Elton John dazzles at Worthy Farm
That’s it for another year. After a very well received set from headline act Elton John, the massive crowd – who were clearly expecting an encore that didn’t eventuate – has started to disperse from the Pyramid Stage. Thanks for following, and good night.
Elton John has made his much anticipated appearance on the Pyramid Stage. Resplendent in a gold lamé suit, he opened his set with his 1976 hit Pinball Wizard, a song he admitted in an interview before the performance he had not played for 10 years.
Speaking to the enormous Pyramid Stage crowd he said: “It’s a very special and emotional night for me because it might be my last show ever in England, so I had better play well and I had better entertain you, you’ve been standing there so long and I really appreciate all the outfits and everything.”
After playing The Bitch is Back and Benny and the Jets he moved on to some more singalong-friendly songs, with crowd favourites Daniel, Goodbye Yellowbrick Road and I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.
Amid much speculation about who might be joining Elton John onstage, he unveiled his first guest, Jacob Lusk, the lead singer of the American gospel soul trio Gabriels, for a rendition of Are You Ready For Love.
Jacob Lusk, the lead singer of the American gospel soul trio Gabriels sings Are You Ready for Love
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Elton John told the crowd that it was an emotional night for him
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Elton John gave his thanks to the many people wearing “Dodger Stadium” costumes from his 1975 tour
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Before unveiling his second guest, John revealed that all his guests were younger artists who had inspired him, although tantalisingly added “except for one”. His next guest was the young Nashville singer Steven Sanchez, who performed his own song Until I Found You accompanied by John on piano.
Stephen Sanchez performs on stage, with Elton John accompanying him on the piano
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Perhaps the secret of the ‘older’ guest has been revealed. Brandon Flowers, from the Killers, who themselves have played Glastonbury six times, joins Elton John for Tiny Dancer. John says they have been close friends since they met in Las Vegas in 2005.
Brandon Flowers, from the Killers, joins Elton John for Tiny Dancer
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The fourth and final guest is Japanese-British singer Rina Sawayama, who duets with John on Don’t Go Breaking My Heart before he launches into a solo rendition of Crocodile Rock.
Rina Sawayama duets with Elton John
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John dedicated Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me to the late George Michael.
“It’s a very special day today,” he said. “One of Britain’s most fantastic singers, songwriters and artists was George Michael. He was my friend, he was an inspiration, and today would have been his 60th birthday. So I want to dedicate this song to his memory, and all the music he left us with, which is so gorgeous. This is for you, George.”
He then launched into a performance of Rocketman.
Candi Staton, West Holts
At 83, the singer-songwriter Candi Staton isn’t quite the oldest person ever to play at Glastonbury – that honour goes to the late Bruce Forsyth, who was 85 when he told festival goers it was nice to see them in 2017 (Hadley Freeman writes). But Staton — like all the best Glastonbury nonagenarians, from Paul McCartney to Mick Jagger — has the energy that renders age irregular, and the hits that cross all generation boundaries.
Candi Staton performs with such gusto that the whole crowd starts dancing
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Staton’s enduring career is down to her talent, sure. But also her skill at spotting emerging music trends, and bending them to fit her gospel-trained voice. As a result, her hits span decades and fans, from 70s disco lovers (Young Hearts Run Free) to 90s ravers (The Source’s You’ve Got the Love)
Those are Staton’s best known songs, but as her set on the West Holts stage this evening showed, there’s a lot more in her toolbox. She sang her first hit, a cover of Stand By Your Man, and morphed it into a swelling Stand By Me. Her take on In the Ghetto was delicate and heartfelt, but her Suspicious Minds was full of foot stomping energy. “I’m getting too old for this,” she gasped afterwards, then broke into a loud cackle in case anyone had dared to think she was being serious. Even though she’s sung her two biggest hits more times than is probably healthy, both Young Hearts and You’ve Got the Love were performed with such gusto the whole field in front of the stage turned into a giant, joyous party.
Lil Nas X review: The showmanship was as exuberant as the man
Lil Nas X review, Pyramid Stage
“We gonna have fun” promised Lil Nas X, bestriding the Pyramid stage like a gladiator angel in white flairs, tasselled chaps, and a gleaming gold breastplate. We did (Susie Goldsbrough writes).
Over the past four years, the skinny teen from cowboy country has butterflied into a glammed-up, sensual and extremely gay Gen-Z pin up. It all began with 2019’s Old Town Road, a rap-meets-country track that pinged off TikTok and straight into the history books (it’s the longest running No 1 single in US history, as well as the first ever TikTok hit). His 2021 debut album Montero is a pop-rap sweet shop, full of genre flips and guest features (tonight he briefly brought on Kentucky rapper Jack Harlow).
