the urban millennial crowds siphoned off by Solange and Stormzy, the Park stage is left with Glastonbury’s stereotypical crowd: hippies whose hair is either exceptionally styled or not at all - there is no middle ground between glitter-strewn pink wigs and four-month tousled dreadlocks. And it makes for an enormously genial mood for a radically genial band: Songhoy Blues.
Originally from Mali, now fractured by radicalism, they are determinedly upbeat. The army fatigues they wear seem to reclaim camouflage as a beautiful, pacifist pattern, and their music is totally infectious - skanking rhythms with guitar lines gambolling through them, ultra high tempo blues that gives the drum’n’bass at Arcadia down the hill a run for its money, and booming heavy funk-rock.
Two Brits - “like the UN helping the Mali army” says the singer - back them up on brass. “The noise of one tree falling is more than the whole forest growing up” says their singer gnomically, before explaining: bad news makes more noise than good. This was a reminder that Mali is still full of good news and joyful music, despite its difficulties.
People of Glastonbury
Eleri Shone, festival staff
What do you love about Glastonbury?
This year I’m working the middle of the day, 12.45 till 6, four days, on the recycling team. I’ve been recycling for seven years at Glastonbury. Coming here since 97, when I was very little. I’ve also managed to get tickets other years. I have always loved the festival, but I do like being part of the festival, part of the team. When we used to come here when I was little, we’d hop over the fence or climb under it … so this feels like giving something back. [She looks around at the crowd.] These reprobates are a lot of fun.
Strong and stable?
I’m a little bit wibbly. I am a strong and stable person, but I do like to get a bit, you know, fluid at night-time.
Grime or Grohl?
Grohl, of course.
Katy Perry is now launching into It’s a Hard Knock Life, which in turn morphs into her anthem Roar. And then she stagedives! It is Glastonbury after all. That seemed like a pretty vigorous performance to me with all the hits and some psychedelic touches to boot. Bravo Katy Perry.
Meanwhile artist Grayson Perry offers some ambiguous shade:
There’s nothing new under the sun:
The dancer are now wearing giant venus fly-traps on their heads (or something) in order to convey the full majesty of California Gurls. Meanwhile, Hermione Gingold has a query in the comments:
Katy Perry on the Pyramid stage
Ben Beaumont-Thomas gives his appraisal – watch out for spoilers! Ben writes:
“I didn’t know you still liked me!” Shameless fishing from Katy Perry here, from thousands of people who clearly adore her as much as ever. After the blockbuster album Prism, Katy Perry could have relaxed back into something pensive and mellow, but instead she’s doubled down with pounding house beats underpinning breathy and steely pop songwriting. Not all of these totally connect but it’s a tough ask with a new album just out, and the sassy Swish Swish has tens of women sashaying away from one another. And the hits, backed with fantastical costumed dancers, go down a storm.
While I Kissed A Girl gets a house makeover, her trap tracks ET and Dark Horse are switched up to cock rock – the latter is especially brilliant, climaxing in a solo-off from her male and female guitarists. Rather too much has been made of her apparent woke-ness, and her political statements are low-fat vanilla (“Don’t let anyone take your power!”).
But when pulling a wedgie out of her glittery, Illuminati-baiting jumpsuit, or saying that she “lost her shoes in a moshpit but found my soul”, she’s endearingly homely at times. Perhaps Taylor Swift slipped the sound guy a tenner, because there are glitches throughout, but what people will remember is her joyfully stagediving and crowdsurfing to close the show.
Now wearing giant eyes on their head, Katy Perry’s dancers have also got the Guardian fashion desk’s seal of approval:
I tried my best with the National, currently being broadcast on BBC4, but Katy Perry is doing Teenage Dream while prancing around in a glittery catsuit with an Illuminati eye on it and accompanied by nine human pompoms. So BBC2 it is for now.
People of Glastonbury
Toby and Sarah from Brighton
What do you love about Glastonbury?
Sarah: It’s the one time of year when you let go of the schedule, and the boring drudgery that is existence and life sometimes. You get to be around fabulous people. It rejuvenates my soul.
Toby: It’s a feast for everything, isn’t it? A feast for the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the ears, the soul. It’s the biggest party on the planet – that’s something to behold, isn’t it?
Sarah: And we got in ...
Are you strong and stable?
Toby: Yes, but I get quite weak and wobbly in the later hours.
