The Flaming Lips proved the highlight of Friday at Bestival thanks to a spectacular stage show full of bizarre props and psychedelic visuals – plus a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to the 10-year-old festival.
The show, which Wayne Coyne and the Lips have been touring in support of latest album ‘The Terror’, saw Coyne sing from a podium made of spherical mirrors and draped in tubes which carried splays of lights across the stage and up the backdrop. Coyne also incorporated props into the band’s performance, cradling a baby doll, aiming a hand-held spotlight into the crowd and waving a smoke-spewing wand during ‘The WAND’.
The set largely consisted of darker material from Coyne’s divorce album ‘The Terror’, but also included slowed-down “sad” versions of hits ‘Do You Realize??’ and ‘Race For The Prize’, before which Wayne said: “This song is kinda a sad song but we don’t want you to be sad at the beginning of a beautiful festival, so when the song starts to get sad you’ve got to bring us out of it.” The crowd duly obliged.
“We were here last night and it was one of the best fucking times we’ve ever had,” Coyne also said from the stage, “I couldn’t wake up today until 4.30 in the afternoon. I feel I’ve had a true Bestival experience. This is the 10th birthday, let’s hope it lasts for another thousand years.” The band then played a psychedelic take on ‘Happy Birthday’ to the festival.
The set, which also included a trippy version of Devo’s ‘Gates Of Steel’, had a clear emotional arc that was reflected in the stage show. During the downbeat ‘The Terror’, black confetti was blasted from cannons, replaced with gold confetti for the closing song ‘A Spoonful Weighs A Ton’, which ended with the word ‘LOVE’ flashing repeatedly on the screens as the band left the stage.
The Flaming Lips played:
‘Look… The Sun Is Rising’
‘Silver Trembling Hands’
‘Race For The Prize’
‘Try To Explain’
‘Gates Of Steel (Devo cover)’
‘All We Have Is Now’
‘One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21’
‘Butterfly, How Long It Takes To Die’
‘Do You Realize??’
‘A Spoonful Weighs A Ton’
Earlier in the day the Wu Tang Clan played the main stage despite several of their number being prevented from attending the festival. “My crew had a hard time coming through customs tonight,” one clan member said, “We came for miles to fuck this motherfucker and we want you to know, Wu Tang are not to be fucked with.” The reduced rap troupe proceeded to perform a set including ‘Da Mystery Of Chessboxin’, ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ and ‘Gravel Pit’ as well as snippets of ‘Come Together’ by The Beatles and ‘Got Your Money’ by Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
Meanwhile, Jessie Ware played an upbeat main stage set dressed in full ship’s captain regalia. Shouting “Ay ay captain!” and entreating one fan in the crowd to “put your top on!’, she extolled her love for the festival between renditions of ‘Valentine’, ‘Swan Song’, ‘Imagine It Was Us’ and ‘No To Love’, which featured a line from Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Want You’. “I had a holiday,” Ware told the crowd, “[but] I’m so glad I came off holiday to be here.”
“This is one of two festivals we did this year, so we’re very excited,” said Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club as they drew one of the day’s biggest crowds to the Main Stage for their mid-afternoon show. After opening with ‘How Could You Swallow So Much Sleep’, they weighed into a set featuring ‘Your Eyes’, ‘Evening/Morning’ and ‘Always Like This’. “We’re gonna send the next one out to Wu Tang,” Steadman said before the indie hoedown of ‘Ivy And Gold’.
Following Flaming Lips’ set, Fatboy Slim wound up the main stage with a laser-strewn performance of his big beat hits culminating in a minor firework display, while Disclosure rammed the Big Top tent until 12.30am with a set that included guest appearances by Friendly Fires’ Ed McFarlane on ‘Defeated No More’, Sam Smith on ‘Latch’ and Hannah Reid from London Grammar on ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ – “something we’ve never done before”, according to the band. “Just like last year, we’ve brought some friends with us,” they explained during a set which also included ‘White Noise’ and ‘When A Fire Starts To Burn’.
Bestival continues today (September 7) with a headline performance from Snoop Dogg as well as sets from Franz Ferdinand, Bastille, The Polyphonic Spree and Rudimental.