Over 200,000 people flock to Pilton, Somerset, for the world’s biggest Greenfield Festival, Glastonburywhich opened on Wednesday.
Headliners in this 50th anniversary year are Paul McCartney – who just turned 80 — and Billie Eilish — the festival’s youngest headliner to date. You can read all about Macca giving “one of the great Pyramid Stage sets”Same awesome eilishand you can follow all the action from Friday and Saturday.
There’s plenty more to come today, too: Kendrick Lamar is Sunday’s big headliner, while the one and only Diana Ross performs in the Legend location. Plus, there’s the Pet Shop Boys and two exciting surprise sets, from George Ezra and Jack White.
The Telegraph’s Chief Music Critic Neil McCormickas well as Telegraph music journalists James Hall and Alice Vincent, and Telegraph feature writer Ed Cumming are all on the farm this year and will contribute live talking points, reviews and Glastonbury ups and downs all throughout the weekend, so stay tuned for their latest updates.
This article will be updated with the latest Glastonbury news.
Not the most melodious, but Diana Ross has glorious star appeal ★★★☆☆
After the diva strops and the production disasters of the Platinum Jubilee Concert in May, where Diana Ross fell foul of a disconnect between her backing music and her vocals (the BBC confirmed that Ross was singing live), there was perhaps additional curiosity as to whether her rise at Glastonbury’s legendary Legends Slot would be an improvement. But if viewers at home were worried, in Somerset tens of thousands were just ready to party – the Pyramid Stage arena began to fill under cloudless skies an hour before the set of Ross, proving the singer’s appeal even among those born 40 years after his 1960s heyday.
Yes, backing vocals poured in from the speakers, but Ross sang over them, mostly in sync, delivering a much more subdued version of the beltline that made her a star. There may have been more melodious performances on the Pyramid stage.
The thing is, no one comes to Legends slot expecting the heritage stars to be as good as they were decades ago. They come for the star appeal, and they come for the bangers. Ross brought both in droves, appearing on stage after a hyper video montage of glamorous portraits of yesteryear over fiercely slapped bass, submerged in a dazzling shimmering white number from head to toe, with a drag following her around the scene. Watching her unclip her two-foot high coif from her glorious trademark curls six minutes later was equally entertaining.
As for the set list, it was a relentless one: Coming Out, Baby Love, Stop! In The Name of Love, Locomotion, Upside Down and catchy extended versions of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and I Will Survive. It should also be noted that Ross seemed to warm up as she went on, a tight and effusive band providing the engine, complemented by a brass quartet.
His new Thank You number has been set in a more generous register for Ross’ vocal range these days, and it’s been almost as crowd-pleasing as his more familiar hits, demonstrating that when it comes to tracks rhythmic, she’s still able to churn them out.
It’s easy to believe that those watching at home might laugh at Ross. Up close and on screen, faint voices are hard to hide. But what doesn’t pass through the cameras is the mood on the pitch, the affection Ross has garnered with statements such as “Because vinyl is back!”, the excitement of hearing tracks that many grew up dancing to experience for the first time, and the sunny start to the last night of a highly anticipated Glastonbury. What if Ross lost his voice? None of the crowds were intact after such chanting. Alice-Vincent
Jack White hates the color beige
George Ezra isn’t the only surprise act today. We also have Jack White coming – the leader of the White Stripes. Stay tuned for our verdict on her latest set, as well as news on Diana Ross, who just took to the Pyramid Stage.
In the meantime, get to know White better (and why he hates beige) via this excellent interview with Andrew Perry.
George Ezra’s secret set was overflowing with positivity ★★★★★
The weekend’s ‘secret setting’ on John Peel’s relatively small stage has been an open secret since a not-so-subtle photo on social media linked it to Georges Esdras A few days ago. With the more accustomed singer-songwriter playing on the much larger Pyramid Stage, the venue was absolutely stunning.
