June 30, 2003
Glastonbury : Other Stage (Sunday Evening)
Doves round things off in style, Grandaddy produce "a truly great performance" and Dave Gahan is a little uninspired...
It falls to Doves to provide the weekend’s poignant farewell, if you’re too tired for Streets over in the dance tent. Jimi, Andy and Jez hardly have a bad track record when it comes to uniting people in dizzying blanket-warm melody, but not even high expectations can predict how triumphantly they come through on their victory lap. A thunderous, prog introduction to ‘Satellites’ sets them effortlessly through the home straight, gliding through a set which, already, sounds like a greatest hits. ‘Pounding’, already the greatest four Manc minutes since ‘Live Forever’, is reinvented as a punk rock anthem, while ‘The Man Who Told Everything’ swoons with a timeless grit. The band themselves look as dazed by it all as we are. Then, after ‘There Goes The Fear’ delivers one of the most poignant festival climaxes ever, they push the envelope one last notch, pulling out ‘Space Face’ from the Sub Sub days, a mental house celebration that takes us, one last time, into the reaches. Well, there’s the Stone Circle malarkey, but that’s another story…
Curiously, apart from one elfin lady, you can’t imagine anyone from Iceland making music that doesn’t sound like Sigur Ros. And if today’s dramatic-chillout axis has lacked a centre of gravity before now, they do it brilliantly. Ambient piano, washes of pastel-blue post-rock and monumentally intensity combine to meet the exact same wavelength as the festival’s tiring but blissed-out populace. Iceland can be happy with the stereotype.
Dave Gahan playing a set cribbed from his ignored solo album, ‘Paper Monsters’, would be about as exciting as, well, listening to the record itself. Knowing this, he packs in Depeche Mode favourites like ‘Personal Jesus’ and ‘I Feel Love’. And, like, obviously, a band of session musicians, though playing mighty songs mightily, ain’t a patch on the Depeche Mode themselves. So what’s the point?
After a day of training, it falls to Grandaddy to give us the day’s first truly great performance. ‘Sumday’'s beefier moments bring things to proper life, and between ‘Hewlett’s Daughter’, ‘The Crystal Lake’ and the divine, new ‘Now It’s On’, Jason Lytle packs the field with heartwarming hits. “This is the best show we’ve ever played,” he says, and he could be right. Pyramid Stage, next year – our money’s on it.
Rapture’s superslick punk funk might at first sound out of place in the fields of Avalon, but stretched out over the space, it takes on a carnival, almost jazzist quality. Things dirty up soon enough though, and by the time ‘House Of Jealous Lovers’ creaks into a, er, rapturous finale, it seems totally natural that Bez should pipe up to add manpower to the freaky dancing.
Poor The Raveonettes. They finally get a Glasto slot in the year they break, and off goes their kit, lost somewhere in transit. So there’s a brief apology and half a field full of disappointed fans.
>Damien Rice, now the UK’s most fashionable trad folkster, thanks to current album ‘O’, could draw comparisons with David Gray’s low-on-the-bill sets in previous years. Let’s hope his sturdy Celtic melodrama can avoid going down the same road, because woozy Glastonbury likes the look of him.
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