Bjork kicks some futuristic arse on Glastonbury opening night…
First, a weather update from Glastonbury‘s rather sticky ground. It’s been raining on and off all morning, but the sun is perservering, and it keeps taking us by surprise.
The combination of a now full capacity crowd at the festival, and the rain on the ground drying slightly over night has resulted in mud of the very slippy and squishy kind – as opposed to just the wet sloppy kind yesterday. Anyway enough about mud.
Glastonbury’s opening night headliners were difficult to choose between, but in the end I felt compelled to at least see the start of the Arctic Monkeys at the Pyramid Stage – They opened with a stomping ‘The Sun Goes Down‘ and their new album noisemaker ‘Brianstorm.’
They were on jubilant form, this being their biggest UK show to date. And so they should be, considering that they are playing the Pyramid stage a mere 18 months since their debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not‘ was released.
Reports from the stage suggested there could be problems with sound quality and the volume too low. But the main question on the audience’s minds was ‘Do they really have the songs for a gig this big?’ The crowd were annoyed with the volume, not the quality, and front man Alex Turner did his best to jeer – trying to work out what they were heckling for amongst the cheers.
“What are you saying?” Asked Turner, “Louder?”. “I can’t tell if they’re happy or angry. Thumbs up for the man at the front.”
Although Arctics were good, I still wanted to watch Bjork, having never seen her play before. She put in a great performance, replete with lasers, costumes and dancers.
Screens at the side of the stage before she came on – handily she was half an hour late on stage, so I had time to get there for the start where she displayed peaceful images of seas, forests and other natural scenes set to what could only be described as a spiritual chant.
All of which left me and most of the audience calm, relaxed and eager with anticipation for what was to follow: Bjork appearing on stage in a ball of smoke, as if emerging from the earth.
The show was huge, gutteral and futuristic and featured a wealth of material from both older work and her new album ‘Volta‘ – it was everything we would’ve wanted her to play.
Bjork‘s voice swelled up over the massive Other Stage field as far back as The Park Stage, and ‘Army Of Me‘ was the the antidote to our anticipation. Lasers, a light show and a troupe of dancers wearing coloured flags… everything. I immersed myself.
Arctic Monkeys would’ve been far greater if only they’d tapped into the power of lasers…
Bjork’s set list was:
‘Venus As A Boy’
‘All Is Full Of Love’
‘Pleasure Is All Mine’
‘Army Of Me’
‘I Miss You’
Glastonbury’s Saturday will end with headline performances from Iggy And The Stooges and The Killers.
Also playing tonight is former Creedence Clearwater member John Fogerty – he plays at 9.30pm at the Jazz/ World Stage – that’s definetly not one to miss if I can help it – Fogerty NEVER plays the UK.
Also on today are Nick Lowe,Babyshambles and Paul Weller.
I’m off out to inspect devastation across the site, we’ve heard the expensive new drainage system hasn’t made a jot of difference battling against the will of God.
Plus I want to see Banksy‘s metal portaloo Stonehenge piece of ‘real art’ that he made on site before Glastonbury kicked off this week.