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U2 play Glastonbury Festival

U2
U2 Image credit: http://musicscene.ie

There’s a stash of cash in a Netherlands bank account under the names of four Irish musicians...

Mr. Clayton, Mr. Mullen, Mr. Howell Evans and a bloke called Paul Hewson. The latter two are now formally known as their stage names. Evans, who is rarely seen without his beanie hat goes under the name of The Edge and Hewson, who is never seen without a pair of sunglasses is known as Bono AKA as probably the most famous musician in the world today. 

Before we venture into their jaw dropping performance last Friday night at Glastonbury Festival let’s get the white elephant in the farm out of the way and revert back to the financial situation. A few years ago whilst Bono was telling the world to support worthwhile causes the front man was accused by some as being a hypocrite putting money into a Swiss bank account to avoid paying taxes. Despite his monumental achievements and his inspiring work supporting third world countries some people felt antagonised by his money fixtures, especially an anti-capitalist group called Art Uncut who had nothing better to do then to stand in a muddy wet field all day and blow up a rather pathetic inflatable which resembled an enlarged condom which read “U Pay Your Tax 2” throughout the first couple of tracks...’Even Better Than The Real Thing’ and ‘The Fly’. The 20-foot balloon vanished ‘in mysterious ways’ a few minutes later (when security tracked the culprits down and deflated the offending article)

With politics out of the way it’s time to focus on the music itself and the following ninety minutes brought out the metaphoric sunshine on this cold and rainy Friday night which U2 fans had been patiently waiting for ever since Hewson, sorry Bono hurt his back last year; Forcing the band to pull out of the festival in 2010. 

Throughout this tour Bono has magpied various snippets from classic songs and embedded them into the bands own. For example, we had a few lyrics from The Beatles, ‘She Loves You’ blended in with ‘Get On Your Boots’, New Order’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ thrown in with ‘With Or Without You’ and the Sex Pistol’s ‘Pretty Vacant’ mashed through the final song, ‘Out Of Control’

With the band being as topical as ever tracks were borrowed from other bands playing the festival over the weekend. References to both Saturday and Sunday headliners were found nested between ‘Moment of Surrender’ (Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’) and ‘Mysterious Ways (Beyonce/ Destiny’s Child’s ‘Independent Woman’). There was also a cheeky snippet of Primal Scream’s ‘Movin’ On Up’ gate- crashing the lyrics to ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ for those who made the tough decision to choose between the Irish lads and Bobby Gillespie’s crew who were s simultaneously playing on the Other Stage; presumably playing to the small gathering of the Art Uncut fan club! 

The band may not have had a bloody giant claw above their heads, which has been travelling around the world with them on the current tour, but the lads had a few extra gimmicks up their sleeves for their first festival appearance which included a satellite link up to the International Space Station.

Of course a U2 set wouldn’t be a U2 without a few world messages which came in the form of film footage from the Middle East protests to accompany ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and a few words from Bono, this time trying to tie-in with the spiritual aspect of the festival itself, although quotes such as "Could be the leylines. Could be the jetlag. But it's a very special feeling being here"; didn’t really make that much of an impact to the crowd who just wanted to hear the music.

Aside from the banter, the tax invasion and the mud U2 gave an incredible performance and with no Glastonbury until 2013 those who were there will not forget their magnificent set. The only criticism we have is that we were surprised they didn’t include ‘Glastonbury’, a song they penned after missing last year’s festival – surely they should have opened with that?

Disabled Access was very good at the festival. There were viewing platforms at most of the stages, although The Park sill hasn’t got sustainable accessible for guests with special needs. The car park was very well secured and the bus shuttle escorting guests to the campsite ran frequently with professional volunteers. The campsite itself was situated in reasonable walking distance to the Pyramid stage and disabled guests were given privileged access to travel between both of the main stages. Given the sheer size of the festival there’s always room for improvement, but the access which was available met the needs of those who required it. There’s also speculation the viewing platforms may be moved closer to the two main stages in 2013.