As part of my attempt to catalogue all my music festival experiences, I am today taking advantage of free time over the Easter break to try and remember the first Glastonbury of the 21st century. John Peel was still the compere, the Park Stage did not yet exist, and neither did Shangri La. Doves were playing their debut album in the New Bands Tent. The Pyramid Stage, making a return for the first time since a previous incarnation burned down “in mysterious circumstances” before the 1994 festival, had been baptised by Robert Plant with a pail of milk from Michael Eavis’ herd. And hardly anyone had a tattoo.
I can’t say I remember a massive amount about it, other than it was the best weekend of the year as usual. But both myself and the friend with whom I attended most strongly recall a branch-made dragon sculpture and laughing uncontrollably at a black-box theatre performance.
Headline acts: The Chemical Brothers, Travis, David Bowie
Weather: It was alright. Probably.
Contemporaneous events: Ken Livingstone elected as first Mayor of London
Author’s festival credentials: Punter, attending with my antipodean friend, Tina, to whom thanks are due for jogging my memory on what we saw.
Now here’s the problem – the rules of this exercise are that I score the bands while I am at the festival and then faithfully reprint them in blog form, with some added reflections. However, while I have managed to retain the programme from the millennium edition of Glastonbury, and I have made some scribbles that suggest I recorded what I saw, or at least the bands I meant to see, I didn’t do any scoring. Thus, here follows a chronological ramble of a review instead:
- Badly Drawn Boy – behatted and a bit shambolic, I loved “The Hour of the Bewilderbeast” when it was released and listening to it now for the first time in fifteen years it’s still a thing of rough beauty (Friday, 8.20, New Tent).
- Moby – described as “the eco-conscious dance bluesman” in the programme, which makes him sound more interesting than I remember (Friday, 9pm, Other Stage).
- Nine Inch Nails – I reckon this was Tina’s choice.. (Friday, 11pm Other Stage).
- The Blair Witch Project – creepy film that was slightly less paranoia-inducing when watched outside in a muddy field with a few thousand other inebriated souls (Friday, 2am, Cinema Field).
- Asian Dub Foundation (Saturday, 1pm, Pyramid)
- Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Saturday, 3pm, Jazzworld)
- Mimbre Acrobatic Trio – I obviously didn’t rate Ladysmith Black Mambazo if we got across to this half an hour later! (Saturday, 3.35pm, East Holts Cabaret Marquee)
- Death in Vegas – ‘Aladdin’s Story’ from ‘The Contino Sessions’ album of this year would still make it into my Desert Island Discs. I wonder if this is where I got into them? (Saturday, 9pm, Other Stage)
- Travis – they look very young in the photos and, while I can’t say they excite me much now, I remember this being a life-affirming performance at the time (Saturday, 11pm, Pyramid)
- Saint Etienne – still one of my favourite bands/film-makers, but I had mis-remembered that they never play festivals (Sunday, 5.10pm, Other Stage)
- Yo La Tengo – I would have wanted to see this lot after catching as show of theirs when the wonderful Gorkys Zygotic Mynci were supporting them, I think at Brixton Academy, earlier in the year (Sunday, 7.50, New Bands Tent)
- Suzanne Vega – I am starting to think that I see Susan Vega every year at Glastobury, that’s how much I like ‘Tom’s Diner’ (Sunday 9.30pm, Acoustic)
- David Bowie – I still get annoyed about missing Paul McCartney in 2004, but at least I saw David Bowie in 2000! (Sunday, 10.20pm, Pyramid Stage)
Things I wished I seen if I knew then what I know now..
- G. Love & Special Sauce – I love that track ‘Blues Music’ that is on the Turin Brakes ‘ LateNightTales’ collection
- John Martyn – I just hadn’t ever heard him back then and now it’s too late
- Elliot Smith – ditto. R.I.P.9