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From TheGuardian, June 28, 2004:
[…] Devoid of such distractions, Paul McCartney looked surprisingly nervous. His between-song patter wobbled a tightrope between charming and excruciating. There was much talk of ley-lines and “vibes”. He displayed a worrying tendency to adopt a cod-Jamaican accent. It scarcely mattered: his back catalogue is unimpeachable, his voice fantastic.
As Hey Jude turned into an all-encompassing singalong the sense that the audience were part of a genuine event rather than mere spectators at a performance was impossible to ignore. It was a genuine Glastonbury moment. […]
From For Whom The Bell Tells, July 8, 2014:
As I watched this year’s Glastonbury Festival from the comfort of my sofa it got me thinking about Paul’s performance there in 2004. I can’t believe ten years has passed. For me personally Paul’s Glastonbury appearance will remain an absolute career high, as it was the first UK show that I was privileged to be part of the team on and it’s a performance that comes up in conversation on a regular basis with writers, friends and people in the industry. It really was one of those nights that created a legendary moment in the festival’s special history.
For Paul too it was undoubtedly a very special moment, unbelievably his first festival performance. I remember talking with him after the show and not knowing him very well at the time I was struck by his genuine enthusiasm and excitement about the day. Here was a guy, I thought, who wrote the rock rule book and has done everything but is still completely turned on by what he does. I remember asking him about how he’d prepared for this particular gig and he replied by saying he’d been preparing all his life for it – the results and reviews backed this up. Paul had broken box office records, set the world record for highest concert attendance, performed all over the world but still took nothing for granted about this particular engagement. The Guardian reported Paul’s show as “an all-encompassing sing-along with the sense that the audience were part of a genuine event rather than mere spectators.”
There had been rumours for years that Paul would headline Glastonbury, it was said that Michael Eavis had been after Paul for decades. So when Paul was finally announced as the 2004 Saturday headliner it actually felt like a surprise. Finally one of the longest courtships in music was to be consummated.
A few months later, speaking about the decision Paul said, “I’d had my eye on playing Glastonbury forever, because it’s an iconic festival, and if you play music that’s something you’ve got to look at. You think, ‘Oh it would be great to do Glastonbury!’ So many of my friends and so many people I know make the pilgrimage. But I’d been a little bit put off. I thought maybe it’s not my scene. What happened was somebody had been there one year, a couple of guys I knew, and I was like, ‘How was it?’ And they were saying, ‘Oh great, it’s cool, a great festival’. They said, ‘We were coming back at midnight from watching…’ whoever it was, it was a few years ago, I think it might have been Radiohead, ‘and all the people were sitting around their campfires singing Beatles songs.’ I went – ding! A little lightbulb went off. I said, ‘Well, I can do that!’ So I just thought, ‘It’s okay. I should do it.’ So I was up and running with my band – we were touring; we’d done Russia and a few places like that, so we were all fired up. I got the offer to do it. Michael Eavis said, ‘Do you want to do it this year?’ I said, ‘Yeah, go on!’ And it was great, man, really cool.”
On the day itself it had been raining hard with little sign of stopping. The adverse weather also meant that Paul’s arrival on site got held up too, which he confided afterwards helped with the nerves as it didn’t give him much time to think about the show before getting on stage. The conditions were tough even for the most ardent festival-goer. […]
“It was going to take something special after a Glastonbury day when the rain and grey skies had persisted for more than a dozen hours and every highway and byway had turned to a sticky brown adhesive. But special is what Sir Paul provided, in a performance that lifted the great festival from a wet Saturday evening and took it far beyond the height that Oasis had provided the night before. This was going to be a historical Glastonbury moment.”
Independent On Sunday – 27th June 2004
“The rock icon walked on stage to the loudest cheer of the festival and immediately launched into a string of familiar hits, ‘Good evening Glastonbury – it’s great to be here finally,’ he told the crowd. He may have been older than the average attendant but he showed in style that his appeal continues to bridge generations. The audience made up of old faithfuls, young converts sung along to many of the songs creating a warm atmosphere after a day of terrible weather.”
The Observer – 27th June 2004
As has become something of a phenomena with McCartney outdoor shows the rain stopped shortly after Paul took to the stage. The festival mood and spirit lifted higher and higher with each song performed. Along with Paul’s crew and 120,000 plus festival-goers I watched totally spellbound at the side of the stage.
“When he follows ‘Eleanor Rigby’ with ‘Drive My Car’ and then follows that with ‘Penny Lane’ and that with ‘Get Back’ and that with ‘Band On The Run’ and that with ‘Back In The USSR’ and – f*ck me! – that with ‘Live And Let Die’ (embellished with crowd lifting firework display), we are all aware that not only are we witnessing the greatest sequence of songs ever played in the fields of Avalon, but we are partaking in a little bit of history. This is a member of the greatest band in the world ever playing some of the greatest songs in the world ever. And it don’t get better than that. Even those of whose Glastos number in double figures have never seen, heard or felt the love like this crowd on this night, as we are taking ‘Hey Jude’ from Macca and baying it the darkness heavens. It’s one of those moments that everybody here will remember forever.”
NME, 3rd July 2004
“Paul McCartney put his younger rivals in the shade with a blazing set before 120,000 fans at Glastonbury. Paul McCartney headlined the mud-soaked festival with a stunning two-hour performance on the main stage on Saturday night.”
Daily Record, 28th June 2004
After the show we had drinks backstage with Paul to celebrate the evening which also marked the end of the 04 Summer Tour, which saw Paul play 14 huge outdoor shows across Europe. Needless to say spirits were high and all you could hear was the crowd still singing the famous ‘”Hey Jude” chant over and over again – literally for hours. I remember excitedly calling journalists and saying listen to this whilst holding my phone aloft. […]
Last updated on November 15, 2020
This was the 1st and only concert played at Glastonbury Festival.
Setlist for the concert