04 September 2007

Top 10 Live Acts*

  1. Radiohead - Glastonbury 2003
  2. Paul McCartney 2004
  3. David Bowie 2001
  4. Coldplay 2003 & 2005
  5. Faithless 2002
  6. REM 2002 & ?
  7. Scissor Sisters 2004
  8. The Levellers 2005
  9. Orbital 2004
  10. White Stripes 2002

As my lovely wife Sally has bought me tickets to see my favourite band as a kid, The Police, this weekend, I thought I'd start my lists with best music acts Ive seen live. *I decided to narrow these down to acts Ive seen at Glastonbury Festival since the year 2000. I first went to the festival in 1994 but really cant remember all the bands Ive since then!

10. The White Stripes: Playing mid afternoon The White Stripes blew me away. Relatively unknown back then but championed by the late, great John Peel, Jack and Meg took to the huge stage and filled it ten times over. A blistering, manic set that turned me into a fan. Best moment: Hotel Yobba

9. Orbital: My only regret of the inevitable line-up clash choices at Glastonbury is not going to see Muse on the main Pyramid Stage. I still want to see them but this was the Hartnoll brothers last gig as Orbital in England (and all my mates wanted to see it). Luckily, it was a great, joyous uplifting set, a great way to end that year's festival. (The third time I'd seen them so I knew it'd be good!). Best moment: tricky, probably Chime

8. The Levellers: The massive downpour that everyone woke up to that June morning (a months worth of rain in 7 hours) couldnt stop the faithful partying down to the quintessential Glasto band. Fittingly, everyone had the crusty look but with big smiles on their faces.Ive never seen the Jazz World Field so busy and the atmosphere was brilliant and proved the resilience of the Worthy Farm faithful. Being there with Sally, at her first Glastonbury for her first time, helped. Best moment: One Way

7. Scissor Sisters: For the same reason as The Levellers, Scissor Sisters made it a party in the drizzle and the set made it feel like the sun was shining. Glastonbury throws up a surprise package for me every year and in 2005 it was the camp popsters in sequined jumpsuits. Best moment: Take Your Mama

6. REM: Two brilliant sets, showing the depth and breadth of their amazing back catalogue. Michael Stipe is the perfect frontman with a voice that can be scathing one moment to angelically tender the next. One of my favourite live bands in the perfect setting. Hairs on back of neck to Nightswimming, tears in the eyes to Everybody Hurts, sore throat after End of The World As We Know It. How can I pick a best moment? OK, best moment: Dedicating Imitation of Life to Jean Eavis, Glastonbury supremo's wife, who had died the previous year.

5. Faithless: This was just one of those perfect moments. In my opinion not a great album band and frankly their singles were pretty run of the mill but something special happened in that field that night. My friends were of elsewhere, not interested and for an hour or so I met new ones, stranger in the crowd and we jumped up and down together to a set that vibrated right through the whole crowd. The best moment has gone down in history, and to paraphrase Maxi Jazz, if I live to be 100 I'll never forget that. Best moment: We Come One

4. Coldplay: Two appearances, one that turned them into superstars the second, the returning heroes. Powerful stuff, politics, emotion and a damn good singalong. Best moment: the improv word changes in A Rush of Blood to the Head all about Glastonbury.

3. David Bowie: In 2000 Glastonbury was rammed. Its estimated that as many people jumped the fence as paid. About 80,000 people were at the Pyramid Stage to witness Bowie's greatest hits set that showed why he's been at the top of his game for so long. As soon as he stepped up to the mike and said "Hello" I understood why some people are stars and others just pretenders. With a set list that included the likes of Man Who Sold The World and Life on Mars, how could it fail? Best moment: Heroes

2. Paul McCartney: He was in the Beatles. He started with a non Beatles song (Jet) and it was brilliant. I was with my sister, the biggest Beatles fan born in the 70s I know. My niece was on my shoulders during Hey Jude, the "na na" phrase rang through the whole festival site for hours afterwards. Special. Best moment: the fireworks for Live and Let Die (cos Ive already mentioned Hey Jude)

1. Radiohead: I missed the quagmire years on 97/98 so missed their legendary set in 97. In 03 it waqs just after the release of Hail to the Thief and Radiohead were angrier with the state of the world more than ever. Again my mates were off elsewhere and I just stood alone in a field on thousands, engrossed and emotional, completely wrapped in this amazing sound, energy and feeling coming from the stage. Radiohead play as if there is noone else there and it makes it seem personal in a huge crowd. The best of best moments:Thom Yorke going quiet as the whole field whispered "For a minute there, I lost myself" back at him. Spine tingling just thinking about it.

This was very difficult to keep it down to 10 and these are just There the moments I can think of right now. There were many more.
Special mention also to: Snow Patrol 2004, Ezio - 2000, Brian Wilson 2005, Kaiser Chiefs 2007 , The Who 2007, The Killers 2005/07

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