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The 50 best Glastonbury Festival performances ever

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38. English National Opera, Pyramid, 2004

Ninety-one musicians and 11 soloists woke late-sleepers on Sunday lunchtime, beneath gathering storm-clouds, by tearing into Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, encouraged by a muddy mass using rolled-up newspapers as horns.

37. Stormzy, Pyramid, 2019

Confronted with bucketloads of anticipation, grime’s biggest crossover success handled the challenge with aplomb, throwing Las Vegas levels of spectacle at it; fireworks from start to finish, ballet dancers, fellow MCs, and bangers from start to finish.

36. LCD Soundsystem, Other, 2016

The Brexit vote came through at this festival, and these reformed New York electro-rockers proved just the tonic. The crowd were howling along with the opening chorus, “It’s us versus them, over and over again”. It kick-started a dynamic, urgent, danceable set.

35. The Smiths, Pyramid, 1984

Glasto 1984 was still mostly about spliff-friendly acts such as Weather Report and John Martyn, so The Smiths’ arrival came as a shock. An enthused set-ending stage invasion during Hand in Glove sealed their place in festival lore.

34. The Who, Pyramid, 2007

It sounds odd now, but to follow Kaiser Chiefs, who had pulled an immense crowd, looked tricky for these rock veterans. Despite being lashed by the rain, they did it with aplomb, wrenching the guts from songs such as Won’t Get Fooled Again.



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