Lil Nas X opted for blue sparkly shorts…
And used a costume to match his white flairs and tasselled chaps to a Trojan horse prop
The showmanship was as exuberant as the man: for Old Town Road, he bestrode an enormous hairy Trojan horse. During euphoric pop anthem, That’s What I Want, he danced with a minotaur. The set design was all suggestively curving stone statuary, a kind of dirty Henry Moore. Alongside his dancers, he kept the choreo tight and steamy. He twerked, crotch-grabbed and snogged a dancer. His costume changes (which were perhaps just the wrong side of too long) included a shimmery blue loincloth adorned with a bull’s head.
When the camera gets close in, you remember how young he is — a round-faced and beaming 24. What a talent.
Lil Nas X and his dancers kept the choreo tight and steamy
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Death reported at Glastonbury
A man in his forties died at Glastonbury Festival in the early hours of this morning after a “medical incident”, police have confirmed.
Avon and Somerset Police said it responded to the incident on a footpath known as the old railway line shortly before 4am and that it is not treating the man’s death as suspicious.
The police force said it had reported 107 crimes or crime-related incidents and made 33 arrests at the festival so far.
There have been 24 thefts, 19 drug offences and 17 instances of violence against a person, as well as five sexual assaults and three offences for the possession of an offensive weapon.
Crowds swell at pyramid stage
Goldfrapp review: Impassive electronic thrills
Goldfrapp, Park Stage
Goldfrapp is dead, long live Alison Goldfrapp. Having parted company with her musical partner Will Gregory, the London singer-songwriter now flies solo (Ed Potton writes). Her recent album, The Love Invention, was stylishly effective alternative disco that lacked the otherworldly edge of previous records. Goldfrapp’s stagecraft is as imperious as ever though .
Wearing a shimmering black tassel dress and backed by two interpretive dancers, she added her weightless alien purr to a succession of retro-synth bangers.
Goldfrapp also, unfortunately, sounded like an alien when she talked to the crowd. “Look at that man there!” she said, as if she’d never seen one before.
Goldfrapp left fans bounding down the hill to see Elton John with a spring in their step
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No matter, because the music was sumptuous. She definitely has a formula — impassive electronic thrills — but it’s an intoxicating one that soon had the crowd clapping in time.
If the new ones such as So Hard So Hot sounded more exciting live, the oldies were superb, from the interstellar glam-rock stomp of Strict Machine to Rocket, with its simple but deadly couplet: “I’ve got a rocket / You’re going on it.”
“I’m still shaking!” Goldfrapp said after a sublime Ride a White Horse. And we all had a spring in our step as we bounded down the hill for Elton John.
Editors review: If you are a sad dad, it was huge
The sad dads of Glastonbury have turned out to see Editors. Not as many as came to see Rick Astley and Blossoms cover The Smiths yesterday, admittedly. But there’s a good crowd here (Charlotte Ivers writes).
Sad Dads are having a moment, it seems. They are a demographic you increasingly hear about from music industry people and read about in magazines. The angsty twenty year olds who read NME in the noughties have aged to the extent they now have a mortgage, two kids, and the type of purchasing power that makes a record label executive drool. Hence, I suspect, this premium slot on the Woodsies stage for Editors – a band that hit its peak as I did my GSCEs, and it was a relatively small peak at that. Unless you are a sad dad. If you are a sad dad, it was huge.
If this sounds derogatory, it really isn’t. I’m a Sad Dad too, in spirit if not in circumstance, and Editors don’t let me down. This is a band who know what their audience wants. There’s no self indulgence here, only the hits. If you were being ungenerous you’d probably say Editors are a bit one note – one note, and that note is misery. But live, perhaps because the baseline seems to have been turned up and the synths are prominent, you can almost imagine dancing to them. Almost.
I don’t, obviously. I’ve come here by myself to sit at the back of the crowd, contemplative and slightly melancholy. I reckon that’s probably what they’d want.
The Crazy What Love Can Do singer takes the Other Stage by storm
She wins top points for most co-ordinated outfit
Blondie review: A rocking rendition of their greatest hits
Blondie, Pyramid Stage
The traditional Sunday afternoon heritage slot on Sunday was filled this year by Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam, but the whole of Sunday afternoon had an enjoyably heritage feel to it this year, with Candi Staton, Blondie and, of course, Elton John all on the bill (Hadley Freeman writes).
