Performances by Janet Jackson, Liam Gallagher and a commanding, special guest-accompanied headline set by The Killers were among the highlights of a sun-scorched second day at Glastonbury on Saturday (June 29).
Vampire Weekend opened proceedings with a secret show on the Park Stage. The New York band is due to perform again on the Pyramid Stage on Sunday evening, ahead of The Cure, but delighted fans and early risers on Saturday with a surprise 40-minute show that encompassed fan requests (“Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and “Giant” being two), as well as a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” and Chicago’s “Saturday In The Park.”
Over on the main Pyramid Stage, The Proclaimers brought the first mass singalong of the day with a set closing “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” as temperatures climbed to 30 degrees Celsius, leading to large queues at water refill sites and many people to seek out shade. The sunny weather also led to showers being temporarily turned off in some areas of the festival site as organizers tried to conserve water supplies.
Carrie Underwood followed The Proclaimers with a lively and well-received (if quite sparsely attended) run through her back catalog.
In contrast, Scottish singer songwriter Gerry cinnamon drew a huge crowd to a packed out John Peel Stage for his early afternoon set despite him, so far, having had little attention from the mainstream media.
One bonafide superstar whose presence on the bill raised a few eyebrows when it was first announced several months ago is Janet Jackson, a far bigger star in her American homeland than she has ever been in the U.K. who probably didn’t endear herself to the Glastonbury faithful when her team infamously doctored the official line-up poster.
Taking to the Pyramid Stage just before 6 p.m. wearing a heavy black bodysuit and trademark headset mic, the 53-year-old delivered a meticulously rehearsed greatest hits set that was full of energy and tightly choreographed dance routines and contained few standout moments, but failed to ever really connect with the audience.
Poor sound didn’t help matters, with Jackson’s voice buried so low in the mix she was often hard to hear over her backing musicians, leading a number of audience members and at-home viewers to take to social media and accuse the singer of lip-syncing.
“Glastonbury, thank you. It’s all about love. We need more love,” she said at the end of a set that promised much, yet ultimately delivered little.
Highlighting just how varied this year’s line-up is, former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher was next to take to the stage. Opening with “Rock’n’Roll Star", the singer was in a characteristically combative, sneering mood. He labeled his older brother, Noel, “a little fart” and belting out Oasis classics “Columbia,” “Slide Away,” “Roll With It” and “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory” with just the right mix of anger, swagger, passion and heart.
As to be expected, his solo material received a less-enthusiastic response from the large crowd, a great many of which would not have been born when Oasis began. A closing run of “Cigarettes & Alcohol,” “Wonderwall,” “Supersonic” and a stirring, stripped down “Champagne Supernova” — dedicated to the late Prodigy singer Keith Flint — changed that as the murmurs grew into giant communal singalongs backed by a chorus of thousands.
Closing the Pyramid Stage, The Killers wasted little time in getting what felt like the biggest audience of the day onside, and began with the powerful double punch of “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” and “Somebody Told Me.”
Headlining Glastonbury for the second time, the band went on to perform a triumphant two-hour set with frontman Brandon Flowers, decked out in shiny blue suit, in imperious form, constantly interacting with the crowd, straddling monitors and stirring fans on.
“At the end of this show, I don’t want anyone to say, ‘They got away with it.’ I want people to look up to this stage and say, ‘Those are the sons of bitches who did it,” he declared near the start, setting out his stall.
A procession of pyrotechnic fireworks and confetti cannons complimented the hit-filled set that included “All These Things That I Have Done,” “When You Were Young,” “Shot At The Night” and “A Dustland Fairytale,” which Flowers dedicates to his late mother, among many rousing highlights.
Just in case anyone is left in doubt of The Killers’ headline credentials, the encore saw them joined by the Pet Shop Boys for a cover of Elvis’ “Always On My Mind” and Johnny Marr for a memorable version of Smiths’ classic “This Charming Man.” “Mr. Brightside” closed the night in victorious fashion.
Glastonbury concludes Sunday (June 30) with performances by The Cure, Vampire Weekend, Miley Cyrus, Kylie Minogue, Billie Eilish and Christine and the Queens.