Isle of Wight Festival 2012
Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight
added: 23 Jun 2012
// gig date: 22 Jun 2014
reviewer: Rahsian Parris
Most will be aware that adverse weather conditions, as well as transportation and organisational problems almost caused this year's Isle of Wight Festival to ground to a halt, however, through the mud, sweat and tears, music lovers from all over the globe (Canada, South Africa and New Zealand to name but a few) managed to remove fallen vehicles, abandon wayward tents and trudge their way through several inches of swamp like surfaces to make their way to the different stages to see their favourite acts.
Today saw the likes of Enter Shakari, Kelis, Lana Del Rey, and Groove Armada hitting the smaller 'Big Top' stage, where the generally younger festival goers spent their afternoon and evening being entertained, however, it was of course the main stage that was the focus for today's events. In true festival fashion the weather (dangerous wind speeds this time around) prevented the main stage area from being opened on time, which meant that festival veterans Feeder played half their set to a minimal crowd. However, by the time 'Pushing The Senses' and 'Just The Way I'm Feeling' kicked in, several thousand bodies were swiftly squeezed up against each other, voices chanting together with adoration.
Noah & The Whale played a pleasing set of fan favourites, including '5 Years Time', 'L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N' and 'Give It All Back', however, it was violinist Tom Hobden, that was the entertaining highlight - there's something about a woodwind instrument being played passionately that fills onlookers with the same excitement, and Tom managed such a feat, despite the huge crowd and sometimes mild enthusiasm from his other band mates.
That said, today's main stage action started with Example, if only for all the wrong reasons. The swarm of bodies, hardly able to move from capacity, were foremost youngsters that were there for one reason, Example, and is if to incite a kiddy riot, the Brit-rapper encouraged his young followers into making several mosh pits, jumping arm-in-arm and sitting on top of each others shoulders, much to the dismay of site security.
No doubt there were some crushed ribs, but despite his poor example, the pop star gave an energetic and entertaining performance, which included hit singles 'Change the Way You Kiss Me' and 'Kickstarts', both of which were extremely well received, even by the 30+ crowd who woefully put up with being crushed by teenagers just to make it through to the next two sets from Elbow and Tom Petty and the Heart breakers.
Elbow gave a festival worthy performance, something that had been somewhat lacking up until that point. Big anthems, sing-a-long choruses, lots of witty chatting in-between songs, and a general appreciation for crowd participation made Elbow's performance standout. The Manchester based band repeatedly pointed out the heroism and determination of the several thousand people who risked floods, and whom spent over 24-hours attempting to get to the festival to see them.
They celebrated the 'true festival goers' with lots of 'we shall not be defeated' talk, which only made the crowd love them more; a band that appreciates the fact that the audience are sleeping in mud just to see them is a band that the audience will see again. No surprises that they're dense harmonies, and orchestral lead anthems swelled through the field like an encouraging, warm embrace, and it might've been the first time that everyone actually noted that not only was it not raining, there was actually a clear sky throughout.
Topping this was never going to be easy, cue Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers. Not being an avid fan myself, I didn't expect to be hugely entertained; I was wrong. American rock at it's arguable best, Tom Petty played to die hard fans and newbies alike (although the Exampl-ings had already fled the scene before the MC could even say Elbow), there wasn't a foot in the crowd that wasn't tapping, a voice that wasn't projecting, nor a hand that wasn't waving. To say the bands performance was epic is a dire understatement.
There was a large jump in performance and song quality from the first half of the show until the second, and Tom Petty's band certainly set the standard for the acts that will follow in the next 48-hours. Impressive guitar solos, songs old and new, and a slickness and smooth demeanour made the crowd eat-up the performance that was quickly dubbed the best yet by some festival goers - many had come just to see Tom Petty's band.
With the first full day of the festival ending on a great note, and with high expectations from Saturdays acts, which include Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Pearl Jam, here's hoping the tween-mosh-pits stay down to a minimum and that Labrinth doesn't cause too much of an Earthquake, because in this kind of mud and with this kind of crowd, it may very well turn into a tsunami.
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