Home Alternative Music Glastonbury 2023: Sunday – Pageant Evaluation

Glastonbury 2023: Sunday – Pageant Evaluation

Glastonbury 2023: Sunday – Pageant Evaluation


Glastonbury 2023: Sunday – Festival Review
Elton John © John Hayhurst

Glastonbury Pageant 2023
Worthy Farm, Somerset
twenty fifth June 2023

On the ultimate day of Glastonbury 2023, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Editors and Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul elevate our drained arms and spirits with excellent units, however nothing can evaluate to a real present for the ages by Sir Elton John… (see Weds-Fri right here and Saturday right here)

Into the ultimate day now, though there is no such thing as a time for slacking as we head right down to see Sophie Ellis-Bextor on the Pyramid Stage. It’s already clear that the group for Elton John goes to be one thing particular as even by noon, the entrance stage space is stuffed with folks in fancy costume and carrying banners, clearly planning to remain there the entire day. However there’s a real early deal with right here as Sophie delivers essentially the most impeccable and celebratory set. She is having fun with a well-deserved renaissance after her lockdown Kitchen Disco events and you can not assist your self giving in to her attraction, enthusiasm and relentless optimism – wearing a glittery gold outfit she is a genuinely partaking stage presence.

It additionally helps that she has a incredible assortment of pop songs – she comes on to 2001’s debut single Take Me Dwelling and we additionally get a reminder of how good a single Groovejet was in addition to excellent renditions of Hypnotise and Get Over You. But as together with her Kitchen Discos, it’s massively spectacular how effectively she will flip a canopy model. She incorporates each Moloko’s Sing it Again and Modjo’s Woman effortlessly into Groovejet and her renditions of Alcazar’s Crying on the Discoteque and Freemason’s Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer) are impeccably delivered. Nothing nonetheless, beats her shocking, daring and admittedly magnificent rendition of Madonna’s Like a Prayer which is completely realised and makes you realise simply how a lot Madonna would clear up if she ever determined to carry out right here. By the point of the closing Homicide on the Dancefloor, you think that Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s profile has simply gone up one other degree and that is fully deserved. An excellent pop efficiency.

Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul’s 2022 album Topical Dancer was one of the vital hanging albums of the yr – an album wrapped in pulsing, celebratory beats and fuzzy bass flashes and embellished with attractive and seductive vocal strains, all of the whereas subverting this with lyrics about xenophobia, misogyny and dry asides at politicians and populists. However to see them reside is one thing much more hanging. Up on The Park Stage, they ship one of the vital spectacular and energetic units of the complete weekend to a crowd that begins small however then step by step builds till there’s a sea of gyrating our bodies filling the group. Their stage efficiency is sort of the alternative of Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s: tongue-in-cheek, subversive and at occasions virtually surreal (particularly throughout HAHA when Adigéry actually wanders round laughing manically for 2 minutes) however the general impression of the music and the delicate play-off between the 2 artists (Pupul pulling daft rock and roll shapes while Adigéry performs it cool) works completely as a stage act. An interesting, exhilarating and splendidly distinctive efficiency from two artists who might and must be able to extra hanging and incisive music sooner or later.

Glastonbury 2023: Sunday – Festival Review
Yusuf/Cat Stevens © John Hayhurst

Second solely to the Weapons N’ Roses furore previous to the pageant was the inclusion of Yusuf/Cat Stevens within the well-known “Legends” slot. None of this was in any manner associated to any doubt about his musical heritage (or certainly, a few of his earlier unwise feedback which had been at the least, if no more, problematic than something Axel Rose has ever uttered) however appeared to revolve round whether or not he was thought-about “sufficiently big”. Since Leonard Cohen in 2008, the late afternoon Pyramid slot has been seen as a hallowed occasion on the website, and the crux of the problems gave the impression to be that Yusuf/Cat Stevens was merely not as luminary as artists similar to Diana Ross, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Kylie, Barry Gibb and Paul Simon.

He fully defies all of the doubts. It is a efficiency of quiet, easy and exquisite majesty. His voice nonetheless has that pleading and frayed high quality that has all the time made him so interesting, however it feels as if it has been matured in a vat of oak for a half century. He’s grateful, humble and speaks with the calming geniality of a troubadour. And also you neglect simply what number of superb songs he has written. Opener The Wind and Moonshadow carry an easy weight, while there appears to be shock within the crowd that he authored The First Minimize Is The Deepest. The songs from the fantastic 1971 movie Harold and Maude (Wild Wind, Tea for the Tillerman and If You Wish to Sing Out, Sing Out) are achingly stunning and he produces one of many best Glastonbury moments of the weekend with a canopy of Right here Comes the Solar, devoted to George Harrison. By the point he finishes with a spellbinding model of Father and Son, half of the folks round me are in floods of tears, in addition to myself. Perhaps Yusuf/Cat Stevens will not be the identical draw as among the artists who’ve performed this set earlier than. However when it comes to songs and a efficiency for the years, this was nearly as good as something that has gone, and something more likely to come sooner or later.

Slowdive completely pack out Woodsies, and seem to have defied time with their sound nonetheless as easy and eclectic because it ever was. Rachel Goswell’s voice stays a factor of surprise with new single Kisses sounding up there with their best possible tracks. What’s spectacular is to see so many youthful attendees on the present; proving that their music nonetheless has the flexibility to succeed in throughout the generations. The identical may very well be stated for Editors who handle to draw an enormous and fanatical crowd after them. The good survivors of the mid-’00s indie growth, they’ve reshaped themselves to the purpose the place they will discard tracks similar to Blood, People who smoke Exterior The Hospital Doorways and Bullets with out compromising a stupendous set. Highlights embody a storming An Finish To A Begin, a superbly delivered Munich and an excellent and sudden cowl of Adamski’s Killer. They finish with a riotous and elative model of Papillon and you can not assist marvel at how the shy and virtually apologetic band I noticed again at Newcastle’s Cluny in 2005 has managed to develop right into a monster of a guitar band who can dominate the stage on this manner.

