Glastonbury 2017 Day 3 Highlights: Ed Sheeran, Chic, Barry Gibb & More
Ed Sheeran brought Glastonbury Festival 2017 to a celebratory close on Sunday evening (June 25), overcoming what he described as a bout of last minute nerves to delight fans with a crowd-pleasing selection of his many hits.
Drawing a huge and noticeably younger audience to the Pyramid Stage than the weekend’s other headliners, Radiohead and Foo Fighters, the 26-year-old said he was “very nervous, but very excited to be here” before beginning a rousing and hard-to-dislike two-hour set, which in many ways -- a singer with just an acoustic guitar for company -- harked back to Glastonbury’s hippy and folk music roots.
Of course, Sheeran had his vast array of loop pedals and FX to call upon throughout the night, along with some dazzling visuals, but many of the set’s most moving moments -- “Photograph,” “Sing,” “The A Team” -- were composed of just his voice, a strummed guitar and the sound of thousands of his fans bellowing out the words at the tops of their lungs.
“The aim of the game tonight is to lose our voices. Not just through singing, but through screaming,” Sheeran -- wearing a trademark red and black checked shirt and black jeans -- told the crowd, adding that in the unlikely event that they don’t know the words they should just “make them up.”
In the end, the crowd needed little encouragement to enthusiastically sing along to practically every song Sheeran played, lending Worthy Farm a cosy communal vibe that went some way to winning over critics of the singer’s catchy, if often cloying, folk pop, with a boisterous opening run through ““Castle On The Hill,” urgent “Bloodstream” and joyful “Shape Of You” among the standout moments.
Seemingly acknowledging his detractors, Sheeran introduced “Galway Girl,” from this year’s Divide album, by stating, “I’m going to play a song that you might not like, but I’m pretty sure you know the words to.”
A rendition of “Nancy Mulligan” later saw the singer joined by a five-piece traditional Irish band -- the singer’s one and only guest, putting pay to entirely unsubstantiated rumors that everyone from Taylor Swift to Stormzy would be joining Sheeran for his first ever Glastonbury headline slot.
“I wasn’t going to end with this song,” he said introducing an extended climatic version of 2011’s “You Don’t Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” which he told the audience he wrote when he was 15 years old and “probably should stop playing now, but I kind of want to give it a chance tonight.”
Preceding Sheeran on the sun-kissed main Pyramid Stage for Glastonbury’s third and final day was Chic, who delivered an equally crowd-pleasing set of sublime disco funk classics (“We Are Family,” “Le Freak,” “Get Lucky,” “Let’s Dance”) led by the irrepressible Nile Rodgers, who told the crowd that prior to traveling to the festival he’d been volunteering at the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.
“I never saw such spirit like I saw among those volunteers. It was unreal, man,” recalled a clearly-moved Rodgers, who said he’d been packing and shipping clothing as part of the volunteer effort. “I saw a bunch of people who were full of love and filled with hope,” he said paying testament to victims and the resilient British spirit, which “brought a tear to my eye.”
Earlier in the day, Laura Marling soothed sore heads with a delightful selection of pastoral folk, while Barry Gibb made the Sunday afternoon legends slot -- which has previously featured performances from Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and E.L.O., among numerous others -- his own, with a hugely enjoyable set spanning the Bee Gees catalog.
“Thank you for the experience of a life time,” said the veteran singer, who was regularly serenaded by loud chants of his name from the crowd, many of whom dressed in '70s-style fancy dress for the occasion, with one throwing him a gold lame jacket to wear for the show's close.
Highlights of his hit filled set included “Nights On Broadway,” “Tragedy,” “Jive Talkin’” and a resplendent “Stayin’ Alive,” with the latter accompanied by a choreographed dance routine by the festival security stewards.
Sunday afternoon also saw the Killers perform an unlisted "secret" set, which packed out the John Peel Stage long before they arrived onstage and generated some of the weekend’s loudest singalong moments.