Blondie fans will harrumph at the suggestion their band belongs in the golden oldies section, given their last album, Pollinator, came out a mere six years ago. And it’s true that the influence of Blondie and in particular Debbie Harry is still so omnipresent that their work and their look doesn’t feel dated, even now, 45 years after the release of This Parallel Lines. So although the most popular T-shirts worn by revellers on the Sunday were definitely Elton John ones, Blondie was a close-run second.
Debbie Harry stuck close to her original style when she performed on the Pyramid Stage
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And the 1970s Debbie Harry on everyone’s T-shirts looked remarkably like the 2030s one on stage, in her CBGB shirt, black miniskirt and over-the-knee boots. Whether Harry really is the coolest 77-year-old around is impossible to confirm, but she would certainly win the prize for sticking the closest to her original style.
• Debbie Harry interview: Why I’m playing Glastonbury at 77
Blondie oomphed up their greatest hits with energy, starting with One Way or Another, and later Hanging on the Telephone. Both of these were performed so vigorously that they sounded more rock than Blondie’s traditional disco. (The Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock was on bass; with Steve Jones and Paul Cook playing with Generation Sex, the Sex Pistols were an unexpected running theme at Glastonbury this year.) But the appeal of those songs — especially Atomic, Rapture and The Tide is High — never dims, even if Harry’s voice doesn’t quite have a similar endurance. By the time they got to the extremely crowd-pleasing Heart of Glass, all you could see of Blondie was Harry and a sea of waving hands in front of her.
Overcrowding concerns cut set short
Glastonbury has been forced to cut a music set short and urge parents not to take their children to some parts of the festival due to overcrowding.
Fans told The Times that cramped conditions at several stages had prompted panic attacks among audiences, with many feeling trapped.
Alex, 30, said his female friend suffered a panic attack and broke down in tears while watching the writer-producer Fred Again’s secret set at the Temple stage last night because too many people were let in.
He said: “Once we got there, there was a queue which was being entered from all sides and people were getting squeezed to the point of it being impossible to move and seriously claustrophobic.
Fans said some areas were so crowded that they experienced panic attacks
“Lots of people kept shouting for others to stop pushing, but to be honest I think it was just the volume of people that was the problem. It also didn’t feel like there was any organisation or structure to make sure people were okay and queued in an orderly manner.
Glastonbury Festival said “a swift show-stop was managed effectively” .
Bar staff at the Shangri-La section, known for its rave scene, said the area became so packed on Thursday that parents were forced to take drastic measures to protect their children.
One worker said: “[We] were literally lifting buggies and babies over our counter to get them out because there were so many people. It was crazy, and actually worrying at times.”
Prince Louis makes his Glastonbury debut
The younger son of the Prince and Princess of Wales did make an appearance at Worthy Farm — albeit not in person, but immortalised on a flag. The memorable image of Prince Louis covering his ears during a fly past at the Queen’s platinum jubilee printed on a banner was a comedic masterstroke amid the cacophony of Sunday’s performances.
One reveller decided to fly the flag for Prince Louis, who is shown covering his ears during a fly past
Elton John’s new favourite band?
Nova twins, the British duo, played a blistering set on The Other Stage — and apparently Elton John is a huge fan. “These girls rock my world,” he said in an interview. He added that their energy “could light up Sheffield”.
Nova twins took the crowd by storm on The Other Stage
The duo’s blistering set attracted praise from Elton John
JEP CELEBRITY PHOTOS/ALAMY
Blondie hits the Pyramid Stage
Debbie Harry and Blondie perform on the Pyramid Stage
Kate Hudson and Stella McCartney, far right, turned up to watch Blondie
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Rami Malek was also spotted in the audience
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Cat Stevens review: a triumph
Cat Stevens, Pyramid Stage
What a revelation: Cat Stevens was a highlight of the entire Glastonbury weekend (Will Hodgkinson writes). “From nervously going up to the microphone of a little folk club in Soho to playing the incredible Pyramid Stage, what a journey,” said Cat Stevens, who also became Yusuf Islam along that journey. He was visibly overwhelmed by the response to his thoughtful, questing songs from his early Seventies height, like The Wind and Moonshadow, performed with the same delicacy of expression and vocal fragility with which he first brought them to the world. It was, especially for those of us whose parents played albums like Teaser and the Firecat all the time, incredibly moving.
Cat Stevens gave an impassioned performance of Peace Train on the Pyramid Stage
“Here’s one about this Earth and how we continually mistreat it,” he said of the pioneering protest song Where Do The Children Play. It helped that he had such a good band, but really it was about the depth of songs that, though from half a decade, Cat/Yusuf sang like he wrote them yesterday. “Lock all the leaders up in London Zoo,” he suggested as an antidote to war, before an impassioned Peace Train. It was a triumph.
