So that’s the last two big, big festies out the way before what’s becoming known as G-Day (or Glastonbury to the rest of the world). These shows have been a great way to shake off the rust from the touring machine and get into gear for the big one. In so many ways, Glasto is just another gig – and given the fact that we’ve been doing huge festivals for the past couple weeks, that really is exactly what it is.
Except that it just isn’t. It’s a gig that perhaps more than any other, is way way bigger than any artist, any crowd or any amount of dry ice and laser beams. In many ways, headlining the Glastonbury Pyramid is a bit like owning a stately home. You can live there for a bit and maybe even feel like Lord of the manor if you’re that way inclined.
Really though, it’s your responsibility to uphold its history and protect its legend – pass it on to future generations every bit as grand and impressive as you found it. The fellas clearly feel the weight of expectation, but they’ve never been ones to shy away from a challenge.
The show though, has come together wonderfully well over this short little run of gigs and is in fine form to take its place under the pyramid in a week or two. The new tunes already feel very strong in the set – Charlie Brown getting the full-on bouncing-festival-crowd treatment every night now as it cruises in after Viva.
Talking of Viva, Venice marked the first show where the crowd were chanting the Viva melody a full half hour before the band even took to the stage. They were as warm, passionate and wonderful as you would expect any huge crowd of Italians to be, making for a solidly excellent show. I remember quite little about this gig apart from everyone telling me it was going to be terrible weather and a mud-fest. On the day, it was of course nothing of the sort. Still, at least I’ve got the emergency clothing back in the flightcase…
Pinkpop was also a wonderful day out. Especially so for being one of those excellent days where I get paid to watch Elbow perform. I first saw them at Leeds festival in the UK ten years or so ago and have seen them at regular intervals ever since. It’s an utter joy to watch them bloom and I can honestly say that if they ain’t on your iPod, you’re a fool to yourself quite frankly.
Further proof of the above (if it were necessary) comes when I text Mr Champion a quick question about the setlist. I immediately hear a phone ping and realise that he’s standing just behind me grinning broadly as they go through their paces.
Chris meanwhile is off at one of the smaller stages checking out Ash, as they tear the place up. Festivals are nothing if not a great way to catch up with all your favourite acts…
The changeover between Elbow and Coldplay is one whole hour. Pinkpop is rather civilised in its organisation, allowing for a very relaxed and comfortable time getting the stage ready – without boring the pants off the waiting crowd.
Even after the hour of roadies running cables as the sun slowly dropped, it’s still pretty much full-on daylight when the band takes to the stage. This brings about the rather wonderful comedy interlude where the pack of security folks, tour manager, stage manager and production manager who usually light the band’s way onto the stage are now waving super-powerful torches about in the broad daylight. Somehow the band managed to get to the stage using only their own eyes and the sound of 40,000 or so screaming punters to guide them.
Both these recent festivals saw Birthdays being marked on the journey home. Heading out of Venice, we celebrated the birth of lovely band assistant Vicki Taylor and coming home from Holland, saw Soundman / Co-Producer Dan Green getting the card and the sing-song. As is traditional, there were balloons, there were streamers, a banner and a cake. Both nights however, the cake held one single solitary candle. FAA rules apparently – not one more is permitted.
I expect that’s the war on terror won, then…