If Friday was the day that Glastonbury 2014 sparked and fizzed to a solid opening, then Saturday was the day that Worthy Farm struggled to dry out from the subsequent deluge, offered a daytime line-up that tried hard but failed to excite, before finally handing proceedings over to rock in the evening.
It started well at the Pyramid stage where Nick Mulvey opened with a sweet set, the ideal remedy for the bleary-eyed campers, who had trudged through the mud to see him. And mud there was; in vast quantities. Thankfully not enough to dampen the trademark positive Glastonbury spirit, but enough for many to ask the question, why has the English language only got one word to describe the huge varieties of the slippery brown stuff?
The afternoon saw then best of the action on the Other Stage where Kelis, Warpaint and Kodaline all impressed during windows of drizzle and sunshine. But some of the best “Glastonbury moments” where to be found further afield, including at the John Peel Tent where hectic Brighton duo Royal Blood staked an early claim on 'festival highlight' status with a frantically aggressive rock-metal set.
Elsewhere though the complaint that Saturday line-up was disappointing was widely heard. Perhaps explaining why the site seemed to convulse with rumours upon rumours about secret gigs. And just like last year, it spread like anti-bacterial hand wash at a Glastonbury long drop that Prince would appear, though at the time of writing he had yet to be even spotted on site.
And as festivalgoers prepared for a night of rock from Robert Plant, Jack White and of course Metallica, it was down to Lana Del Ray to fill the late afternoon slot on the Pyramid Stage. She drew a big crowd, but it started growing smaller well before thunder roared and rain dumped down.
Sadly the singer, who smoked a cigarette on stage, was a big disappointment, even to some or her loyal fans. Her usual stand-out track “Blue Jeans” failed to muster a reaction with hard-to-define vocals and lacklustre delivery, while new track “Ultraviolence” went largely unnoticed by a distracted crowd.
Thankfully Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, who was up next, knew how to work the crowd into a fit state for the hour. Starting after the deluge, and before Jack White came on stage, he got huge cheers for an extended “Whole Lot of Love”, thrusting backwards and forward with microphone stand in hand.
The crowd wasn’t the biggest of the day, but Plant worked them like the seasoned professional he is. An encore of “Rock and Roll” delighted the gathering fans at the Pyramid Stage who found a big act worth putting their hands in the air for.
Meanwhile on the Other Stage it was the duty of Imagine Dragons to up the pace, which they did with a mud battle in front of their stage, leaving them covered in ooze, presumably in sympathy with their fans.
The following set, compared to the slow start to the day, was a delight with a huge drum component, sticks flying and a fearsome guitars. In was “Radioactive” that really a sort of trance-like communal act of swaying worship. The older rocker and the dragons both knew what needed to be done, and just as Saturday was looking to be a lacklustre affair, they pulled it out of the bag.
Soon after Jacked White opened his set on the Pyramid Stage with two White Stripes numbers to keep the crowd warm, before meandering into a country-music style interlude and then a self-indulgent rock out. It was as if he was trying to be all things to all 200,000 Glastonbury festivalgoers. He didn't do badly at all, but it seemed the bigger turnout was at the other side of the site for the Manic Street Preachers, playing in the 20th year since they first performed at Worthy Farm.
The crowd was muddier, the field more mushy and the sing-along volume far higher, as they toured right through their back catalogue, sprinkling in tracks from new European-influenced album Futurology.
It was all expertly done – they've had plenty of practice – leaving thousands whistling “A Design for Life”, which was dedicated to bandmate Richey Edwards, who disappeared without a trace in 1996. It was a touching tribute and left the crowd whistling the tune into the night, with the Pixies, Jake Bugg and Metallica still to play.
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