Dave Grohl has joined Paul McCartney on stage at Glastonbury, in his first public performance since the death of Foo Fighters’ drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Grohl was given a hero’s welcome as he strode onto the Pyramid Stage to duet with McCartney on a gritty garage rock version of I Saw Her Standing There.
“This guy flew in specially to do this,” McCartney said. “We love you,”
“I swear, I would never miss being right here with you, right now,” Grohl replied.
Not content with one surprise, McCartney then brought out Bruce Springsteen to play Glory Days and I Wanna Be Your Man.
The New Jersey rocker also acknowledged McCartney’s 80th birthday, which took place last week, wishing him “another glorious 80 years”.
Earlier, fans had broken into a spontaneous rendition of Happy Birthday for the former Beatle, after he paused to say hello at the start of his set,
— Mark Savage (@mrdiscopop) June 25, 2022
“For me?” he asked, temporarily stopped in his tracks,
Saturday’s headline performance was one of the most-anticipated Glastonbury sets in years, with diehard fans staking out a front-row place more than 12 hours before the star was due to play.
By the time he took to the stage at 21:30, the crowd stretched as far as the eye could see, creating what could be the festival’s biggest audience since Dolly Parton in 2014.
They were rewarded with a marathon 2 hour 50 minute set that spanned his six-decade career. He opened with The Beatles’ classic Can’t Buy Me Love (itself 58 years old) and continued with the Wings’ hit Junior’s Farm – a cheeky nod to the Eavis family, who host Glastonbury on their Somerset farm each year.
“Oh, man it’s so good to be here. We were supposed to be doing this three years ago,” said McCartney, referring to his Covid-cancelled performance in 2020.
“But here we are. We’ve got some old songs for you, we’ve got some new song and we’ve got some in-betweeners… and I got a feeling we’re going to have a great time.”
The setlist featured some of rock’s most seminal songs, including Love Me Do and Lady Madonna; Wings classics like Band On The Run; and more recent solo material like the rambunctious Come On To Me.
McCartney dedicated the Sinatra-style ballad My Valentine to his wife Nancy Shevell, and played Something on a ukulele given to him by its songwriter, George Harrison.
Later, he duetted with the late John Lennon, whose vocals for I’ve Got A Feeling had been isolated from The Beatles rooftop concert in 1969.
“That is so special for me,” said McCartney. “I know it’s virtual, but there I am singing with John again. We’re back together.”
In total, he played 36 songs, their deep-grained familiarity resulting in some awe-inspiring moments of audience participation: “See how they run”, or “you got to give the other fella hell” and, of course, “na na na na na na naaaaa…, Hey Jude” – a refrain that rang around the field for a full 4 minutes and 40 seconds.
Other choices felt more personal, like In Spite Of All The Danger by the Quarrymen, his pre-Beatles band with Lennon and Harrison alongside John Lowe and Colin Hanton
The star acknowledged that some of the lesser-known tracks would throw casual fans.
“We know the songs you like,” he said, “’cause when we play a Beatles song the place lights up with phones like the galaxy. And when we play something new, its like a black hole. But we don’t care. We’re going to play them anyway.”
Still, the last half hour prompted enough phone lights to be seen from space: Get Back, I Saw Her Standing There, Band On The Run, Hey Jude, Helter Skelter and Live And Let Die (punctuated by an insane amount of fireworks).
Grohl and Springsteen joined him again for the final song, an extended guitar jam to The End, the penultimate track on Abbey Road, before McCartney left to rapturous applause.
For anyone else, it would have been a career-defining show – but when you’re responsible for shaping the entire sound, style and trajectory of rock music, the bar is set a little higher.
It’s probably still in his top 10, though.
Saturday’s Glastonbury line-up also included performances from Noel Gallagher, Ghetts, Yungblud and US rapper Megan Thee Stallion.
Pop star Olivia Rodrigo drew an immense crowd to her early evening set at The Other Stage, with the audience apparently comprising every teenager at the festival.
“I’ve never seen so many people in my life,” she exclaimed. “I’m so nervous.”
But that didn’t last long.
The audience sang along so forcefully to her signature hit Drivers License that Rodrigo stopped singing and conducted their performance from behind her beautiful mirrorball baby grand piano.
Her all-female band added some stadium-sized heft to the ballad, without losing sight of its core emotion – creating one of the weekend’s biggest highlights so far.
Also impressive were LA sister act Haim, who prowled the Pyramid Stage like three musical Cleopatras, playing the heart out of songs like Now I’m In It, The Steps and Gasoline.
During their set, bassist and singer Este Haim recalled the band’s Glastonbury debut 10 years ago, when she had passed out on stage due to type 1 diabetes.
There was no such issue this time as the band – watched by Stella McCartney, Jude Apatow, Melanie C and Kate Hudson – powered through their percussive, riff-laden singles.
Este explained why after they came off stage,
“My sisters made sure I ate this morning,” she told BBC News.
“I ordered her breakfast,” added her younger sibling Danielle.
“Don’t you love sisters?” Este chipped in, “The joys and the trials and the tribulations.”
On The Other Stage, former Glastonbury headliners Skunk Anansie gave one of the day’s loudest and most raucous performances.
Frontwoman Skin sported an impressive, inflatable punk hairdo, which stayed intact even after she jumped into the audience.
Less fortunate were alt-pop band Easy Life, whose frontman Murray Matravers was dropped onto his head after attempting to crowdsurf at the Pyramid Stage.
“I was surprised, they dropped me pretty hard” he told the BBC afterwards. “But rest assured, it’s not my first time.
“It was fine. I prefer it more when it’s like that because it adds to the drama and the chaos.”
Megan Thee Stallion promised and delivered “a good-ass time” on The Other Stage, where she was programmed against McCartney’s set.
Flanked by dancers, she writhed and twerked and worked the crowd into a frenzy with the pulsing bass of hits like WAP and Body.
Like many US performers this weekend, she also brought up the US Supreme Court decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.
“You know I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say something about these stupid ass men,” the rapper declared.
“Texas really embarrassing me right now, y’all. The hot girls and hot boys do not support this shit. My body, my [expletive] choice!”
Other highlights of the second day included rock upstart Yungblud joining Squeeze songwriter Chris Difford on the acoustic stage for a surprise rendition of Up The Junction.
“This is definitely one of my Desert Island Discs,” said the singer, who plays his own set on the John Peel stage later.
Elsewhere, rapper AJ Tracey made an impassioned speech about the Grenfell Tower disaster; and climate activist Greta Thunberg, addressed festivalgoers on the need for action to prevent climate catastrophe.
The festival wraps up on Sunday with sets from Pet Shop Boys, Lorde, Charli XCX, Elbow and headliner Kendrick Lamar.