Lionel Richie has spoken about his set at Glastonbury festival over the weekend.
The legendary singer drew the biggest crowd of this year’s festival during his Sunday afternoon (June 28) Pyramid Stage performance. Richie performed in the crowd-pleasing ‘Legends’ slot reserved for veteran artists, occupied last year by Dolly Parton and in previous years by Kenny Rogers, Paul Simon and Shirley Bassey.
Speaking to NME following the show, Richie described the response as “a crowd’s best performance ever”.
He added: “There’s a certain point where I’m listening in my ears and thinking, ‘OK, Lionel, can you hear yourself? Yes!’ And I’m feeling good about it. But all of a sudden I’m having interference in my ears, and I’m thinking, ‘Why?’ And it’s because the crowd are coming through my microphone! I couldn’t hear myself singing!”
The singer added: “But no, it was a complete hoot. I must tell you, I haven’t had that much fun onstage in I don’t know how long. The crowd just took over the show… Not only singing back my songs, but in between they decided to sing a song all by themselves.”
Speaking of the Lionel Richie-themed flags, banners and T-shirts that flooded the crowd, he said: “There’s was a nude doll of Lionel Richie out in the audience with a hard-on; and there’s a lady at the front wearing an afro wig and a moustache. I mean, if you could see the show as I could see it… I had to stop so many times just to look at the audience. It was like the Lionel Richie Rocky Horror Picture Show where everyone came in costume! If there was ever a perfect show, this was it. It was as good as it gets.”
Prior to his performance, Richie managed to cross paths with the Dalai Lama. He revealed: “We had a chance to have some words together. I mean, when you start off meeting the Dalai Lama backstage, you know it’s gonna be a great show.”
Richie also revealed that he’s been asked to perform at Glastonbury in the past but didn’t accept the offer until he truly understood the festival’s essence.
“It’s taken me about five years to figure out what the hell this thing was all about,” he said. “I started seeing little posts on the internet saying, ‘Here’s the Lionel Richie head at Glastonbury’ or ‘Here’s the Lionel Richie flags at Glastonbury’. I kept thinking, what is this Glastonbury thing? And then the fans started getting together and saying I should play Glastonbury, and then finally I got the phone call asking if I wanted to play. And I said, ‘Well, I guess so, because I’ve heard so much about it!’. But I must say, it was beyond what I expected. You all lived up totally to the hype.”
Describing what makes Glastonbury special compared to other festivals, Ritchie stated: “It’s not a gimmick. It’s really raw and the crowd are absolutely music lovers. It’s really what Woodstock was about years ago: you come out and you brave the elements, you get as crazy and wild and as dirty as you possibly can, but in the middle of all that happening, you’re gonna hear some great music. I actually had flashbacks as we were driving in: I was like, am I driving back into the 1970s? You all have created year after year a thing that we used to call a ‘happening’. And I must tell you, I enjoyed every bit of my experience.”
Watch footage of Richie’s Glastonbury 2015 performance below.