Glastonbury 2010: Gorillaz, Flaming Lips, Grizzly Bear, Muse, Radiohead…

Glastonbury is HUGE…

In 2010 that meant 20 stages with about 10 artists on each of the 3 main days (more on some of the smaller stages, but only 8 or so on the bigger stages).  Adding to the madness that occurs annually, 2010 was also festival’s 40th anniversary year.

On Friday, June 25th Gorillaz filled in for scheduled headliners U2 to cap an eclectic first day on the Pyramid Stage (Femi Kuti, Willie Nelson, Snoop, Vampire Weekend) – watch “Clint Eastwood” (feat. Snoop Dogg) here and “Feel Good, Inc” below.  Their set was guest heavy, per usual for the “cartoon band” – Lou Reed, Bobby Womack, Mark E. Smith, De La Soul, Snoop Dogg and others help out… that’s in addition to having half of The Clash (Mick Jones and Paul Simonon) in the band, led by Blur’s Damon Albarn.  Regardless, by common consensus it was a disappointing set – the Guardian noted, “A large portion of the crowd on the left of the field spends five minutes watching a man atop a wooden pergola, exposing first his arse and then his penis before descending amid a hail of bottles, a spectacle with which the electro-soul elegance of Empire Ants just cannot compete.”

Away from the Pyramid Stage, on “The Other Stage”, were some of the most buzzed about sets of the weekend – beginning with The Magic Number, Phoenix, La Roux, Florence and the Machine, Hot Chip and others on Friday…
…and headlined that night by The Flaming Lips.  The Guardian noted, The Flaming Lips’ “crowd is scanty, though it fills up as Gorillaz tank on the Pyramid stage… the Flaming Lips respond in the only way they know how – with a prog-meets-garage extravaganza aligned to an eye-popping spectacle taking in glitter cannons, green lasers and balloons. Wayne Coyne is the perfect MC…The Flaming Lips channel Hawkwind by way of MC5 to destroy all bad vibes – and it works…Hippies, hardcore indie kids, and as the night wears on, people bored of Gorillaz.”

The Flaming Lips have never had traveled to so many places in their almost 28 years as they did in 2010: Croatia, United Kingdom, Portugal, Poland, Norway, France, Belgium, Wales, Malaysia, China, Japan, Mexico, seven different regions of Canada and 20 of the Unites States (Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee, Maine, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, California, Florida, Colorado).  Each of their sets was unforgettable for those in attendance but in June they played a few gigs that especially stand-out.  First they covered all of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon with Stardeath and White Dwarfs on Friday night at midnight on Bonnaroo. Then, less than 48 hours later, they played a short set with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic… and two weeks later they hit Glastonbury.  Aside from being an exceptionally exciting show, it also yielded some of the best live film of the band this year.  The BBC’s beautifully shot Lips’ footage brings back wonderful memories for anyone who saw the Flaming Lips – not just at Glastonbury, but anywhere in the world in 2010.

Watch the VIPs in front of Glastonbury’s “Other Stage” drop Wayne Coyne’s “space bubble” – forcing him to get out and run back to his band before they kick into “Worm Mountain” – from June 25, 2010 in the second half of the above video (the first half is from Glasto 2003).  The Flaming Lips’ 2010 Glasto set also included a headline-grabbing rant preceding “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”, “See the Leaves” and other popular favorites:

Muse –  including a “The Streets Have No Name” cover with Edge sitting in (consolation for fans bummed Bono’s back problems caused U2 to pull-out)  – and Stevie Wonder headlined the Pyramid on Saturday and Sunday.  Earlier on those days Jackson Brown, Seasick Steve, The Dead Weather, Norah Jones, Slash, Ray Davies and many others played (watch highlight here). 

The National, The Cribs, Editors, Pet Shop Boys (Saturday headline), Grizzly Bear, MGMT, LCD Soundsystem and Orbital (Sunday headliner) were among the acts on the Other Stage on Saturday and Sunday.  Wayne Coyne had suggested to the press ahead of time that The Flaming Lips would try to get MGMT to sit-in on “Worm Mountain” – as they do on the record – but alas, that was not to be.

Among the hundreds of other sets worth tracking down footage of are Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, The XX, Gang of Four and Broken Social Scene on the John Peel Stage and Mos Def, Brother Ali, Devandra Banhart, Os Mutantes and George Clinton with P-Funk on West Holts. 

Watch four highlights from Grizzly Bear’s Glasto set in Psych Explorations of 2010 Glasto Rewind Part 2

Then there was the Park Stage, in some ways the coolest of all.  On Friday – aside from the scheduled sets of Local Natives, The Big Pink, Broken Bells and headliners The XX – Thom York and Johnny Greenwood played, unannounced. In this anniversary year it was a fitting reminder why Radiohead’s iconic 1997 Glastonbury set is often singled out as the shining moment of the festival’s entire 40 year history.  If Radiohead were booked they no doubt would have headlined the Pyramid Stage to a massive crowd.  That Thom and Johnny played a relatively intimate gig (by Glasto standards that is – it was certainly not small), on a fringe stage, for some of the more adventurous fans at the festival (who else would be hanging around the Park Stage when Vampire Weekend, Dizzee Rascal and Gorillaz were heating up the Pyramid?) will no doubt go down in Glastonbury lore.  Here We Go Magic, Beach House, Midlake (Saturday headliners), Avi Buffalo, Portico Quartet, BEAK, Archie Bonson Outfit and Dirty Projectors also played the Park Stage over the remainder of the weekend.

More Glasto 2010 coverage here and here


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