The silent $2bn guitar still manages to rock Glastonbury.
As Robbie Williams once proved in 1998, to make a festival your own, all you need is a great song, a great band and a good helping of stage presence. Fast forward fifteen years and a man synonymous with the word ‘disco’ takes to one of Glastonbury’s many stages with a similar agenda – to own the audience. And own it Nile Rodgers did.
Robbie, arguably, had one song he could rely on – Angels. Rodgers? He rolled out more than fifteen timeless classics and, in a set nowhere near as hyped as the Rolling Stone’s appearance the following night, had the audience in the palm of his hand, jumping, nodding and clapping to every perfectly-timed kick drum.
Hosting an event the size and scale of Glastonbury is a feat in itself, but it would be nothing without the bands headlining and supporting each stage. Rodgers, who has recently been quite rightly thrust into the public spotlight with his contribution to Daft Punk’s seminal ‘Get Lucky’, was a clever inclusion in the weekend’s running order. Both he and his superb band effortlessly reproduced the dance floor classics which themselves have seen plenty of reproduction across the years, being some of the most samples records ever to hit vinyl. Certainly, Daft Punk’s efforts to reintroduce disco to the masses were continued in an unrelenting fashion on the West Holts stage on Friday.
Not wishing to douse the party in an unfair sprinkling of criticism, something unfortunately couldn’t be ignored during Chic’s set. If there’s one thing you want to cut through during such a performance, it is Nile’ guitar. Dubbed the ‘$2billion guitar’, it has appeared on virtually every record on which he has sprinkled his production magic. His addictive, foot-tapping choppy chord inversions are as much a part of the guitar as its strings. How odd, then, that we should be unable to hear it for the first three songs of his performance at Glastonbury…
As a technician rushed over to Rodger’s amp and hastily switched microphones, it became quickly clear that the technical fault was a little more than simply a fader riding too low. This kind of thing happens at big events – it is completely unavoidable, but it does go to show how important good live sound is. It is doubtful the thousands bouncing up and down to I Want Your Love and Everybody Dance even noticed but it’s difficult not to when you’re passionate about live sound.
So, we’ll amend our opening to this blog… all you need to make a festival your own is an awesome, disco-fuelled setlist, a guy with a Fender Stratocaster which is as famous as its owner, a big helping of stage presence and reliable gear!