Sarah: I am very stable. I’ll keep with it, keep trying. And I won’t go back on my word.
Grime or Grohl?T
So what’s going to happen when Boy Better Know and Foo Fighters are on?
Sarah: Go somewhere else, see neither.
Toby: See something random. That’s the wonderful thing about here. You can plan to go and see some stuff, but [you come across] science stuff, the theatre and circus field, or the green fields, or you happen across really small bands that I wouldn’t have thought about on the programme. The quality of everything is so amazing. You are just constantly entertained.
Looks like last night’s Radiohead set has inspired its own fake news.
The crowd didn’t applaud Radiohead turning up their guitars ... when you’re headlining Glastonbury you have people to do that stuff for you.
It did, however, remind me of the story of the great Richard Williams reviewing John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Wedding Album for Melody Maker in 1969. The version he received was a double album, with sides B and D consisting of one oscillating tone – actually a test signal.
Williams wrote of these strange sides: “constant listening reveals a curious point: the pitch of the tones alters frequency, but only by microtones or, at most, a semitone. This oscillation produces an almost subliminal, uneven ‘beat’ which maintains interest. On a more basic level, you could have a ball by improvising your very own raga, plainsong, or even Gaelic mouth music against the drone.”
A delighted John and Yoko sent him a telegram concluding: “We both feel that this is the first time the critic has topped the artist.”
On TV, Liam’s leading a singalong of Don’t Look Back in Anger dedicated to those who lose their lives in the London and Manchester terror attack and Grenfell Tower fire. You’d have to be pretty hard-hearted not to be moved by this.
Our Hadley Freeman has spotted none other than the shadow chancellor watching, of all things, Craig David at Glastonbury. He’ll chill on Sunday.
Attitude is Everything are in the business of improving deaf and disabled people’s access to live music and are sharing videos and images of accessibility at Glastonbury. Check out their twitter feed here.
As those of us at home watch Liam on BBC4, where he’s sounding pretty great and looking sharp AF (big up to his dentist and personal trainer), here’s a review by Gwilym Mumford, who was in the field to see him in the flesh a couple of hours ago.
Gwilym writes (and I add a spoiler warning at this point):
Let’s not bury the lede: no, Noel didn’t turn up, despite endless speculation to the contrary. A brotherly reunion always seemed an extremely dim prospect, even at a Glastonbury festival that has seen its share of surprises. Instead we were treated to the new, defiantly solo Liam Gallagher. Well, sort of. His set was peppered with enough Oasis numbers to keep the punters happy - Rock and Roll Star, What’s the Story Morning Glory, Slide Away. The new stuff - dull, lumpen, sub-Oasis blues rock - fared far worse of course, but there was enough goodwill in the crowd for it to pass without too much grief.
The only dissent came in the form of frequent cries of “Noel”, as if the Other Stage crowd were trying to will him back to Worthy Farm, after his Q&A there yesterday. Noel did make his presence felt, even in absentia, as Liam concluded things with an a capella rendition of Don’t Look Back in Anger - his brother’s song, let’s remember - dedicated to the victims of the Manchester and London terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire. It was a spine-tingling moment, but also a tantalising hint of what might have been.
It's Liam Gallagher on the Other Stage
And it looks like he broke his promise to check out a lot of grime at Glastonbury:
Corbyn was so huge he forced Guardian contributor Dorian Lynskey into Glastonbury’s little-heralded rainforest area:
Welcome to Saturday night watching Glastonbury on TV
The memories of Radiohead’s opinion-dividing set haven’t quite faded – people are still arguing about it on Twitter – but Saturday afternoon at Glastonbury was all about Jeremy Corbyn. The absolute boy delivered a passionate speech to an enormous crowd at 4.15pm, culminating in a quote from Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy, and people have been arguing about it on the internet ever since. For instance:
Maybe Farage can ask Michael Eavis if he can have a slot next year – no doubt he’d get a warm reception. Well, if by warm reception you mean “pelted mercilessly and relentlessly with mud and the contents of the long drop toilets”.
Or as Matt Turner of Evolve Politics puts it:
Now it’s time to settle in for the night if, like me, you’re watching from home. We’ve got Liam Gallagher, Katy Perry, the National, Father John Misty and a headline set from the Foo Fighters to take us into the night. As ever, please give us your verdict in the comments, tweet me @alexneedham74 or email me on email@example.com.