Steve Wonder brings Bestival to a spectacular climax

Soul legend covers Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Marvin Gaye at hit-packed show

Stevie Wonder brought Bestival to a close last night (September 9) with a two-hour set packed with hits.

The Motown legend walked on to the percussion and bass of ‘Master Blaster (Jammin’)’ and took the opportunity to immediately endorse Barack Obama in the forthcoming November US elections.

“Without him we can’t move forward,” he said to massive cheers. “When I hear ’bout racism it makes me freakin’ sick to the stomach! We are all creations of the Almighty”.


Dressed all in red and black, the star then played Motown classic ‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)’ before reprising ‘Master Blaster (Jammin’) ‘ for a full version of the classic.

The hits kept continued, including ‘Higher Ground’, ‘My Cherie Amour’, ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours’ and a medley that featured ‘Uptight (Everything’s Alright)’ and ‘For Once In My Life’. Wonder also covered a number of songs during the set, including an impromptu blast through ‘New York State Of Mind’ with his daughter Aisha Morris at his side at the piano. He also paid tribute to his friend Michael Jackson with ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, calling out Jackson’s name throughout and asking God to bless his children, his mother and his fans.

He covered two John Lennon songs, ‘Imagine’, which he said was “still as relevant as when [Lennon] wrote it,” and The Beatles’ ‘She Loves You’ towards the end of the set. ‘What’s Going On’ by Marvin Gaye was also given an airing.

After marching to the finish with ‘Superstition’, Wonder concluded with ‘Happy Birthday’ and left the stage with his band to a massive ovation that was followed by a firework display.

Stevie Wonder played:

‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)’
‘Master Blaster (Jammin’)’
‘Higher Ground’
‘The Way You Make Me Feel’
‘Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer’
‘My Cherie Amour’
‘Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing’
‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours’
‘Sir Duke’
‘Wonder Medley’
‘Do I Do’
‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’
‘Isn’t She Lovely?’
‘She Loves You’
‘What’s Going On’
‘Happy Birthday’


Kevin Morrison, 28, from Brighton said: “That was absolutely nuts. I can’t believe I was so close to a proper living legend. Stevie is totally badass. He’s completely nuts, but in a good way.”

Rhonda Michaels, 25, from the Isle of Wight said: “That was one of the most thrilling moments of my life. I was with all my best friends in the world and we’ve had such a brilliant, amazing time. Thank you Stevie! Bestival has been incredible, I’m definitely coming back next year.”

Jennifer Martin, 23, from Bristol said: “I was surprised how many of the songs I knew. Even the cheesy stuff like ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ was brilliant in that crowd. I’m totally happy right now.’

Earlier in the day, Sigur Ros provided warm-up for Wonder, playing a set spanning right back to ‘Svefn-G-Englar’’, a track that appeared on the NME ‘Come On Try Young’ compilation in 2000 exposing them to a wider audience. They also delighted fans with their track ‘Hoppipolla’, the song widely known as the theme tune to BBC’s Planet Earth.

Elsewhere, Doom turned up late and Factory Floor cancelled, though Bat For Lashes introduced her audience to new tracks from her forthcoming album ‘The Haunted Man’, with Natasha Khan’s rendition of ‘Laura’ nearly reducing the singer to tears.