Monday, June 27, 2016

Glastonbury Trip, Day 7: One Word, "Coldplay"

Sunday at Glastonbury was a more relaxing day as we slept in and decided to plant ourselves at the Pyramid Stage. We caught sets by Laura Mvula, ELO, Beck, and the headliner, Coldplay.

All I can say about Sunday's gigs is that my expectations were blown away. The only one that suffered was Beck who struggled more to whip up a tired rain-soaked crowd. It rained most of the day, but I enjoyed every second of it.


ELO - which happened to be my first concert ever in 1978 - brought me to tears with memories of my youth.


And what can I say about Coldplay's set? There are just no words. I cried through "The Scientist" and was thankful that Caroline put her arm around me and pulled the four of us together. It was one of the greatest single moments I've experienced - a deep feeling of community and love and friendship.

Andy declared Coldplay's set the best thing ever done at Glastonbury (and he goes every year). It included no less than three show-stopping moments. The first was a heartfelt tribute to Viola Beach, letting them "headline Glastonbury in an alternate future." The second was Barry Gibb joining them on stage for "To Love Somebody" and "Stayin' Alive" (which Chris Martin declared "the greatest song ever"). And the third was Michael Eavis himself joining them on stage to sing "My Way." I couldn't take much more. It was stunning to say the least.

All I know is that when Coldplay throws out "Yellow" as the second song in their set, you're in for something special indeed. It was beautiful and full of heart. And there were lasers and light-up wristbands and star-shaped confetti and giant balloons everywhere.


And then it stopped raining. Yet another Glastonbury miracle.

Once I properly compose myself and work out all my emotions (and take a shower), I will make my best attempt to summarize what these past five days really meant to me.

Here's a photo that captures some of it:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Glastonbury Trip, Day 6: More Music, More Mud, and Turin Brakes

Saturday I woke up to a downpour. I wasn't worried at first, but then I looked over at Jim and noticed his sleeping bag was getting wet. I looked up to see our tent was leaking from water pooling up on the outer fly. I quickly woke him up and then found water dripping into several areas along the bottom of the tent. Jim put on his rain gear and went out to construct a cover for our tent using bin bags over the mesh window at the top. It was quick and dirty but did the job while I dried up all the water drops on the floor.  

The rain stopped soon after and the sun came out and we were able to get back sleep. It was 5 am. 

At 9 am, the alarm went off and we quickly jumped up to prep for the day. The guys in the tent next to us were frying up bacon like they do every morning, I'm sure just to make us hungry and jealous.

Selfie with mud: 

Our first gig was on the other side of the festival - KT Tunstall was doing an acoustic set in a bar called The Crows Nest. It was at the top of a huge hill in the area known as The Park. We hoofed it to arrive just in time. She played a short set of all new songs from the album due in September. This set alone was worth the trip to Glastonbury. Jim got her autograph and a photo and she even remembered him from Twitter. I know it was a little bit of heaven for him.

Next, we grabbed breakfast and I had to run back to the tent because I forgot my glasses. I needed them for later when we would split up and communicate via text.

The high ground was starting to dry out, but the mud was becoming more like cement and walking and watching gigs was becoming a serious workout.

We met up with Andy and Caroline at The Other Stage for St. Paul & The Broken Bones, a band we didn't know from Alabama. We only caught the last few songs, but they were all stunners! We will most definitely be checking out their music when we get home.

We walked a bit, grabbed some ciders, and realized it was getting close to 3 pm - time to split up. I went alone to see Travis at Croissant Neuf (solar-powered tent celebrating its 10-year anniversary), and the other three went to see Madness on the Pyramid Stage.

The Croissant Neuf tent was stifling hot and packed solid, but I was able to weave my way up close to the stage. I got stuck in the mud but was helped out by fellow Travis fans, showing me the Glastonbury hospitality is something special.

The mud:

The highlight of the Travis set for me was their cover of The Band's "The Weight." I have always wanted to see them do this particular one and finally had my chance! (and got it on video). I stayed 45 minutes then left after "Selfish Jean" to meet up with Jim, Andy, and Caroline for the end of Madness.


When I got to the Pyramid Stage, I was blown away. Madness completely packed the lawn. It was even bigger than Muse. I got there just in time to hear "One Step Beyond," "Our House," and "It Must Be Love." Hearing Jim singing all the lyrics made me realize he made the right decision to miss Travis.

Madness was madness:

Then we had some time to kill before my most-coveted gig of Glasto - Turin Brakes. We quickly rushed over to catch some of John Grant on the John Peel Stage. Wow. I was very impressed, but unfortunately we had to leave after only a few songs as we had plans to grab a quick dinner and meet up with Turin Brakes before their gig.

We quickly made our way back to the tents to get clothes for the evening. The weather has been ridiculously unpredictable and kept going from hot sun to really cold wind and overcast with sprinkles. Who knew what to wear?!?

Then came my personal main event: Turin Brakes headlining the Avalon Stage. It was one of the best Turin Brakes gigs I've ever attended. The sound and lights were stellar. The venue was packed with die-hard Turin Brakes fans who gave up seeing Adele headline the Pyramid Stage to be there. 

On the way was a rainbow - there are miracles everywhere here:

Turin Brakes:

We ended up the night at Arcadia to see the giant spider with its lasers and flames and light show with music. It was spectacular! My eyes still hurt - hopefully it didn't burn out my retinas.

The mud on Saturday was so bad that we kept getting stuck and needed help getting out. It was ankle deep in places and like cement. Getting from one place to another was nothing short of painful.

Getting back to the tent was way more difficult than it should have been as Jim and I both almost slipped in the mud several times and I kept getting stuck in it. By the time we got to sleep, everything hurt but my mind, which was all abuzz from the best day of music I can ever remember having. Seriously, I am running out of adjectives to adequately describe this experience.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Glastonbury Trip, Day 5: The Music

We were up early enough to catch the Glasto milk truck (who knew? on Twitter as @GlastoMilk), and got milk and orange juice.

Then checked the weather to see major rain in the forecast. We cleaned up, packed rain gear, packed our other stuff in plastic, and left at 10:30-ish to trek to William's Green to see an amazing dance-music-playing-acoustic-guitar duo called The Showhawk Duo.

We ate breakfast (toasties) and got rained on as we made our way toward The Other Stage and caught the end of James (also amazing) while we walked. The Other Stage was PACKED! 

Scenes on the way: 

James on The Other Stage

Then we headed to the Pyramid Stage to hang out on the grass. And the sun came out. And it was glorious.


We stayed to see Two Door Cinema Club who came on just as the rain hit. It didn't dampen our spirits though, and they were really fun and danceable even with full rain gear.


Just as they finished, the sun came out and it got warm and glorious once more. We grabbed an early dinner and headed back to the tents to eat, drink, and change clothes for ZZ-Top, Foals, and Muse on the Pyramid Stage.


My face even got sunburnt:

On the way back, we realized how fortunate we were to be on high ground, as the rain now left muddy puddles and rivers of mud flowing down through the tents one level below us.

We got back to the Pyramid Stage for ZZ-Top:

More mud:

Foals and the ever-increasing sea of flags and humanity:

The sun went down. And Muse came on:

And my tiny little mind was completely blown. 

Time to sleep. More music tomorrow, including Turin Brakes.