Various Acts - ‘Glastonbury Anthems’ (EMI)

08 Apr 2005

semi-comprehensive highlights of the last decade of glasto's most memorable on-screen moments; release - '05.
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Various - 'Glastonbury Anthems'Glastonbury: home of pissed-up new age eccentrics, big hills, 'country smells' and the largest annual party in Europe. Its Festival has been a cultural institution since its modest unveiling in 1971. Since starting out as a free one-dayer and occurring in a field with a stage that resembled more of a shed without one of its walls, its days have flourished.

A DVD retrospective - 'Glastonbury Anthems' - of its more modern performances, in an era where it takes under three hours to sell out all of its 112,000 tickets, seems apt. At least if you can't actually attend, you can now see what the f**k you've been missing.

The answer is: a lot. Everyone's done a triumphant Glasto headline, it seems. This self-back-patting compilation takes in all of Radiohead, with their teary-eyed rendition of 'Karma Police' in '97's mud year, to Blur's defining second stage exertion of 'This Is A Low', just as the sun sets, to Paul McCartney's embarrassing pub piss-up wail-along of 'Hey Jude' from 2004. It's a guilty series of reminiscences, whether you were there, or idly tuning in at home.

Along the way, there's the indie thoroughfare and festie institutions... Supergrass with their pogo-friendly, if meaningless, 'Pumping On Your Stereo'; Ash and their jaunty take on grander goings-on in 'Shining Light'; The Levellers in their surprisingly infamous '94 slot, with the rousing bar-rock of 'One Way'; and even Elastica, when their 'Connection' caused ground tremors back in 1995, at the prime of the Britpop confusion...

And then there's the dance virtuosos, some of whom may well simply shove in their respective DATs, press play, and dress their stage-shows in loads of visuals and theatrics to avoid getting caught out... represented by... The Chemical Brothers' rampant, head-messing 'Hey Boy, Hey Girl'; Basement Jaxx's manic 'Good Luck', complete with guesting from The BellRays' Lisa Kekaula; The Prodigy (when they were vital) in 1997 with the hysterical 'Breathe'; Faithless with their standard build-up-then-insert-an-infectious-keyboard-hook-and-boom!-a-hit shtick via 'We Come 1' from a few years back; and bald lad Moby with 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?'.

Elsewhere, the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream, Coldplay, Placebo, the Manics and Travis provide some heavyweight back-up, even if one or two omissions wouldn't have been heart-breaking. Coupled with bonus-features, however - a quirky take on the festival by Air; a static, choice photo-gallery; footage of the first Glasto; an interview with festival founders Michael and the late Jean Eavis from '95; and a tour of the site's spiritual stoner haven, Greenfields - where 'Anthems' may have too liberally offered its title in part, it's made up for in sheer cut and paste and welly boots nostalgia. Glastonbury. It remains unrivalled. Here's some humble proof.

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