Elton John brings Bestival 2013 to a close with first festival performance since 1979

James Blake, Angel Haze, Chic and Parquet Courts also perform on last day of Isle of Wight festival

Elton John headlined the final night of Bestival 2013 with a greatest hits set which marked his first UK festival appearance in over 30 years.

Before Elton took the stage, a cellist played energetic instrumental versions of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Highway To Hell’. John then emerged to play early ’70s hits ‘The Bitch Is Back’ and ‘Bennie And The Jets’.

“I haven’t played a UK festival since 1979 – I decided to play this one because I was told what a brilliant festival it was,” John told the crowd. He then played several tracks including ‘Levon’ and ‘Grey Seal’, from his multi-platinum ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ album.


From there, Elton piled into his formidable cache of hits, peppering huge rafts of classics including ‘Rocket Man’, ‘Candle In The Wind’ and ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ with less familiar tracks such as ‘Hey Ahab’ and ‘Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding’.

John closed his set with an exuberant run of upbeat tracks, ‘I’m Still Standing’, ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’ and ‘Crocodile Rock’, which featured a closing riff from The Beatles ‘Day Tripper’, before returning for an encore of ‘Home Again’, during which the lyrics for the song played on the screen, and a final ‘Your Song’. “I’ll remember this for the rest of my life,” he said, “I wish you all health and happiness.”

Elton John played:

‘The Bitch Is Back’
‘Bennie And The Jets’
‘Grey Seal’
‘Tiny Dancer’
‘Philadelphia Freedom’
‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’
‘Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)’
‘Hey Ahab’
‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues’
‘Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding’
‘Candle In The Wind’
‘Sad Songs (Say So Much)’
‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’
‘I’m Still Standing’
‘Crocodile Rock’
‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’
‘Home Again’
‘Your Song’

Earlier, on a day which saw well-received sets from Angel Haze, The Strypes and Jaws, Chic wowed a huge crowd with an equally hit-crammed set. “Every single song you hear today, I wrote in the first place,” Nile Rodgers pointed out before delivering a 90-minute show featuring runs through David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’, Duran Duran’s ‘Notorious’ and Sister Sledge’s ‘Lost In Music’ alongside songs from Chic’s own back catalogue such as ‘Le Freak’ and ‘Everybody Dance’. A final ‘Good Times’, including a snippet of The Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’, inspired a stage invasion of fancy-dress hangers-on from the wings, and Chic left the stage as the DJ played Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’, which Rodgers also co-wrote.

Following Elton John’s set, James Blake played to an appreciative crowd in the Big Top, his hour of minimalist electronica including fan favourites ‘Lindisfarne 1’, ‘Limit To Your Love’ and tracks from his recent album ‘Overgrown’ including ‘Voyeur’. Blake finished with a solo piano take on ‘A Case Of You’.


The festival was rounded off in raucous fashion with a set in the Replay stage by Parquet Courts, who roared through a 17-song set to a damp but ecstatic crowd. The set included new track ‘You Got Me Wonderin’ Now’ from their forthcoming EP ‘Tally All The Things That You Broke’.

Parquet Courts played:

‘Tears Of Plenty’
‘Yonder Is…’
‘Light Up Gold’
‘Sun Bathing Animal’
‘Smart Aleck Kid’
‘She’s Rollin”
‘Master Of My Craft’
‘Borrowed Time’
‘Yr No Stoner’
‘Careers In Combat’
‘North Dakota’
‘Dear Ramona’
‘You Got Me Wonderin’ Now’
‘No Ideas’
‘Donuts Only’
‘Stoned + Starving’

Check out all the pictures from Bestival 2013

Read our reports from day one, two and three from Bestival.


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