Tag Archives: Ray Davies

Glastonbury Sunday

So, unexpectedly I spoke with one of the readers of the blog today.  I wasn’t sure anyone was really reading it, so to hear positive feedback and comments was very cool and really made me feel good.  I’ve known that I needed to finish the write ups of the trip.  But in a way leaving something undone has sort of been a way to not completely put this in my past.

The experience was so unique and different from my normal daily life that in a small way leaving this a bit undone has prolonged the experience and allowed me to reflect about it under the guise of “thinking about my next post”.  While I will eventually wrap the actual writing about the trip, the “beyond” part off the title will give me license to keep writing and musing about music and concerts.

But for now…there’s still more Glasto to talk about!

I awoke Sunday and stumbled out of my tent knowing this was my last day of music at the festival.  The tents around me were now dusty and trash was strewn about.  There was a sort of refugee camp feel with shellshocked (and still hung-over) attendees wandering about with glazed eyes.  A few folks were already packing and slipping away quietly, their jobs and real lives beckoning them to try and beat the traffic queues predicted for the next day.

The toilets were truly grim today.  The first set that I arrived at being too horrible to even enter and close the door.  I walked a bit further and found a marginally better one that seem to have been cleaned sometime in the past few days.  The worst of a challenging part of the entire experience.  But, I survived it one more time, gathered my gear at the tent and headed out.

I listened to a bit of Frightened Rabbit at the Other Stage, acceptable but not memorable.  As I write this a couple months later I couldn’t tell you the name of a single song they played.  Not horrible or anything…just didn’t impress much.  I maybe should have stayed to hear the Hold Steady, but the sun was hot and I moved along to the West Holts Stage for a second performance of The Bees.  Different than the more intimate setting for the Queens Head Stage on Friday.  But, songs like “Listening Man” still broke through and were very appealing to groove to while I sat on an empty bench.

Restless, after most of their set I moved along to the Avalon Tent and plopped my folding chair in a shady spot to hear Kristy Almedia.  Nice voice and some fun arrangements with a tight band.  Not compelling to have sought out any of her CD’s, but a nice interlude on a relaxing morning.

I took a break to grab some pizza and then bought some ice cream that I ate in the cool shade of the Queens Head tent.  None of the bands had started up there, so it was uncrowded and I could sprawl in the shade and simply relax….(sensing a them for the morning?…relaxation).

While resting there I made this note:

Going to Glastonbury is hard, and it should be.
Just like life you have to experience the bad as well as the good.
Bad choices aren’t the end, you recover and move on.

Sunday morning was obviously my day to get philosophical….

I decided to join up with the eFest folks for Ray Davies.  I got to the Pyramid Stage early and listened to about half of Slash’s set.  Quite good overall and well suited for a sunny afternoon at Glastonbury.  He capped the set with Sweet Child O’ Mine  and Paradise City.  A couple of real serious crowd pleasers there for sure.

The eFest folks found me at the meeting spot and we headed over to grab a space to the right of the stage near a delay tower for Ray’s set.  I’d seen the Kinks way back in 1979 in San Francisco, but never since…even though I enjoy Ray’s writing very much.  For this show he brought along a chorus to do the choral arrangements off his last CD.  It was BRILLIANT!  The power of all those voices propelling songs like Victoria, See My Friends and All Day & All of the Night was a high point of the day for me so far.

Here’s his complete setlist:

‘I Need You’
‘Dedicated Follower Of Fashion’
‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else’
”Til The End Of The Day’
‘After The Fall’
’20th Century Man’
‘Sunny Afternoon’
‘You Really Got Me’
‘Shangri-La’
‘Victoria’
‘See My Friends’
‘The Working Man’s Cafe’
‘Johnny Thunder’
‘The Village Green Preservation Society’
‘Lola’
‘Waterloo Sunset’
‘Days’
‘All Day And All Of The Night’

The Kinks had been the original headliner of Glastonbury in 1970 and had cancelled to be replaced by T-Rex.  So, it was fitting that he came back to celebrate the 40th and Ray dedicated the set to his former bassist Pete Quaife who had left the band (and the music business) in 1969 and had passed away the previous Wednesday.  A few tears were shed by Ray (and many in the audience) as he further dedicated “Days” and “Waterloo Sunset” to his old friend near the end of the set.

