Friday night I spent a couple of hours stood in a field being rained on. It was amazing. It was fantastic. It was, for me, one of those moments that will never be forgotten. It was something I had waited a very long time for. The reason: just a short distance in front of me and several thousand others U2 were playing the Pyramid Stage of the Glastonbury Festival.
I know it’s rather unfashionable to be a U2 fan at the moment, what with the fuss over their tax status and their homeland’s current financial crisis, but nonetheless I am one, and have been for a long time. I’ve never been to see them live, because famously they don’t ‘do’ festivals and I don’t normally ‘do’ live music concerts since I’m not comfortable in big crowds. But this was different, this was Glastonbury. And you see, the Glastonbury Festival happens in my backyard. Well, ok, not quite my backyard, it’s Michael’s backyard really, but it happens in my village. As the crow flies the Pyramid Stage is less than a mile from my parents’ house. I once listened to the full set of a band playing the Pyramid Stage from the comfort of the back garden. So here was my all-time favourite band, playing in the village I call home. So often there have been rumours before the performers’ names were announced, suggesting U2 were going to play, then it would turn out they weren’t. Finally, for last year’s 40th Anniversary Festival, they were announced as playing. Then Bono suffered from a back injury and it was all off again. Then, despite comments that it was highly unlikely they would make an immediate return, it was announced they would be playing this year instead. Cue great excitement on my part!
I’ve read the reviews. I know that they’re mixed. One friend, who is also a long-time fan as well, reckoned the set and performance seemed “overblown”. Maybe, if I’d watched it on tv, or I hadn’t waited for so long, or if I wasn’t a resident of the village, I’d agree. I’ve seen Coldplay’s set on tv and it looked fantastic, even better than when I saw them at the Festival a few years back, and I can see how some people would view it as a better set. But…
It was U2, playing in a field less than a mile from the house I grew up in, and I was there, and I had waited a long time, and I am a villager. It was truly amazing. And the rain, and the logistics of being there Friday night and then being in London for a family wedding at lunchtime on Saturday, and the fact U2 aren’t quite so fashionable anymore, and that some people reckoned it wasn’t the best gig they’d ever seen don’t matter. Those things will never matter. I saw U2 play a gig in a field, on a farm, in a village I will always call home. On Friday night a dream came true. It was amazing!