Ezra, who only arrived at the venue today, said he had been a “very jealous young man” seeing messages from friends at the festival the previous days. It was pointless now: it was time to have fun. The show was meaningful to Ezra. “Eight years ago, I made my first album. And that weekend we played on the John Peel Stage,” he said.
— George EZRA (@george_ezra) June 26, 2022
So let’s call it a birthday party. It certainly looked like one. Ezra’s mix of soul and sunny pop could have been tailor-made for Glastonbury. It’s a relentlessly uplifting sound, rich in brass, organ and backing vocals. And it would take a curmudgeon of monumental proportions not to have been swept away in the sheer joy of this sight. Songs like Green Green Grass got people moving, singing and screaming. Ezra was committed throughout. A little boy called Thomas who held a sign with his name on it cheered from the stage, which drew 10,000 cheering people.
Ezra finished with Budapest and Shotgun. This last song has become something of an evergreen Glastonbury anthem. It was a fantastic show, brimming with positivity. Ezra will be back. But next time, I imagine, the stage will be bigger. James Room
Herbie Hancock demonstrates his enormous influence on modern music ★★★★☆
Everyone makes a big fuss about who is the headliner of the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury but I would say the Sunday afternoon lineup on the big stage is a better decider of a good or a big festival. On the last day of the festival, it makes more and more sense not to count the steps and lean into the gentle rolling of the hill of the Pyramid Arena, especially if the sun is out, and especially if Herbie Hancock prepares immaculate jazz. During Hancock’s set, the paths around the Pyramid became clogged with people trying to get their seats for the afternoon, but at least he got some of them dancing.
The Chicago multi-instrumentalist and jazz funk pioneer is now 82 years old and skillfully led his three fellow musicians through a set that elegantly showed his enormous influence on contemporary music. Hancock barely spoke a handful of words, preferring to let his music do the talking. Crooning into stacked mics reminiscent of the presence of autotune in modern pop, Hancock and his band unleashed dreamy harmonies and smooth jams over a happy, weary crowd.
“Thanks a lot #glastonbury!”
— BBC Radio 6 Music (@BBC6Music) June 26, 2022
It’s been nearly 40 years since Hancock released Future Shock, an album many consider a vital ancestor of hip-hop, and yet its music – rich, multi-layered and transporting – sounds more timeless than ever. Alice-Vincent
With a nod to Macca, Sports Team leaves everyone smiling ★★★★☆
The Sunday morning cobwebs were firmly blown away by the six-member south London sports team, whose energetic indie rock feasted in the John Peel tent. The group, most of whom met at Cambridge University, sings of a romanticized central England, not unlike Blur at the start of the era. Their debut album Deep Down Happy was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2020, and its follow-up, GULP!, is out later this summer.
The band’s performance revolved around the manic energy of vocalist Alex Rice, who – repeatedly – scaled the lighting rig, overwhelmed by the crowd as a confetti cannon burst overhead, and twisted and squirmed on the stage floor like a possessed man. There are elements of Rice’s mad circus performer (he wore a red two-prong jester’s hat for much of the set) and touches of the charisma and presence of INXS’ Michael Hutchence too. . (Sources close to actual sports teams tell me he’s also a pretty useful mid-pace bowler).
A mosh pit formed for a raspy Here’s The Thing, a pop song that positively crackles with energy. In a large tent like this, guitar-based music can sound muddy and its subtleties can get lost in the vastness. Everything ends up sounding a bit like an independent dump. It threatened to happen once or twice but was saved by the sheer energy of the individuals on stage. In a nod to Paul McCartney, they played A Little Help From My Friends. “It’s beautiful. It’s the best festival in the world,” Lake said.
The whole tent seemed to leave with smiles on their faces. Hopefully this set the tone for the final day of Glasto. James Room
What’s your favorite memory of Glastonbury in 2022 so far? How about your all-time favorite Glastonbury memory? Tell us in the comments below