Blur played a highly emotional headline show on the Isle Of Wight Festival’s main stage yesterday (June 13), with Damon Albarn still recovering from losing his voice the day before.
Joined by a choir, brass and strings, the band performed a mix of songs from comeback album ‘The Magic Whip’, fan favourites and classic singles.
‘Tender’ brought a huge singalong from the audience, a visibly moved Albarn kissing both guitarist Graham Coxon and bassist Alex James on the cheeks mid-song, before admitting his health problem to the crowd.
“I want to tell you a true story,” an overwhelmed Albarn announced. “I was very worried because I lost my voice yesterday. I know it’s a bit up and down but you all carried me and I want to thank you.”
‘There’s No Other Way’
‘Coffee + TV’
‘Out Of Time’
‘Thought I Was A Spaceman’
‘He Thought Of Cars’
‘Trouble In The Message Centre’
‘To The End’
‘This Is A Low’
‘Girls & Boys’
A loss of voice earlier forced Jess Glynne to cancel her main stage performance. Replacing her during a day of bright sunshine was Ella Eyre, whose version of her guest spot on Rudimental’s ‘Waiting All Night’ witnessed the day’s first field-wide outbreak of dancing.
Eyre’s set was followed by an attempt to break the world record for the number of people in the same place wearing masks at the same time. Thousands of revellers donned masks of Jimi Hendrix, celebrating 45 years since the iconic musician headlined the Isle Of Wight Festival and raising money for the WellChild charity.
Later in the evening, Pharrell Williams paused his joyful set to pay tribute to Hendrix. As his band played Hendrix’s interpretation of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and ‘Hey Joe’, Pharrell made a peace sign before asking the crowd to raise their fingers to the sky and “Point To Jimi”.
Pharrell used the rest of his set as an all-singing, all-dancing showcase for his solo hits, N*E*R*D tracks and countless productions and collaborations. With six dancers and a full band, he delivered slick and energetic takes on ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Get Lucky’ before bringing dozens of children on stage to dance with him for ‘Happy’.
Over in the Big Top, Sunset Sons and Foxes both drew large crowds. The record attraction on the day, however, was for funk survivors Kool & The Gang, whose teatime main stage slot packed the fields to breaking point as festival-going families got down to ‘Celebration’.
Other notable Big Top performances came from cool, organ driven Parisian party band La Femme and a chaotic art meets dancepop showcase by international electroclash provocateurs Chicks On Speed.
The Isle Of Wight festival concludes today (June 14) with a highly anticipated headline slot by Fleetwood Mac.