So now we know. This morning (May 6) it was announced, after months of speculation, that The Who are to headline Sunday evening at Glastonbury 2015, with Paul Weller taking up the slot before them. For joyous fans of the mod legends, the only question now is: “can I fit a tent and 42 cans of cider safely onto the back of a Vespa?” For other ticket-holders though, a more troubling question looms. Coming so soon after the group’s last bill-topping appearance in 2007, are The Who a safe bet rather than an exciting one? We get it. After rumours this year would herald Prince, The Libertines, Oasis, Blur and at long last Fleetwood Mac, it’s perhaps not the surprise blockbuster booking some had hoped for. But c’mon! Arctic Monkeys headlined in 2007 and 2013 and no-one complained then, and Roger Daltrey’s Londoners are back for a reason. Putting one of the country’s most celebrated ever bands on the biggest stage in the world is a no brainer, especially given the risks the Eavis clan have taken elsewhere at this year’s festival. Here’s why June 28 is going to be a night for Pilton to remember.
It’s the peak of The Who’s 50th anniversary tour
Sitting neatly in between a European arena tour and a jaunt to North America, Glastonbury will find the band well-oiled and ready to pop the champagne corks. Few bands make it anywhere even close to 50 years together, so the communal toast of 50,000+ people all saluting half a century in the game will be an epic moment. Plus, you expect there’ll be more than a few whistles and bangs to add to the celebrations.
They’ve got an undeniably brilliant back catalogue
If you want to go and seek out exciting, under-the-radar new talent, get off your nut and listen to EDM or lose yourself in some deep cuts from Captain Unknown and the Too Obscure For You, then there are places for that. At Glastonbury, there’s basically a place for everything. The Pyramid Stage, however, is a place for hits and you won’t be able to move for them during The Who. From ‘Can’t Explain’ to ‘Pinball Wizard’ to ‘Baba O’Reilly’ to ‘My Generation’ to ‘Pictures of Lily’ to… well, you get the idea.
Being a safe pair of hands isn’t a bad thing
Although both are likely to strap on their big boy boots and rise easily to the challenge, fact is neither Foo Fighters or Kanye (this year’s other two headliners) have topped the Pyramid Stage before. Winning over thousands of drunk revellers in unpredictable weather conditions against the competition of hundreds of other stages and the lure of a giant metal spider spitting fire is a whole new challenge for any artist. The Who, however, have already proven they can manage with aplomb.
They’ve got the level of respect to pull in some mighty guest stars
Over the past 15 years, Roger Daltrey has recruited everyone from Noel Gallagher to Paul McCartney to Florence & the Machine and more to play at his annual Teenage Cancer Trust charity shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Daltrey’s a well-respected and well-loved guy and he’s made more than a few musical pals along the way. If Oasis aren’t taking to the stage themselves, then this could be the way a Gallagher sets foot on the Pyramid this year after all.
It will almost certainly be their last time at the festival
Ahead of this tour, The Who announced that the extensive jaunt would likely be their last. In the words of Roger Daltrey, “This is the beginning of the last goodbye”. That means that this will, minor miracle withstanding, be the final time that the British institutions will play the greatest festival in the country. Let’s give them the send off they deserve.