I caught quite a bit of Glastonbury on the TV over the weekend. The BBC's coverage of the Pyramid Stage, Other Stage, Park Stage, Woodsies and West Holts was incredible. OK, the BBC didn't delve into the side stages, tents and areas that for many are the real Glastonbury, but they did pretty well and they know their audience.
Here are 10 of my highlights from my weekend of TV watching. One additional observation was how white and middle class the audience seemed. Did anyone else feel/spot that?
You should get all of these sets on the BBC iPlayer
You'll find BBC YouTube links to key songs from each artists set after my review.
1. Young Fathers, Friday, West Holts Stage
Within minutes of taking to the West Holts Stage, with the sun burning bright in the sky in front of them, just before it started setting, Young Fathers performance looked, sounded and felt like a huge moment for them. With Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham 'G' Hastings lining up along the front of the stage alongside 2 female (apologies for not knowing their names) singers, you can't help but be captivated by their presence and impact. Queen Is Dead was loud, proud, cool and bold, while Rice was simply sublime.
2. Carly Rae Jepsen, Friday, Other Stage
We're big fans of Carly Rae Jepsen in our house. She has an astonishing run of singles that are sheer pop perfection. The hooks, melodies, beats, riffs and choruses are just incredible. As I was watching I immediately regretted not going to see Carly in Glasgow back in February. I hope she comes back soon. Cut To The Feeling is euphoric, while Call Me Maybe and I Really Like You are timeless pop.
3. Texas, Friday, Pyramid Stage
Sharleen Spiteri and Texas knocked it out the park on Friday, playing hit after hit, generating huge sing-songs in the crowd. Sharleen bounded around stage one minute and strapped on a gorgeous green semi-acoustic the next. Opening with smash debut single I Don't Want A Lover set a tone, then it was into Halo, while later on it was the triple blow of Black Eyed Boy, Inner Smile and Say What You Want. A smash hits of a set!
4. Hot Chip, Friday, Woodsies
I found myself dancing around the living room on Friday night to the delightful electronic sounds of Hot Chip. I fell for them in 2005 (see my 10 from Hot Chip blog) and they continue to woo me to this day. Alexis Taylor has barely changed in the near 20-years I have been following the band. His voice remains delicately beautiful, his fashion sense is still brilliantly geeky weird, while his band mate Joe Goddard is just the same - with a slightly deeper voice.
The synth sounds they created on stage amped up their studio versions, the light show added to the vibe. From the opener of Huarache Lights to the closing Over and Over, this was a set I cherished.
5. Lewis Capaldi, Saturday, Pyramid Stage
What an emotional performance. After a couple of songs Capaldi was coughing regularly during songs, his throat and voice were going. But he kept going, feeling the love of the audience and not wanting to let them down. His nervous ticks became increasing prominent, but he kept on singing and the crowd sang with him and for him. His self-depreciating humour was apparent throughout and he even took his top off for one song the huge cheers.
I watched this with my 8-year old daughter Rosie and we were both feeling for Lewis. And we were both moved by the response of the Glastonbury crowd who had his back 100%, singing for all their worth.
Lewis was moved too. Taking several moments to take it all in. Bruises was beautiful, Capldi was visibly bruising on stage, making the song even more poignant.
Capaldi then said he would try to sing 2 more songs, but after Hold Me While You Wait he was really struggling and the crowd took over for most of his monster hit Someone You Loved. Lewis was apologising one minute and thanking them profusely the next, but he still somehow found the strength from within to sing one final chorus which was spine tingling and exceptionally emotional.
Lewis, with typical transparency, told the crowd and us watching at home that we might not see him for a while, he'd be taking some time out.
I hope he does and that his family and friends hold him close and protect him from any record company pressures. He just seems a genuinely lovely young guy who wants to write and sing. Maybe, when he returns, he could play some smaller venues, a residency at the Barrowland and/or Concert Hall in Glasgow. So he can stay at home.
6. Rick Astley and Blossoms, Saturday, Woodsies
I'm not a fan of Astley or Blossoms. So I wasn't intending to check this collaboration out, but a couple of WhatsApp messages from friends alerted me to it, so I did. And i have to admit that they knocked their covers set of Smiths songs out of the park.
Festivals should be barmy and bonkers. And this was barmy, bonkers and somehow brilliant.
That said, I wouldn't pay to go and see them on tour, but great at a festival.
7. The Pretenders, Saturday, The Park Stage
One of many performances that I watched with one or both of my daughters where they said; 'How old are they?' Then we would guess how old they are against my Mum of 76.
What a beautiful sound The Pretenders created, aided by the introduction of Johnny Marr on guitar, while Macca watching from side-stage must have put a spring in their step. Oh and Dave Grohl popped up to guest on drums for Tattooed Love Boys.
Chrissie Hynde was in fine voice, there was no Brass in Pocket, but there was a magnificent I'll Stand By You and the crowd were loving it.
8. Candi Staton, Sunday, West Holts
At 83-years old and having recently survived breast cancer, this may well have been Candi Staton's last Glastonbury performance. However, I personally wouldn't bet against her returning again. She displayed resilience and strength throughout her set which included In The Ghetto, Suspcious Minds and a euphoric Young Hearts Run Free. But in her lengthy introduction to You Got The Love she bared her heart and soul as she told of her struggles through her treatment and how her faith kept her going. She found herself singing You Got The Love in hospital corridors to keep herself going, finding new meaning in the song.
And then she sang it for Glastonbury, she sang it for her family, us watching at home and she sang it for God and her faith. It was beautiful. A real Glastonbury moment.
9. Becky Hill, Sunday, Other Stage
My kids love Becky Hill and they've turned me on to her brilliant pop songs like the sublime Remember. In blazing sunshine, Hill's electro pop with a nice clubby feel to it wowed the Glastonbury crowd. And she felt it! Pausing several times to take it all in and highlight how everything felt like it had built to this moment. And she fell for Glastonbury, talking of how she was at Arcadia for The Chemical Brothers and how she would be back next year whether she was playing or not.
On this evidence, she should be booked again. With 4 backing singers, the sound was euphoric and Hill's voice is incredible. Soulful and packed with emotion. She has a clear ear for pop.
Opening with the mighty Crazy What Love Can Do got the crowd on her side and Hill paused several times to stop herself from crying. Her love of dance music came out through cover versions like Heaven and You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) and her new songs mixed well. Closing with Remember, I wouldn't be surprised if Becky is invited back next year.
10. Elton John, Sunday, Pyramid Stage
What a show! What a band! What a crowd! What a career! From the opening blitz through Pinball Wizard to the emotional finale of Rocket Man with a stunning extended outro, Elton John and his band were on fire. Almost literally at the end as Fireworks exploded overhead and pyrotechnics burst from the stage.
My own highlight (in addition to Rocket Man) was a euphoric blast through Are You Ready For Love? with guest vocalist Jacob Lusk from Gabriels and the London Community Gospel Choir. What a chorus! It was a joyful performance.
Brandon Flowers from The Killers came on for Tiny Dancer, Rina Sawayama joined Elton for Don't Go Breaking My Heart while Stephen Sanchez came on to perform his own song Until I Found You with Elton and his band. John has always promoted and supported new acts.
After somewhat underwhelming headline performances by Artic Monkeys on Friday (tight as f**k but they didn't exactly get the crowd going) and Guns n Roses on Saturday (superb guitars but Axl Rose was barely audible at times and sounded awful when his mic was turned up), Elton John and his band gave Glastonbury a celebratory party goodbye. John signed off his last ever UK performance in the fun and flamboyant style he is famed for.