Waterloo Sunset had been running through my mind each time I ended up at Waterloo Station while in London.  And this emotional performance of the song pretty much cemented it as the theme song of my trip.  I’ll never hear it again without thinking of that near perfect moment surrounded by strangers and folks that I barely knew, yet who all shared a kinship and a connection.  I think that’s the “Glastonbury moment or Glastonbury experience” that people talk in hushed tones about.  The unexpected way that worry and stress falls away and life outside the festival at that moment fades away.  I can say for certain that Ray was more inspired in that field then he was a week later opening for Bob Dylan at Hop Farm.  His set there was similar and decent, but lacked the emotion and magic he found that afternoon on the Pyramid.

Here’s how it sounded and looked:

Wow…..

I didn’t want to hang out for Jack Johnson as I planned to see him in London in a few days.  I moved along to the Other Stage and heard a bit of “We Are Scientists”….sadly “we may be scientists, but we aren’t that good” was my take on them.  I mean it wasn’t awful, but the lead singer had the foulest mouth outside of John Cougar back in the 80’s I’d ever heard.  I’m not a prude…but, it was noticeable in it’s pointless excess.  I shot some photos and then headed to my tent for a rest, some food and a couple calls to the US to say hello to family.  In the distance MGMT played…which judging by what I heard…from a distance was the best way to listen to them.

While I chilled in my tent I made some note of “Things I Learned at Glastonbury”:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Take wellies and sunscreen…you never know what you’ll get.
  • hen you see the milk tractor, buy a pint.
  • No matter what you choose, you’ll miss something while doing something else…it’s okay.
  • Others will make different choices and think they were better….they were, for them.  Your choices were perfect for you.  Celebrate them and appreciate all the good stuff you experience.
  • Camp a reasonable distance from the toilets and upwind…trust me on this…
  • Your clothes will get filthy, you may want to burn them or throw them away.  Polish them up and hold onto them.  That grime is part of the experience you’ve had at the Festival.  Wear it proudly and remember where that T-shirt took you.
  • Share what you brought and let others share with you.  Both actions enrich your experience and your life.
  • Assume you may never pass this spot again, so appreciate the moment while you’re there, but look forward to the next one and don’t spend too much time in the past.  Those moments help define you, but they aren’t all you are or can be.  Enjoy, accept and move on.
  • There’s always another great song to hear in the next bar or stage down the road.  You might miss it if you stand still for too long and live in the past.
  • Don’t try to see everything, there’s too much for you to ever take in.  Appreciate what you have and accept you can’t have it all.

Down to my last few hours, I made some decisions.  I’d try to see folks I couldn’t easily see at home.  Thus, I skipped Faithless, LCD Soundsystem Julian Casablancas to see Toots and the Maytalls at West Holts.  A phenomenal set of reggae played in the late afternoon fading light to a happy crowd.  Here’s a taste of an absolute legend from Jamaica:

You can see a bit of how happy the crowd was, that song was a highlight as was 54-46 (That’s my number), Pressure Drop and a very effective version of the John Denver song Take Me Home Country Roads….(look it up, it’s really good).

After Toots I headed to the LeftField Tent to see Paul Heaton.  Now a lot of folks will have no idea who that is…he anchored the Housemartins in the 80’s and then went on to form the Beautiful South.  Well known in the UK, not so much in the USA.

A brilliant writer who writes similar to someone like Graham Parker….a nice glossy sheen of music with a serious bite if you dig into the lyrics.  Having missed any chance to see either of his previous bands, I knew this was a rare chance for me.  He didn’t disappoint at all.  From the Housemartins days he did both Build and Flag Day, neither of which I ever thought I’d get to hear live.  Plus, he did a nice selection of solo songs off of “Cross Eyed Rambler” and his new CD “Acid Country”, including a biting song called “Everything is Everything” about the pervasiveness of advertising in this modern age.  Brilliant stuff and he was joined on his last song by Billy Bragg, another obscure UK pleasure of mine to listen to.

