25 June 2023 (gig)
26 June 2023
Waking up early it’s already so hot that the promise of mid-afternoon rain is a welcome one; but looking at the skies, it's hard to believe.
Sunday is always a weird day, reality starts to break through that one, unfortunately, cannot live each day listening to the live music in this idyllic setting. No need to rush today though, a phone app tells me that over 54km have already been covered, so it’s time to ease the pace and bask in the Glastonbury glory.
First up for us and playing on The Other Stage are Nova Twins who wake up the sleepy Sunday crowd with their urban punk style; well that’s how they describe it. Sleek and chic, Giorgia’s on distorted bass, Amy on guitar and her Skin style singing is powerful stuff which helps to rebalance the senses. Check out the raucous energy fuelled track ‘Antagonist’.
The Big Moon at Woodsies are seemingly astonished by the size of the crowd gathered in front of them. Indeed the tent is jam packed. Their silky smooth pop songs are just a treat and they fully deserve such recognition as their voices and guitar melodies blend seductively on songs ‘Suckerpunch’, ‘Barcelona’ and ‘2 Lines’.
Yusuf/Cat Stevens has the legends slot this year. ‘Teaser And The Firecat’, and ‘Tea For The Tillerman’ are and will remain seminal albums and even though he has a new album out it’s the old stuff people want to hear. Carefully arranged and detailed songs, his band provide a rich musical accompaniment, which the attendant throng soak up, attentive and appreciative to the memorabilia he offers up. ‘Morning Has Broken’ and ‘Father And Son’ delight as does a cover of ‘Here Comes The Sun’ dedicated to George Harrison.
Blondie is part of the fabric of British culture, self-confessed anglophile, Debbie Harry is one of the ladies of rock who helped develop egalitarianism in the music business. Not too many notable women in headline spots at the festival was a criticism levelled at the 2023 line-up, but when you analyse how many girl bands have been playing over the four days, it’s rather unfounded. Debbie and Clem with Glen Matlock on bass are still on the festival circuit. Armed with irresistible hooks and choruses of songs we love and cherish, this 5pm Sunday slot on the Pyramid Stage is the aperitif needed as the excitement starts to build for tonight’s final booze up.
To further ramp up the nostalgia dial it’s a trek over to the Acoustic Tent for the Bootleg Beatles. The sun has stayed with us and it’s glorious walking through the theatre and circus area with cabaret performers, brass bands, and kids enjoying the freedom of safe open spaces. It’s party time. A sizeable crowd are here to have fun and a singalong. We all know the game, and so do the band. Willing and more to the point, able, to deliver the songs we love to kids, teens, and elders alike, glorious.
Lil Nas X, the LGBTQ icon, gets the slot before the festival’s closing act, supposedly suggested by Sir Elton. Lots of noise from the crowd throughout the gig which is not always the case in-between songs for Pyramid acts. It’s a powerhouse performance as the sun starts it's decent any suggestion of rain vanquished.
9pm on the dot Elton John makes his way on stage for what must be the biggest crowd ever assembled at The Pyramid Stage. Dressed in a gold suit he leads the band straight into ‘Pinball Wizard' followed by 'The Bitch Is Back’ so it’s a brazen faced start from the piano man full of gusto and glee. ‘Bennie And The Jets' follows and it is one of the highlights of the show. Dynamic and audacious with a jazzed up turn at the end, it is a joy to behold. Other special moments come in the shape of ‘Are You Ready For Love’ with Jacob Lusk and the London Community Gospel Choir and a splendid Glastonbury crowd singalong for ‘Tiny Dancer’ with a well groomed Brandon Flowers on guest vocals. Elton retails us with ‘Your Song' solo on piano, sublime stuff. No Sir Paul or Harry Styles as was being touted around the festival as special guests. Indeed Elton allowed the relatively unknown (at least on these shores) Stephen Sanchez to showcase one of his songs which seems a rather obscure choice. Rocket Man suits and glam outfits were on show throughout the crowd which was noted and praised by Elton. The closer, ‘Rocket Man’, allowed the band to break loose and shine in style as spectacular pyrotechnics light up the night sky.
With that, Elton gets the band to take a bow and they are off. No encores, it’s time to face the inevitable traffic or stumble back to the tents for one final night. Probably not in the top ten of the most memorable Glastonbury shows ever but none-the-less a most enjoyable one.
As our name suggests, we focus primarily on the music but as the 900 acre site can attest to (more than a mile and a half across) there is something for everyone here. What a great festival it has been. Glad it's over to be honest, not sure the legs can take another day, but I'm already looking forwards to 2024. A completely trouble free, and friendly experience with the stewards very courteous at all times. Better organized and safer every year, it’s not your cheapest festival ticket but it’s certainly worth every penny. Well done Emily Eavis for looking after your/our Glastonbury Festival, long may it continue.