Pyramid Stage, Fri
I’m writing this a day late because yesterday was all about getting ready to go to Arcade Fire and now today is all about reliving last night at Arcade Fire… Anyway, it matters not. All that matters is that, based on their Saturday night performance at Earls Court, Glastonbury is set to experience one of the most thrilling headline sets in the history of the event.
Last time I watched the Friday headliner, I had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, away from Roy Ayres on the Jazzworld stage. As it turned out, the White Stripes delivered one of my favourite performances ever and made me realise peak-time Pyramid Stage can actually be mighty enjoyable. This time no kicking nor screaming will be necessary, I’ll be there with bells (and mask, facepaint, ribbons etc) on. I might even sit through an interminable Elbow set beforehand to ensure a good spot.
I’m not going to go into a blow-by-blow rendition of the gig – the setlist is here and there are plenty of reviews out there doing that – but it’s enough to say that all the elements are there for a truly iconic headline set that will be talked about for decades.
Want visuals? These days Arcade Fire are as much about the visual experience as the music – both are mind-blowing. A mirror-festooned main stage, a second stage halfway back with dancers and the Reflektor video’s bobblehead puppets, Mirrorball Man, glitter cannons and streamers… Their on-stage presence is quite literally dazzling. I can’t wait to see how they’ll transport this to the Pyramid Stage.
Need a soaring anthem to lift your spirits and break your heart? Regine Chassagne singing Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) will bring the tears streaming down your face in the very best way. (Regine, I once called you a banshee who needed to learn to sing – sorry about that. Obviously I was young and stupid. Ah jeez. *sobs into cup of tea*)
Want an epic ‘lighters aloft’ festival singalong? Here, have Wake Up, the set closer at Earls Court, which saw burly men all over the room spontaneously sob, bellow and hug each other.
And for one of those “only at Glastonbury” surprises? These guys have form. From Debbie Harry at Coachella to Ian McCulloch at Friday night’s gig, the odds are high that someone (please let it be Bowie) will pop up on stage for an unannounced collab. But it’s not necessary. Last night, for some strange reason, Win Butler announced Paul McCartney as their special guest, followed by an odd rendition of Helter Skelter by the bobblehead puppets. While Macca didn’t eventuate, the band did bust out a fantastic rendition of London by The Smiths. And no one felt any the poorer.
I could go on but nobody’s reading this anyway. However, I have absolutely no hesitation in naming last night’s show as the best gig of 2014 – until Friday night at the Pyramid Stage, that is. Be there. And for god’s sake, dress up.