A Glastonbury legend is born

Jay-Z wins over his doubters – and Amy Winehouse's set goes with a swing. Mark Hughes reports
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

His name on the bill sparked the type of controversy that rarely surrounds Glastonbury Festival. A hip-hop act isn't what the traditional field-dwellers have come to expect, and even Noel Gallagher, a god in these parts, decried his inclusion.

But last night Jay-Z took the Oasis star's criticism and turned it into one of the great Glastonbury moments. Taking to the stage flanked by guitarists and in front of a Union Jack backdrop, the rapper led the sizeable crowd in a sing- along of "Wonderwall".

It was a moment that will surely go down in festival folklore. But the rest of his set was also impressive, although at times it felt more like a Barack Obama rally than a festival gig.

It seemed to consist of his entire back catalogue of hits, including "99 Problems" and "Girls, Girls, Girls", and he won over his remaining doubters without any of his rumoured special guests appearing; in earlier speculation they had ranged from his wife, Beyoncé Knowles, to Coldplay's frontman, Chris Martin.

Earlier, Amy Winehouse had answered the festival's most-asked question: would she show up? In the end, despite rumours that she had been replaced on the bill, she did, appearing on the Pyramid Stage just after 9pm.

After her recent spell in hospital – during which she was diagnosed with emphysema – and her much-publicised drug problems, you could be forgiven for thinking that the 80,000-strong crowd had come along simply to witness something akin to a car crash.

What they got was a relatively polished performance that included her hits "Back to Black", "Tears Dry on Their Own" and "You Know I'm No Good". The only hitches were when her trademark beehive got stuck in her guitar strap and had to be freed by a roadie, and when she appeared to swing a punch at a fan.

As she sang "Rehab" towards the end of her hour-long set, she clambered into the pit in front of the stage and got into a scuffle with a member of the audience.

An Amy Winehouse gig wouldn't be complete without messages to her incarcerated husband, Blake. She duly obliged with numerous mentions including one in which she said he will be out of jail in two weeks. But most of her banter was dominated by inane chatter about, among other things, her dad, the band The Specials and, most bizarrely, Bill Cosby.

Comments