Here’s a music video link because the quality of most of his live stuff on YouTube is poor.  Either bad picture or sound on most I sampled.

When his set ended I saw that I might have time to catch some of Jackson Browne if I rushed to the acoustic tent.  I’d already decided to avoid the crowds at Stevie Wonder, as I’d seen him previously here in So Cal (he was awesome).  I heard a snippet of Rodrigo y Gabriela, who sounded great, but I didn’t stop for at West Holts.  Then, I could hear Stevie in the distance next singing “…if you really love me…”

Tempting, but I pressed on.

I reched the acoustic tent finally where David Lindley was jamming away.  I’m not sure how long he’d been playing but Jackson wasn’t on stage yet.  Amazingly, there were less than a thousand people there (guessing).  I walked right up to the barrier and took a spot stage right in front of David….amazing!  My timing was perfect as Jackson Browne climbed onstage and he and David did a stunning version of For Everyman leading into Warren Zevon’s Carmelita, Sit Down Servant (a gospel song) and then The Pretender.

The Pretender was a very important album to me back when I was a confused teen and my mom was dying of cancer.  The emotion of the whole thing hit me very hard, and I stood there overwhelmed to tears by hearing that song in that setting.  A couple songs later he did Late for the Sky and I was again flooded with memories and emotions, both of the struggles and rewards of the past few days, but also with an overall feeling that went well beyond Glastonbury and touched upon years of memories.

I don’t think I could have planned a better ending to the Festival if I’d tried.  As I’ve said before, it’s chance, luck or just serendipity that leads you to those moments at Glasto.  I was buoyed by his set so much that I hardly felt my achey muscles and sore feet as I walked back to my tent.

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Glastonbury

Glastonbury thoughts

This won’t be the long delayed wrap up of  my trip stories, but I just wanted to record a few random musings as Glasto has been very much on my mind the past few days.

As the days since the trip have rushed past I’ve realized that the entire experience changed me in ways that I never expected.

Lots of people ask me if “I’d go back”.  My stock answer has been that it was a once in a lifetime experience and I wouldn’t likely want to try and repeat it again.  But, as the days pass I find myself checking back onto the eFest boards and looking at the discussions.  Yesterday they announced the on sale date for 2011 and I had a huge twinge of wanting to try and get another ticket and go back….for reasons that I honestly can’t quite even explain.  I recall the rush last year of making a ticket deposit at 1am and realizing that I was going to take the plunge.  Part of me wants that focus back.

Since I got back from the trip I’ve been a bit adrift.  I spent so long obsessing about going that with it now done…I’m not sure what my next focus should be.  In a way I think that’s why I’ve delayed writing about the last parts of the trip here.  As long as it’s still living in my head it’s not completely finished and wrapped forever.

Do I have regrets…many of them.

I feel like I didn’t get to see every band (even though that would have been a physical impossibility), I missed many of the art and dance areas.  I did all I could do…but, like life itself…there was too much to experience it all and you have to pick and choose.  (Lots of these things were said to me by festival veterans, but they don’t really come into focus until you’ve had the experience of being there.)

Maybe I drank too much, maybe I drank too little…maybe I slept too much, maybe I should have rested at different times…Maybe I should have seen more at the Park Stage, the Pyramid Stage, the Dance Village…maybe I should have eaten different foods…

Should I have seen Stevie Wonder instead of Jackson Browne?  Jackson Browne was my best act of the whole festival…yet, did I  miss something better?

See what I mean?  It’s like life…you choose things, but you can’t help but wonder how a different choice would have turned out.  I guess that’s why people go over and over to Glasto.  Some of it may be the fear of missing something.  Some of it may just be the vastness of the choices that let you live a magnified version of “life” in the span of a long weekend.  I could have gone 100 times and had 100 different experiences.