Princess Beatrice, second left, is spotted with her husband Edo Mapelli Mozzi, far right, greeting friends with a hug near the hospitality area
Andrew Garfield makes an appearance at the Pyramid Stage to watch Cat Stevens
Love the farm, leave no trace, visitors urged
Everywhere you go in Glastonbury there are posters imploring music lovers not to treat the farmland like a lavatory. A sizable chunk of the 200,000 in attendance takes no notice (Will Humphries and Charlie Parker write).
Music-lovers who profess to love Worthy Farm, the home and dairy farm of Michael and Emily Eavis, the festival organisers, are routinely urinating in the hedgerows, spitting toothpaste out on the camping grounds and washing with shampoo under drinking water taps next the river and streams that flow through the site.
The festival runs a prominent “Love The Farm, Leave No Trace” campaign throughout the site with posters, videos on the big screens between acts and with messaging in the festival programme and website.
Revellers have been urged to respect Worthy Farm and leave the area as they found it
JEP CELEBRITY PHOTOS/ALAMY
They have also provided more than 2,000 long drop lavatory seats, 2,000ft of male urinals, four sites of female urinals and 1,200 compost lavatories as well as disabled lavatories.
An outraged Glastonbury steward was seen grabbing ravers as they urinated through a fence by the IIcon stage in the early hours of the morning. He shouted: “You can see the sign right above you! F***ing stop!” before pulling them back by their clothes.
More a city than a festival
The scale of Glastonbury is best captured from above
Crowds packed in to watch Lewis Capaldi despite the heat
Revellers made the most of any remaining space to claim a spot for their tents
Elton John’s best 25 songs ranked
Here we go – goodbye, finally, to the yellow brick road set that has travelled all over the world as Elton John says a long, long farewell. This is his last UK gig. His first was 1970, a year after the moon landing. An era ends and expect tears – not least from the performer who, rather incongruously, has to go and play in Zurich the week after. Poor man – what a comedown, but expect this night to pack most of the hits you love. To celebrate, I have put together my top 25 songs by the singer with, perhaps, a controversial choice for number one and absolutely no sign of Crocodile Rock.
Read Elton John’s best 25 songs ranked
The Elton John “Dodger Stadium” costume inspired by his 1975 tour was a clear favourite among revellers
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These Elton John fans left fellow revellers seeing double
Fans have gone all out to mark the end of Elton John’s yellow brick road set
YUI MOK/PA WIRE
The three fashion tribes are easy to spot
There are three types of people on the last day of Glastonbury. Those who are ready to go home, those who demonstrably are not — and the VIPs. You can tell each tribe apart by what they are wearing (writes Hannah Rogers).
The first group are wearing outfits that closely resemble their “real world” clothes. That’s probably just shorts and a t-shirt, I’d wager, in this weather — perhaps a waterproof for that possible rain shower and comforting dark glasses to hide behind. These people are tired, you see — so very, very tired — and want to wear something comfortable to see them through the final hours, which they’re not counting down, they promise, but they are excited for a hot shower and their own beds. In truth, they have probably already packed their bags. Post-Elton, they will be gone.
Sienna Miller and her fellow glossy posse members are spottable simply for the fact that they look so clean
MARK BOLAND/GETTY IMAGES
The second clan, the hardcore partyers, are still wearing their sequins from last night. They have not been to bed and they do not intend to go now. Lycra; costumes; glitter; wigs. The party isn’t over until the Eavis family says it is — and they have saved their most OTT outfits ‘til last.
Some revellers couldn’t take the heat and started to pack up early
Revellers in the third category , the glossy posse, are spottable simply for the fact that they look so clean. So do the obviously branded clothes they may or may not be being paid to wear. Lily James, Billie Piper, Gemma Chan and Dominic West were on site this weekend wearing Barbour waxed jackets and wellies; Poppy Delevigne looked impossibly glamorous on Friday in a bright crochet mini dress and shiny black Hunter boots. The Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams and India Amarteifio, of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story fame, were carting around Coach handbags. Those cost £450.
Only Stormzy blended in with the crowd, in as much as he can. He was wandering around yesterday wearing a white vest, bright shorts and an accessory usually reserved for hen dos: oversized, heart shaped white sunglasses. Fabulous.
Weyes Blood review: Mering was right at home among the heathens
Weyes Blood, Park Stage
Natalie Mering was born in California to a deeply religious Pentecostal family who would probably see Glastonbury as a hive of depravity (Ed Potton writes). Performing as her musical alter ego of Weyes Blood (pronounced “wise blood”), however, Mering was right at home among the heathens, whom she entranced with a poised mix of chamber pop, psychedelic folk and hypnotic cabaret. “This is the most pagan festival I’ve ever played,” she said delightedly.
