I know that there haven’t been throngs of people waiting at the dock for my next installment to see if “Little Nell” lives or dies. But, it’s been an open loop that I need to close. So, with no further ado…I present, Saturday at Glastonbury!
As I’d mentioned in my “Friday” post, it was a fitful night of sleep often interrupted by shouting idiots. But, I did finally manage to drift off for long enough to get a decent nights rest. So, I awoke Saturday and climbed out of my sleeping bag to find both of my legs covered in red bumps…hummm? Having no idea what it might be, I headed to the medical tent. There I learned it was a heat rash set off by the large quantities of pollen and dust in the air (I was told it’s fairly common when it’s that hot.) They wanted me to get antihistamines and keep them covered.
A brief note about the medical staff at the festival…they are awesome. Apparently they volunteer and work shifts in return for seeing the festival. What a great system, and what a credit to those folks who give up their free time to work in a tent in a field looking at a manner of ailments in a crowd of that size. All things considered, it was a really good experience and put my mind at ease.
But…now I was limited to not wearing shorts in the heat and sun. I struck out for the pharmacy…a very long walk and bought some antihistamines as they suggested, I also took the one they gave me (more on this later).
I swapped my shorts for long pants and and headed out. First up was the Other Stage and a band called “Two Door Cinema Club”…who were awesome. I heard the last part of set (after I got home I bought their disc, which I was playing just this week…good stuff). From there I headed to West Holts and caught Brother Ali’s set as it started.
Who knew I could like a rap concert? Brother Ali is an Albino, Muslim from Minneapolis who raps (it seems) about mostly positive stuff. I liked it so much I sat down and listened to his whole set. A real surprise for me and something I never suspected I’d enjoy. Do you sense a theme about Glastonbury so far? The magic happens when you least expect it. You can’t force it, you can’t set out to create it…you just have to open your mind and amazing things happen around you.
I’d postponed lunch to hear Brother Ali, so I grabbed a huge baked potato and topped it off with a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I decided to hit the acoustic tent, since I knew it was shaded and I did have the long pants issue going in the midday sun. I guess it was good that I did. You may recall that I took Gandalph an antihistamine a while earlier, and was somewhat tired from restless sleep.
Well, I got to the acoustic tent in the dark shade and lay down on my pad to listen to “Leisure Society”…and fell fast asleep. Vague, restless half-sleep, but sleep nonetheless. I heard snatches of “Leisure Society” and then “Gandolph Murphy”.
Next up was Michael Eavis being interviewed and telling the history of the festival. But, the bad leg cramps returned and I finally got up to walk around. I could hear “Dead Weather” in the distance, but had no desire to fight the Pyramid crowd in my current state. I desperately needed a chair and appealed to a kind warden at the handicapped area that was mostly empty. He allowed me to go up and sit down on a real chair they had placed there. Another thing about Glastonbury, almost everyone working there is really nice. It made a huge difference in my enjoyment of the afternoon.
Al Stewart was up next and he did a show not far off from the last time I’d seen him at the Coach House, except this set was electric in comparison. He seemed really fired up to be playing the 40th. (He was one of the original acts in 1970 at the first one, so a cool story there.) He brought out some guest singers (their names escape me at the moment) for “Night Train to Munich” and even did a sterling version of “Carol” as an encore. It was one of the best Al shows I’ve seen, and I’ve seen him lots (maybe 15 times). It seems Glastonbury really does inspire the best in musicians who play there too.
Imelda May was next with her cool retro sound. Sort of a female “Brian Setzer” with a nice bluesy growl. Her band was very tight and she had a nice charisma as a front woman. Here’s a look at her:
She did a rockin version of “Train Kept a Rollin” and closed with a rockabilly version of “Tainted Love”. Good stuff.
Next up at the Acoustic tent was one of my “must-sees”, Nick Lowe. If you don’t know Nick Lowe…you should. He’s a legend not just for writing the most amazing power pop, but also as a producer, bass player and singer. Here’s a little reminder:
This was only my second time seeing Nick, even though I’ve been a fan for over 30 years. All thoughts of leg cramps, heat rashes and anything negative was now washed away. The triple punch of three great bands in a row had me back in the Glasto spirit and the antihistamine had worn off. I had one more must see for the day, so now that it was dark I struck out for the next band, Midlake.
I stopped for a second at the Queens Head Stage and heard a completely forgettable band called Cherry Ghost. So, forgettable that I can’t recall much about them except that I stopped for song or two.
Next, I took a detour past the Other Stage and watched a little of the Pet Shop Boys. It was the same show I’d seen in Atlanta last September, very fun (and I owe them a debt for ripping off their stage look for one of my corporate shows…) But, I really wanted to make sure I saw all of Midlake at the Park Stage.
Not really a danger of that I found, since I arrived to a long delay while the band tuned, fiddled with amps and generally mucked about for a really long time…half an hour? Come on boys, get it together….
They were good, but honestly…I think better on CD. Maybe it was the long day, maybe it was the spirited sets I’d just seen? But, they have a sort of low-key sound. Kind of “Prog-folk” and after a long day it was more atmospheric and lulling. Not a bad thing, if that’s what you’re looking for. But in my tired state I found it hard to really get engaged by the music and my mind wandered. To be clear, it wasn’t bad. It was quite good technically. Just quite chilled out for that late at night after a long day.
This is one of their more upbeat tracks:
Near the end, I shot a few more photos and headed down to my tent, which was mercifully very close to the Park Stage.
All in all a fine day with a few bumps. I was able to see the main acts that I had in mind and only really regretted missing out on a couple hours due to sleeping in the Acoustic Tent.