I even said that to someone on site, that Glastonbury is exactly like a limited version of life.  You are faced with a stream of choices and they will define your experience, and not all of it will be good.  But, you survive the bad to reach the good stuff, and having done so, the good stuff is made even better by the context.  If everything went perfectly on a Glasto trip it would actually be boring as all hell.  You need the “spice” of the collapsed tent or the uncomfortable bed so that when you see the perfect sunset while at the Other Stage you understand and appreciate it more because of having struggled some just to get to that point.

I have a vivid memory of washing my hands on Friday.  It’s so vivid because I’d been using hand sanitizer for three days and I stumbled upon a tap with running water and bars of soap.  I scrubbed my arms up to the elbow and I’ve honestly never felt so happy in my life about the simple act of washing my hands.  But, the great thing about Glasto is that it (at least for me) provokes further thought.  I realized that millions of people don’t have running water and don’t get to experience that feeling at all on a regular basis.  Suddenly a simple act took on no only significance in the moment, but it opened me to a bigger picture and made me appreciate more each time since then that I’ve scrubbed my hands how there are others who are as fortunate as me.

Now, I sit here tonight listening to Ray Davies, Florence & the Machine, Midlake and Hot Chip….thinking about each of their performances and the experience of seeing each of them at the Festival, I realized that I’m going to carry this festival around with me forever and at least parts of it have really changed me forever (hopefully in good ways).

And, I also suspect that I have been impacted in ways I’ve likely not even discovered….but, I guess that’s what this blog is for, to document the “beyond” that expands out from my Glastonbury experience.

6 Comments

Filed under Glastonbury

Sunday Glastonbury Photos

Continuing with my personal gallery of images, here’s some shots from Sunday:

Billy Bragg joins in with Paul Heaton in Leftfield

Paul Heaton Performs in Leftfield

View from the elevated rail line looking towards the Dance Village

Ray Davies and full choir at the Pyramid Stage

Here’s a clip from the BBC of Ray Davies…I had this song stuck in my head the whole trip…every time I’d walk through Waterloo Station.  I was really glad he played it…and such a great version!

2 Comments

Filed under Glastonbury

Sunday “must see” list

Time to round out the last day of music at Glastonbury and look for a general sense of who I really want to make my must see bands for the day.

The Pyramid opener is quite interesting…the Yeovil Town Band.  As in a brass band?  Of course there is a family connection to Yeovil as it’s the large town close by to East Coker where my ancestors departed from to head off to the New World.  So, seeing a brass band at a rock frstival seems a quite eclectic thing to do…  (Or, I may sleep in…as nothing really compelling is listed at that time).

In fact, the next round of bands doesn’t seem to be anyone I have a burning desire to rush and see.  Paloma Faith, the Bees, Frightened Rabbit…humm so far nothing on the must see list yet.

Next round of bands Norah Jones…maybe?  The Hold Steady….maybe?  Fisherman’s Friend….(sea chanty’s?)…maybe?  Heard some raves about Tuung, but not heard them to know if I’d like.  So far Sunday is wide open for wandering and hopefully finding something interesting in the first few hours of music.

Then comes Slash…also a maybe, I saw Slashes Snakepit once in San Diego and have seen him guest in with Queen and Black Eyed Peas….there’s two bands you don’t find in the same sentence very often….  He has talent, but I don’t know if it’s enough to draw me to the Pyramid if I’ve found something else cool on my wandering.  So, just one more maybe for the day.

Of course after a big chunk of day with nothing compelling…I’m stuck with four overlapping bands I’d like to see.  Dr. John (I’ve seen him before, but he’s darn cool), Corinne Bailey Rae…saw her do a couple songs at a Stevie Wonder House of Toys show a few years back.  Very talented.  Plus her new album is quite good.  So, a strong pull for me to see her on a small stage.

She’s up against Ray Davies of the Kinks…saw him in 1979 and never since.  But, he will be at Hop Farm next weekend, so I can catch him there if I miss him for Corinne and Staff Banda Bilili…who are amazing.  A group of paraplegic musicians from the Congo who live in a zoo…seriously, in a zoo?…  Check them out on YouTube doing a song called Je T’Aime

When else can I ever see them live?  I think they may be my first must see of Sunday!

