Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset

3.00

Bono rises above the protests, but the real joy is with Radiohead

"It's not often you hear an Irishman singing "Jerusalem", Bono notes.

It's a particularly ragged, even rotten attempt. But it's symptomatic of his wish to connect with Glastonbury, a festival whose specialness partly comes from association with ancient Albion. The controversy ahead of his band U2's headlining appearance on Friday night, stoked up by protesters against Bono's alleged use of tax havens, feels irrelevant as he plays. A version of "One" resonates with devotion, spirituality and suffering.

Bono slips in a fragment of Primal Scream's "Movin' On Up" into "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", too. An acoustic run at "Stay (Faraway So Close)", though, is flaccid. And, for all his songs' over-reaching grasps at wonder, Bono remains an uncharismatic performer, a great rock star by profession, not nature.

"Hello, we're called Radiohead," Thom Yorke announces earlier, for once with good reason. Their surprise slot on the obscure Park Stage leaves them almost invisible to much of a huge crowd, drawn by last minute rumours. Any thought of a repeat of their famous Glastonbury triumph in the days of OK Computer are quickly put away. Instead they play a low-key set largely drawn from their new album, King of Limbs. This suits a band who have turned their career down and inwards. They're more of a modern English jazz and funk outfit than stadium rockers now.

The relaxed place they've arrived at is shown in Yorke's voice. He once quivered with irritatingly affected angst. But on "Separator" he's an easygoing soul crooner, an Oxford Al Green. "Give Up The Ghost", begun as almost a capella two-part harmony, with just a soft pulse-beat of drums, is a humble prayer, the loveliest thing I've heard here so far. It's a surprise only Morrissey, whose simultaneous set on the main Pyramid Stage draws a noticeably thinned crowd, could begrudge.

Wu-Tang Clan are Friday's first real success. The old fuss about Jay-Z's headlining slot seems even more inexplicable as the crowd at the Pyramid Stage make the "W" sign for Staten Island's 1990s hip-hop rulers. They've fallen from their early heights, but this surprisingly happy, slick show compensates with understated funk, martial arts movie samples and eccentric clothing choices: Method Man greets Glastonbury in a white dressing gown. UK indie flavours of the moment the Vaccines, at the Other Stage at the same time, can't really compete.

BB King follows them. His supposed farewell European tour, as diabetes left him barely able to stand, was a few years back, and he seems set to continue to the end. It's true he can play anything on his legendary guitar Lucille and get a cheer. The first few jagged notes from this graceful man raise my spirits anyway.

As I approach Kentucky's Cage The Elephant, they're finishing a song which sounds like The Band playing "Love Will Tear Us Apart". Singer Matthew Shultz is soon channelling Jim Morrison's shaman moves, pulling his shirt round him like a straitjacket. His band sometimes roar in the style of Nirvana, but this spirited and second-hand concoction doesn't quite convince.

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all