Emotions on the morning of Friday 26 June were mixed, having switched onto BBC Radio 1 for a Glasto weather update, the mood was unusually sombre on the Chris Moyles show and there was a lot of discussion around Michael Jackson. When the words 'rest in peace' were uttered before playing Man in the Mirror it took a moment to sink in - Michael Jackson had died - and it was raining at Worthy Farm - not that these two facts were comparable by way of scale, but neither of which were things I had hoped to hear.
My pre-Glasto excitement has been dampened but with absolutely no disrespect to the solemn and sad day this was, last minute errands meant my mind was soon back on the task at hand - I was on the way to my first ever festival experience: Glastonbury 2009. I arrive at Paddington with 30 minutes until my train departs and I still need to get cash, phone credit, caffeine, wet wipes and to find Petra, a fellow festival virgin and my glasto buddy... Cue mad rush. Miraculously, I managed not to miss my train.
A train, shuttle bus and several hours later we found ourselves at Worthy Farm. Within 20 minutes of setting foot on the muddied site we had picked up our press wrist bands, pitched our tent and were down at the Pyramid stage to catch Regina Spektor's set. Charmingly gracious, Regina Spektor, sat at her piano with her lips stained a seriously sexy shade of red. She won the crowd over with her undeniably stirring vocals together with some impressive multi-tasking: one song saw her beating a drum while playing piano and singing. Regina closed her set with a playful rendition of Fidelity that had even the cider-lubricated lads singing along throughout the choruses. Regina's brand of quirky mellow pop proved a fitting start to my festival experience, next stop was to the press pen to pick up our passes.
After a somewhat irksome exchange with Glasto security (Us: is the press area this way? Him: Yes, but you need your passes. Us: we have our press wrist bands but we need to go pick up our passes, we've just arrived. Him: You can't come in without your pass. Us: ...but don't we need to pick up our passes from the press tent? Him: Oh... off you go then *ushers us in and points in general direction* Us: Thanks *stifled giggles*). Once we had our passes it was off to discover a bit more of the site before heading back to the Pyramid Stage for Lily Allen. A definite crowd puller: for the ladies it was all about the stream of pop hits and for the lads it was the sexy purple jumpsuit. The highlight of the set had to be Lily's dedicating Fuck You to the BNP, and presumably, those who voted them in; not a BNP supporter in sight, or so it seemed as the crowd went wild and sang along to the tune. Lily's set was nothing mind-blowing and presented nothing unexpected but she did was she does well and it made for the perfect afternoon sing-a-long session as the glasto crowd warmed up for an evening of difficult choices (Neil Young, The Specials, Lady Gaga, Bloc Party, The Streets, Jamie T?!).
Petra and I opted for Lady Gaga and Neil Young to round out our first day of Glasto. Lady Gaga made the Other Stage her theatre: warming up her crowd with a clip entitled 'Candy Warhol' before taking to the stage in what was the first of 5 bizarrely extravagant costumes, proving Glasto is absolutely as much about the fashion as the music. Opening with Paparazzi, she had her crowd captive from the moment she took to the stage. The highlight of Lady Gaga's set has to have been her extended rendition of Poker Face that begun with a stripped back version of the song, Lady Gaga on piano, proving she was more than just a pretty young thing in wacky outfits but at the same time leaving the crowd slightly anxious (Is this it? Isn't she going to do the version we know & love?!). Not one to disappoint, Lady Gaga burst into the radio release version of Poker Face that we all know and love before bidding the crowd farewell. This high-energy set was pop at it's most excessively fabulous and on this poptastic note it was onto another brand of music entirely: Neil Young was topping the Friday bill over on the Pyramid stage.
Neil Young took to the stage in a black tshirt adorned with the Aboriginal flag and proved he still packs a punch and pulls a massive adoring crowd. An undeniable highlight of this years festival for so many, this music veteran and Glasto first-timer had the crowd rocking along with a stellar set list. As Friday drew to a close, Neil Young suitably had the crowd shouting along to Rocking In The Free World, proving his stamina and leaving the crowd cheering for more even after all those additional choruses. An encore cover of the Beatles A Day in the Life and it was time for Young to go, having managed to break most every string on his guitar. Legendary.