Louisianan singer-songwriter Dylan Leblanc kicked off Glastonbury 2011 with his vontage brand of Americana. Complemented by a full band and exquisite pedal steel throughout, Leblanc’s whiskey soaked vocals soured from the Park Stage, entrancing all that were present. Playing a set (as expected) drawn heavily from debut Pauper’s Field, Leblanc also through a new number from an album scheduled for release in September. The majestic Tuesday Night Rain sounded as heartbreaking as on record and the finale of the Band’s The Shape I’m In ensured that all those in attendance left expecting even more great things from the talented 21 year-old.
A quick dash over to the John Peel Stage followed where man-of-the-moment and Last Shadow Puppet Miles Kane wowed an ecstatic (and sizable) audience with a performance that bristled with intensity and energy throughout its action packed 45 minutes. Kane romped round the stage effortlessly feeding of the tent’s energy. Single Rearrange sounded all the better for its more distorted, heavier live delivery and resulted in a frantic fisting clenching sing along. Kane explained a couple of hours later to Gigwise how was still “fucking buzzing off it”, and how he felt the band were on fire. Based on Friday’s performance few would argue with him.
Jenny & Johnny (as Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis and singer-songwriter Jonathon Rice are collectively, if not particularly imaginatively, known) took to the Park Stage in silence before rattling the highlights of their debut album included the delightful stateside powerpop of My Pet Snakes. Throughout Lewis and Rice’s vocals combined in effortless harmony as they traded instruments as well as turns at the microphone, with single Big Wave proving a particular hit with all those looking on.
“It smells like fucking shit here... in a good way, as in THE shit”, Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst told Glastonbury from the Other Stage later in the afternoon. As the rain came down drenching Worthy Farm Oberst donned a cape and hunched himself over a piano as the band (which included long time collaborator Mike Mogis) proceeded regardless. The performance was evidence of Oberst’s typically inimitable impassioned delivery, however whether it be due to the awful conditions, or lack of audience interaction, the experience came across as slightly vapid.
Main stage stables Biffy Clyro did their best to reinvigorate a packed, but rather soggy Pyramid Stage. The Scots succeeded as they rattled through a career spanning set list which culminated in the colossal Mountains, a tune so epic that it felt as if it was written for a occasions such as Glastonbury’s main stage.
There was the unmistakable aroma of anticipation in the air as the one and only Morrissey took to the pyramid stage. Steven didn’t disappoint either as, after having quipped “fancy seeing me here”, he opened Meat is Murder’s I Want the One I Can’t Have. Both Smiths and solo era classics followed (There Is a Light That Never Goes Out and This Charming Man alongside First of the Gang to Die and Everyday is Like Sunday) as well as new song “Everybody is the Same Everywhere” being debuted by surprise. “I’ll sing as quickly as I can, I know you’re all waiting for U2”, he added, only half joking, before insulting David Cameron into the mix. Not a bad show then.
It was up to Primal Scream to draw a line under the first day of proceedings a Worthy Farm and they did so in tumultuous style. Against a monochrome Screamadelica cover and numerous psychedelic images Bobby Gillespie wailed “Are you ready to testify?” before the gospel acid house of Movin’ On Up kicked off. Few bands could have lifted the spirits of what could easily have been a deflated audience, bearing in mind the quagmire conditions, however, Primal Scream nailed it. The party was in full swing as the band moved through Screamedlica before launching headlong into a medley of classic including Country Girl, Jailbird and, of course, Rocks. They don’t make them like they used to.
The secret stage performance is usually one of the worst kept secrets at Glastonbury. Throughout Friday the amount of rumours flying around the backstage area are ten to none. Sightings of the Arctic Monkeys and Kings Of Leon crew members has everyone in a frenzy. Then as the afternoon beers kick in and the sun has yet to make an appearance it becomes clear that Radiohead will steal the slot on the Park stage.
Trudging up the muddy path even rumoured acts Alex Turner and co are here to witness this unmissable event. As the rain clouds appear over the hills thousands gather to catch a glimpse of what is set to be a truly special moment.
The only problem with holding the special guest spots on the Park Stage is that despite the stunning view from the hill, the stage is not equipped for the sheer amount of people. A lack of view and sound could turn what could be a true moment into something less special. Then after days of rumours Thom Yorke makes his way onto the stage.
Opening with 'Lotus Flower', from new album 'The King Of Limbs', Radiohead fans scream with utter delight. Providing a packed hour set, some members of the audience seem a little disappointed at the lack of so called 'hits' that are being played. There is certainly no 'Creep' but it was the first time that songs from the new album had been performed live and the crowd loved it.
Speaking to the audience Yorke said: ''We’re here to get in for free. We like it as much as you do.”
After making the journey back to the main stage it was time to see headline act U2. After pulling out of last year's festival due to a back injury Bono did not disappoint fans this time around. Ignoring the down pour U2 proved why they are one of the worlds greatest stage performers with tracks ‘Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, ‘Beautiful Day’ and ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’. After thanking the audience for there 'patience' U2 rounded off their set with rare track 'Out Of Control'.
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