Mering was dressed in a long white gown and matching cape that she periodically twirled. Summer bride meets sorceress.
Weyes was thrilled by the audience at Glastonbury
Her music has a similar blend of innocent beauty and subversive undertow.
On It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody she explored a lonesome, desperate flipside to Karen Carpenter and Carol King in a voice that was just as languorous. On God Turn into a Flower she hit heights of ravishing beauty in front of a specially commissioned film by the cult director Adam Curtis. She was impossibly cool.
“Did everybody take their drugs for today or are they saving them for Elton John?” Mering asked. We really didn’t need any.
Black Country, New Road review: Damn these guys are good
Black Country, New Road, West Holts
Black Country, New Road really deserved a good Glastonbury (Susannah Goldsbrough writes). The idiosyncratic six-piece from Cambridge have had a run of bad luck. They were promised a bright future when they first started playing their folksy jazz-pop half a decade ago, but after Covid, cancelled tours, debts and the sudden departure of their lead singer Isaac Wood, they had to start again.
You wouldn’t know it today at the West Holts stage, where they exuded a kind of chilled-out, rustic cool. The complexity and inventiveness of their sound is superb, as they flipped from flute to accordion to banjo (Charlie Wayne, who stuck to the drums, was a flying blur of flicks and thumps).
Since losing Wood, BCNR have taken a looser, more ensemble approach to shows, alternating lead vocals, which you might think would feel unfocussed. Instead they just seem like such a cool gang (during one solo, the rest of them piled into a corner with beers). That being said, saxophonist Lewis Evans, with his scruffy schoolboy untucked shirt, and deep-voiced guitarist Tyler Hide, are particularly starry.
Musical highlights, which mostly came from their post-Woods album Live from Bush Park, included gentle break-up song Across the Pond (“Who’d have thought a square bagel is where it would start”?) and swelling, symphonic banger Turbines/Pigs. If they want to break the big time, they’ll need a few more pop hooks. But damn these guys are good.
Majestic Lana del Rey shows why she should have had top billing
A festival in serious need of an emotional lift-off finally received it with a beautiful, vulnerable, surprisingly fun set on Saturday night, from everyone’s favourite millennial torch singer Lana Del Rey (Jonathan Dean writes). How fitting, as a coup loomed near, to hear her poignant, stately ballads about the end of various relationships and, sometimes, the world.
Lana Del Rey performed on the Other Stage, despite being one of the biggest pop stars of the past decade
It was a majestic performance and, also, rather baffling. Del Rey — one of the biggest pop stars of the past decade — was out on the Other Stage, while Guns’n’Roses, who haven’t actually released an album in a decade, were headlining the Pyramid Stage. It was a weird own goal of planning and booking, for a festival constantly having to defend its lack of female headliners.
Read in full
Gwenno review: The crowd didn’t know what she was singing, but it didn’t matter
Gwenno, Park Stage★★★★☆
A perfect midday Sunday moment was provided by Gwenno; a singer who not only has the ideal voice for dreamlike folk rock with gentle psychedelic overtones, but also sings in Welsh and Cornish (Will Hodgkinson writes). Given that approximately 85 people are fluent in the latter language there was no chance of knowing what she was going on about most of the time, but it didn’t matter: this was music rich in melody, harmony and atmosphere.
The crowds watching Gwenno
“This is about a land that time forgot,” she said (in English) of one song, and although there was no chance of catching its title it rolled along with quiet intensity. There was a song about the dangers of forgetting about human needs in the rush to create AI — in Cornish — and another about a god of cheese. Perhaps that summed up the appeal of Gwenno’s approach. She’s holding onto the preservation of the old ways in a fast changing world. It may be a challenge on a par with that of King Cnut, but someone’s got to do it and Gwenno did it in style.
Weyes Blood take to the Park Stage
Last year, The Sunday Times Culture section gave Weyes Blood’s And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow their gong for album of the year (Jonathan Dean writes).
The LA resident is a sort of Joni Mitchell for the digital age; a bit hopeful, a lot cynical, with a cavernous voice that has led to invitations on songs by the Killers, Lana Del Rey and John Cale. Her mid afternoon slot outside on the Park Stage is not ideal – she has a late night sort of feel – but the songs will, hopefully, make her some new fans, passing by.
When I spoke to her last year, I was pleased to see many of our readers listening to her for the first time and being as hooked in as I was.
Read The Sunday Times’s roundup of the best albums of 2022