Glastonbury 2023: Sunday – Festival Review
Elton John © Jack Flynn

All via the weekend, the speak on so many individuals’s lips has been round Elton John, and with good purpose; the end result of over fifty years on the high of the music world, his remaining UK present and his first look at Glastonbury. Nevertheless, even after leaving Editors straight after the ultimate chord rings out from the audio system, it’s clear that we’ve got underestimated the attraction of this specific present. The gang is big – manner larger than even McCartney in 2022 or The Rolling Stones in 2013. In all my years I’ve by no means seen it so crowded. With a little bit of fast considering and a few luck with folks leaving Lil’ Nas X (who seems to placed on an awesome present however it’s virtually unimaginable to see or hear) we handle to get shut sufficient to get a view from the stage on the facet, however you can not assist however be awed by the sheer scale of proceedings.

What follows nonetheless, is a efficiency that dwarfs even the scale of this crowd. This was not simply the best set of the weekend, however one of many best issues I’ve seen in my time at Glastonbury.

That is actually particular, and deeply transferring. From the opening cowl of Pinball Wizard (a observe he has not performed since 2009) it’s clear that the set will completely not falter. The band are as tightly-drilled as you could possibly anticipate from backing such a legendary determine however there appears to be extra about them tonight – there may be extra vitality and that additional increase that the stage appears to provide. After which there may be Elton himself. Wearing a gold two piece-suit and red-tinted glasses, there may be some rapid concern with him hobbling to the piano however the minute he sits at it, he’s in whole management. His voice continues to be robust and distinctive, his taking part in funky and soulful. And the hits carry on coming. Bennie And The Jets is sharper and quicker than on report, Goodbye Yellow Brick Street (the closing observe on his latest tour) is epic and I Guess That’s Why They Name It The Blues takes on an additional poignancy with the proceedings. Your Music prompts a colossal singalong from the group to the purpose the place even Elton seems greatly surprised, and Candle In The Wind (full with a Marylin Monroe tribute via the visuals) is extra stripped-back than regular however appears to develop extra in its intimacy. By way of particular friends, it’s extra muted than among the wild gossip predictions going round social media. There isn’t any Paul McCartney, Britney Spears or Eminem. What we do get is Brandon Flowers becoming a member of for Tiny Dancer and a beaming Jacob Lusk from Gabriels for a celebratory Are You Prepared for Love.

Glastonbury 2023: Sunday – Festival Review
Brandon Flowers © John Hayhurst

Criticisms are minimal and virtually irrelevant. If one was to be awkward you could possibly argue that the inclusion of Stephen Sanchez for Till I Discovered You is nice at greatest, and the shortage of Dua Lipa for Chilly Coronary heart in favour of a pre-recorded backing observe is considerably underwhelming. However these are minor criticism of a second half that appears to develop and envelope the viewers in an infinite hug. Folks round me are in a state of pure pleasure and because the set strikes in direction of its conclusion, folks appear to understand that they’re seeing one thing that can genuinely go down in legend.

The triple-punch of Crocodile Rock, a storming Saturday Evening’s All Proper For Combating and a celebratory I’m Nonetheless Standing are delivered with barely a breath between them. There’s a stunning and touching tribute to George Michael earlier than an virtually unbearably transferring model of Don’t Let The Solar Go Down On Me. After which he finishes with an epic, hovering Rocketman as fireworks explode above the Pyramid Stage and random strangers are hugging one another and in tears round me. There isn’t any fats, no encore – only a present bursting with emotion, love and good songs. By way of a option to end the weekend and certainly a profession, there aren’t any phrases to explain how chic and ideal that is. In case you’re one of many crowd, you’ll know. And if not, watch the present on tv – it’ll say greater than I ever might in a thousand years.

Glastonbury 2023: Sunday – Festival Review
Elton John © John Hayhurst

And so, we come to the top of proceedings – blissful, glad and with the standard glow of a weekend that reminds us of how vibrant and joyful music will be. As stated earlier than, Glastonbury’s best energy stays its range and the best way it may incorporate so many musical genres right into a single pageant. There’ll undoubtedly be extra think-pieces and controversies within the run-up to subsequent yr’s occasion and there’ll all the time be folks prepared to throw brickbats and belittle each the line-up and the group. And that is completely effective – everyone seems to be solely entitled to their opinion on this.

However for many who make the journey yearly (and the hundreds of thousands who watch on tv) that is an occasion that affirms the enjoyment of life, love and music. There’s a purpose it sells out every year and a purpose that it stays its place as the first music occasion on the globe. We must always treasure it; treasure that it’s ours and be thankful for its longevity and the deep roots it holds inside our tradition. At a time of such division, sorrow and negativity throughout the nation, Glastonbury stays a shining instance of positivity and communal elation that give so many individuals the vitality and emotional dry cleansing to return to their lives with a newfound love of dwelling. And for that we should always have fun it. A pleasure from begin to end.


Phrases by David Edwards. His different Louder than Warfare articles will be discovered right here

Images by Jack Flynn and John Hayhurst. See extra of his work right here

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