The Who headlined the Pyramid Stage on the final night of Glastonbury 2015 with a set that finished with guitarist Pete Townshend taking a potshot at Saturday night headliner Kanye West.
Referring to West’s claim that he was “the greatest living rock star on the planet” during his set, Townshend described set-closer ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again” as “big and rebellious” before adding, “who’s the biggest rock star in the world?” to cheers from their crowd.
The band arrived to a smaller crowd than both Florence & the Machine and Kanye West, entering 15 minutes later than their billed stage time of 9.15pm despite having pushed forward their set from 9.45pm earlier today. Behind the band as they entered was a sign reading ‘Keep calm, here comes The Who’.
As they appeared, Townshend – who performed with the band at the festival in 2007 – said, “Here we are again. We’ve got a lovely, simple job to do tonight which is to send you home happy and maybe a bit deaf. So here we are.”
Kicking off with ‘Who Are You’ with old pictures of the band showing on the video screen behind them, the band then moved onto ‘The Seeker’ as the crowd started to fill out. Singer Roger Daltrey sported lilac glasses and an all black outfit, while Townshend wore sunglasses and was responsible for much of the stage chat.
‘The Kids Are Alright’ was backed with footage from Quadrophenia, before Townshend introduced ‘I Can See For Miles’. “This one is about seeing a very long way,” he said. “All the way to the back. We can reach you”. A rapturously-received ‘My Generation’ followed as a pink smoke flare went off in the crowd.
After ‘Bargain’, Townshend ripped part of the clear screen in front of drummer Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr) down, while ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ saw the lights dim and a backdrop of cascading lights played.
‘Eminence Front’ followed, while ‘Amazing Journey’ saw Daltrey playing tambourine during Townshend’s solo. The band then broke into ‘Pinball Wizard’ to huge cheers from the crowd now nighttime had fallen, with images from film Tommy flashing behind, while ‘Baba O’Riley’ sparked another flare in the crowd as Waters played an extended harmonica solo.
Introducing the band, Townshend said “it could have been better, but it’s as good as it can be. It would have been better if we’d been able to soundcheck.” They made the veiled reference to Kanye launched into a closer of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ as Daltrey pulled down the remainder of Starkey’s drum screen.
As the crowd cheered, the band remained on stage to talk to the audience. “Thank you Glastonbury, it’s always such a great time,” began Townshend. Daltrey then introduced the band again, referring to Townshend as “the man without whom we’d be playing Johnny Cash songs or Roy Orbison songs – not that there’s anything wrong with that”. “Music is a team effort, but you made it possible for us and I thank you from deep down inside,” he ended, before signing off to the audience. “May you be happy, may you be healthy, but most of all may you be lucky”.
The Who played:
‘Who Are You’
‘The Kids Are Alright’
‘I Can See for Miles’
‘Pictures of Lily’
‘Behind Blue Eyes’
‘You Better You Bet’
‘Love, Reign O’er Me’
‘See Me, Feel Me’
‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’