Now the clashes get more frequent and tougher to pick from.

Jack Johnson (seeing him in London the following week at least), MGMT, the Gang of Four or JUDY COLLINS?  There’s some diverse (okay just pain weird choices to pick between at the same time…)

Then, LCD Soundsystem, Toots and the Maytals or Imelda May?

Then the final clash of the weekend…

Stevie Wonder, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Jackson Browne, Ash, Orbital or Gomez?  Rodrigo y Gabriela are cool, but young and will be around to see again.  Jackson..seeing two days later in London (and maybe on Sat too?)…Ash, Gomez and Orbital…all have possibilities, but how can you pass on a living legend like Stevie Wonder singing to 80K or so people in a huge field…”Superstition”, “Sir Duke”, etc…

I wavered at first, but I think I have to cap off the festival seeing Stevie…put him in the “must see” category….

There’s some DJ’s playing for hours on a couple smaller stages after Stevie ends.  But I think the end of his set sometime after midnight will end my festival in a spectacular fashion.

Leave a comment

Filed under Glastonbury

My Concert Agenda for London

Well, since this is going to be a trip mostly about seeing concerts, I now have most of my shows scheduled and tickets bought…Only one more show to still book, and more about that later.

The Plan:

June  19 – Richard Thompson – “1000 years of popular song”.  I have the CD of this show he did a few years back.  He touches on songs from the 12th century right on up to Bowling for Soup.  This is part of the Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall and he’s one of those guys who somehow I’ve missed each time he’s passed through town.  Critically, he’s names as one of the top 20 all time guitarists.

June 20 – Elvis Costello – Solo Acoustic. Also part of Meltdown.  Really, what can you say about him?  Plus, seeing him in London…should be awesome!

June 23-27 – Glastonbury….MUCH more about this later…

June 29 – Jackson Browne & David Lindley.  Found a great single floor seat for Royal Albert Hall when I get back from Glasto.  They are playing twice at the festival, but knowing I can see them here will free me up for others acts at the festival itself and reduces my potential clash list of bands by one.

June 30 – Jack Johnson at O2 Arena.  Another show I found a great single for.  Love his music and never seen him live.  He’s also playing Glastonbury, but for the reasons above, knowing I’ll see him in London takes another potential conflict away at Glasto.

July 1 – Laura Marling – Serpentine Sessions in Hyde Park.  Honestly, don’t know much about her, but the little I’ve heard puts her into the Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap class.  Close to my hotel (short walk) and I’ve always wanted to see a show in Hyde Park.  She’s also at Glasto and Hop Farm.  But, the setting of Hyde Park is too cool to pass up.  Support acts still to be named…so many be Mumford & Sons who record with her?  One can only hope…

July 2 – Hop Farm with Van Morrison!  Just amazing…a chance to see Van in the UK at a really interesting sounding smaller festival.  Still no idea who else will be playing, but Van is enough draw to get me out there…

July 3 – Hop Farm day 2…No ticket yet, but leaning this way.  Bob Dylan, Ray Davies top the bill….pretty sure I’ll end up going to this.

A small gap with the potential to see Dr John, CSN or Buddy Guy…still not nailed down…and I may need a night off…:)

July 6 – My last night- Jools Holland at Kew Gardens.  An outdoor show in a botanical garden with one of my favorite bands that never tours the US.  A suitable way to wrap three full weeks of music.

So, there you have it.  Less than three weeks that includes pretty much a who’s who of the rock and roll hall of fame (U2, Stevie Wonder, Ray Davies, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan) my favorite songwriters (Squeeze, Nick Lowe, Al Stewart, Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, David Lindley) and newcomers that I’m enjoying already (Muse, Midlake, Hot Chip, Magic Numbers, Imelda May, Laura Marling)…and all to be seen live and in person in less than 20 days in the UK!

WOW, am I excited?…a little, just a little….

Leave a comment

Filed under Glastonbury, Other concerts