Lorde’s Green Light takes flight
When Lorde came back with Green Light earlier this year, it wasn’t quite the instant-grat modern pop superhit many were expecting. It was good, but was it really good? Let the New Zealander’s Other Stage performance here draw a line under any doubt. Covering every inch of the stage in a jumpsuit and Adidas Superstars, Lorde is monumental. Green Light arrives like a whirlwind, dwarfing even Royals in a hit-studded setlist. This song really takes flight at Glastonbury, a tricksy, unpredictable and euphoric mash of radio pop and rave.
A year ago, Craig David was midway through a comeback campaign nobody saw coming. Following My Intuition was yet to be released and the Southampton singer was booked for Glastonbury’s Sonic Stage, a low-rise, white monster of a tent that’s usually brimming with bleary-eyed ravers. This year, he takes the Pyramid. It’s rammed on the hill, and the caramel-sweet Seven Days, Fill Me In and Rendezvous deliver on style, melody and sheer pop power. David sings the latter over Drake’s One Dance, during the TS5 portion of his set. This section also contains Re-Rewind Bo Selecta (The Crowd Say Bo Selecta), a song emblematic of a significant part of modern pop culture. Its first drop causes thousands of people to lose it. He’s earnest, intense and, in this moment, looks very much born to do it.
Oh, Jeremy Corbyn
This was arguably the most hotly anticipated moment of not just Glastonbury 2017, but of any year this century. From the moment doors opened on Wednesday, you don't have to venture far before hearing a distant cry of "Oh, Jeremy Corbyn", set to The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army. The Labour leader has struck a major chord with young voters over the last couple of months, particularly from the music world. He has appeared on the cover of NME and Kerrang!, introduced The Libertines on stage to wild applause and has been widely lauded by grime artists including JME and Stormzy. That momentum was building for this moment.
Not in recent - and not so recent - history has a politician created such fervour among young people, let alone festivalgoers. The crowd that gathers to see him introduce Run The Jewels was tens of thousands deep, united in bellowing that now famous chant. The atmosphere is spine-tingling, as Corbyn addresses everything from the Grenfell Tower disaster and poverty in the UK, to women's rights and the refugee crisis. The crowd meets his repeated calls for togetherness and solidarity over the politics of fear and division with roaring agreement. Regardless of what the coming weeks, months and years will spell for Corbyn and his bid for leadership of the UK, this is a moment the like of which may never be seen again. It will undoubtedly go down as one of the most memorable in this incredible festival's history.
Don't Look Back in anthem
At the end of a set dogged with frankly appalling sound and suffering occasional lulls due to heavy leaning on new material, Liam Gallagher manages to wrongfoot a vast Other Stage crowd by delivering a stark, unexpected solo rendition of the Noel-sung Oasis classic Don't Look Back In Anger. The song has taken on new significance of late, having been adopted as a hymn in tribute to those who were killed at Ariana Grande's Manchester Arena show last month. Since then, Liam has been closing his sets with an a capella version of another Oasis classic, Live Forever, also dedicated to those killed in the Manchester and London Bridge attacks. This time, however, after a dedication to the victims of London, Manchester and the Grenfell Tower fire, he launches into Don't Look Back In Anger, prompting gasps of surprise that quickly turned into a mass sing along and an emotional finale to what, until that point, had been an often frustrating set.
What Katy did
Minor sound issues, heavy, greying skies and the unavoidable sag in the day when many go for a sit down and some food couldn’t stop Katy Perry. Lower than expected sales of Witness and an album campaign that has, at times, felt a little disjointed left her in a curious position before this Pyramid Stage show. She arrives in an outfit that’s equal parts Power Rangers and pixie chic, a sparkling all-in-one with a piercing eye on the front and a butterfly/backpack on the back. Looking at the dancers is just as much of a trip, and the show is a spectacle. Those sound problems mean the songs don’t always match up, but a triumphant Roar at the end atones with ease. It’s uplifting, and underlines Perry’s rhetoric on strength and inspiration. Anyone who thought this pop star had stumbled might now think again.
Barry Gibb/Chic Ft. Nile Rodgers
Barry Gibb must've thought he'd seen it all in his golden career, but even he was taken aback by the size and love of the Pyramid Stage crowd. The surviving Bee Gee was visibly moved, taking time between songs to gasp in awe at the mass of humanity in front of him. The music wasn't bad either, the Gibb proving a reliable Legends slot filler, armed with some of the finest pop songs ever written. Twelve months on from duetting with Coldplay on the same stage, this time, the moment was his and his alone. Fellow disco king Nile Rodgers could be seen watching in admiration from the side of the scale and would have his own Glastonbury moment, taking to the stage with Chic immediately after to deliver an even better set, with every song a bona fide dance floor classic. It's true what they say - the old ones are the best.
It says it all about Glastonbury's unique pulling power that a band as ginormous as Biffy Clyro, who could feasibly headline just about any other festival in the UK, are content to play second fiddle to Ed Sheeran at the granddaddy of them all. Nonetheless, the bare-chested behemoths made the most of their 75 minutes on stage with a typically raucous set, in their first Glastonbury for seven years. A few choice cuts from their underrated latest album Ellipsis were given an airing, but it was the Only Revolutions classics Mountains and Many Of Horror that provoked the biggest reactions. Maybe next time, they'll get the top billing they deserve.
By Daniel Gumble, James Hanley and Ben Homewood