NOS Alive 2017: Ryan Adams calls Donald Trump a “fucking moron”, The xx thrill and The Weeknd gets started

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The opening night of the Lisbon festival also saw performances from Alt-J and Royal Blood

Ryan Adams used his appearance at Lisbon’s NOS Alive 2017 to apologise for the President of the United States of America being “a fucking moron”.

Playing the Heineken Stage on the opening night of the Portuguese festival, the North Carolinan singer-songwriter also took playful aim at Alt-J, who had performed earlier in the day. Adams joked before ‘Shakedown On 9th Street’: “We wrote this song for Alt-J. It’s like a mosquito bite, if you ignore it it’ll go away. No, no. I’m joking. I love Nickelodeon, it’s a great channel.”

Adams had opened his set with an urgent performance of ‘Do You Still Love Me?’, the lead single from this year’s ‘Prisoner’, which he played on a a Gibson Flying V. He followed that with a rousing version of ‘To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)’, taken from his 2000 solo debut ‘Heartbreaker’. Later in the set, after playing another new track, ‘Outbound Train’, Adams shouted: “People still believe in rock’n’roll, they still fucking believe!”

As Adams was still closing his set, The xx appeared on the festival’s Main Stage in exuberant fashion. Before ‘Fiction’, Oliver Sim asked for the lights to be brought up on the vast assembled crowd. “I’m a bit nervous now I can see you,” he said. “I love festivals, because it’s a real opportunity to leave behind anything that’s bothering you. You can be who you want to be, and be with whoever you want to be.”

Romy Madley Croft dedicated closing song ‘Angels’ to her fiancé, Hannah Marshall, saying: “We love you Lisbon, thank you so much. You’ve been an amazing audience. Take care of yourself, take care of each other, fall in love! I’d like to dedicate this last song to my fiancé. It’s her birthday today. Happy birthday Hannah, love you!”

Back on the Heineken Stage after The xx, Royal Blood seemed to be genuinely thrilled by their reception from the Lisbon crowd. Frontman Mike Kerr exclaimed: “Holy fucking shit this is literally the best crowd in the whole world, what the fuck?” after windmilling his arm through ‘Little Monster’. Later, before ‘Figure It Out’, he added: “Are you guys doing good? I already knew that. We play a lot of gigs and this feels fucking special.” Drummer Ben Thatcher also came forward to the mic to thank the audience, saying: “Never in my life have I seen as many beautiful men and women in the same place at the same time. So Portugal, thank you.”

The Main Stage was closed by headliner The Weeknd, who began his set with a bowel-troubling rumble that served as an introduction to a big hitting opener – ‘Starboy’, the hit title track from his 2016 album. The Canadian performer – real name Abel Tesfaye – was once known for being shy and reclusive, but that persona seemed long gone as he bounded around Nos’s biggest stage in a camo jacket. 2017’s version of The Weeknd is all about energy, confidence and connection, throwing his arms aloft and declaring his love for Portugal (and Portuguese girls). With its pyramid-shaped screen and double deck set, The Weeknd prowled the lower level of the stage while his band performed above him, cranking out hits in a tight set that culminated in a run of bangers: ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, the Jacko-like ‘I Feel It Coming’ and the darker-edged ‘The Hills’. “This is the biggest party in the country right now,” he declared towards the end of his 70 minutes of peerless, priapic R&B.

Earlier in the day, the festival had also seen performances from the aforementioned Alt-J, Hawaiian-shirt fans Phoenix, who pulled an endless supply of chic, danceable hits from their wizard’s sleeve, and Stockport’s Blossoms. The latter band prepared for their biggest ever headline show, at Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl this Saturday, with a rocking set drawing on their self-titled debut album, which hit number one last year. Before the show, the band revealed that they’ve already record eight songs for their follow-up record.

NOS Alive 2017 continues today with performances from Foo Fighters, The Kills and The Cult. It concludes tomorrow with a headline set from Depeche Mode.

The Weeknd played:

  1. Starboy
  2. Party Monster
  3. Six Feet Under / Low Life
  4. Might Not / Sidewalks
  5. Or Nah (Ty Dolla $ign)
  6. Acquainted
  7. Wicked Games
  8. Often
  9. Tell Your Friends
  10. Die for You
  11. Rockin’
  12. Secrets
  13. Can’t Feel My Face
  14. I Feel It Coming
  15. The Hills