Glastonbury - the quintessential stage for new and interesting talent - forget the mud baths that preoccupy the media, this one is all about the music. Well so I'd hoped. Forget the blanket coverage from the "trying to get down with da kids - BBC" and their scatter gun programming that had it popping up on their various digital channels - its a place to showcase musicianship, attitude, fire, passion.
Now maybe I'm just too old for festivals - I did Reading and Kenbworth in the 70's and 80's - I'd seen The Who when they still had fire in their bellies (Keith was alive), Zeppelin when a Jimmy Page riff could stop time and a whole host of other bands / artists now consigned to the 'dinosaur category' by today's version of angry young men, but still I desperately wanted to be enthralled by this years Glastonbury. Getting a ticket turned out to be as likely as hearing an unspun sentence from Tony Blair, but never mind ..... so I contented myself with the next best thing - dipping in and out of the weekends broadcast coverage from the comfort of my living room with a few beers. How could the line-up fail to impress - Strong staples like The Killers, The Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys; bands I'd heard but not seen - Bloc Party, Gulliemots, Damien Marley; and some old boys who might still cut it - Paul Weller, Iggy, The Who. It was a line up to drool over.
Well no - sadly not. Apart from Damien Marley who's set shone with inspiration, it was a truly disappointing affair. The "big acts" - Killers, Kaisers just failed to deliver and the new kids didn't live up to the promise. Poor sound and an over reliance on attitude to overcome naive stage craft and a lack of underlying talent. Someone needs to tell these guys and girls that the odd hit single, catchy riff and smattering of swear words is not enough. Until the climax. .....
I really wanted to hate The Who's set. As I said, I'd seen them nearly 30 years ago when Keith was alive and really kicking and John would dominate the "bottom end " with an mixture of technical grace and breath taking (...the hit to your chest really did take your breath away) simplicity. Roger and Pete surely couldn't kick it up in this company. Well I was wrong and thank the Lord I was. They were the stand out act by a country mile - great songs, great musicianship and the irony of hearing a 60 year old sing my generation after the damp squib performances that had characterised the weekend was not lost on me. Maybe I am getting old but .....meet the new boss - same as the old boss ... listening to you - I feel excitement at your feet.