The tents are packed up and most of the 140,000 music lovers have made their weary way home, but memories of this year’s Glastonbury festival, and its headline act Jay-Z, are likely to linger.
The choice of the rapper to perform on the main stage at a festival best known for its guitar-based rock acts was widely criticized, and Oasis’s Noel Gallagher riled the musician by saying the organizers were wrong to pick him.
Jay-Z’s response was emphatic.
He opened his show with a film using Gallagher’s now infamous comments and a montage of clips parodying him, before launching into an acoustic rendition of one of Oasis’s biggest hits: “Wonderwall.” Most fans and critics were impressed.
“His performance will go down in Glastonbury history,” wrote the Independent in a Monday review of the festival.
Rather than being booed off stage as some predicted, “both audience and artist rose to the occasion and turned in a moment of real, euphoric, pop-culture history,” added the Times.
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The Guardian concluded: “It’s brilliantly staged, utterly thrilling and it makes Gallagher look a bit of a berk.”
The Daily Mirror tabloid, however, described his performance as dull.
“I felt seriously short-changed as I walked away from this performance,” it said.
Winehouse less convincingWhile there was plenty of praise for Jay-Z, Britain’s soul singer Amy Winehouse was less convincing with what many felt was a shambolic set.
The eagerly anticipated appearance by the 24-year-old shortly after she was diagnosed as having a “touch of” lung condition emphysema failed to live up to the hype, said 19-year-old festival-goer and fan Heidi Cook.
“I saw her last year at Glastonbury and she was out of it but she sang well, but this time she was awful.”
Winehouse, sporting her trademark towering black beehive hair, did earn plaudits for turning up in the first place after being a major doubt for Glastonbury.
The singer, who won five Grammys in February, has been fighting drug addiction, was in hospital just before her performance and her husband is expected to be sentenced soon after pleading guilty to attacking a pub landlord in 2006.
Winehouse paid tribute to Blake Fielder-Civil but criticized her father, who announced in a recent newspaper interview that she was suffering from emphysema.
Hundreds of other acts took the stage over the three-day event held on a dairy farm in southwest England, including Gossip and veterans Jimmy Cliff, Neil Diamond and Leonard Cohen.
Organizers struggled to sell all of the tickets to this year’s event unlike sellouts of recent years, but Jay-Z and the rest of the cast earned Glastonbury high marks.
“Suddenly, a festival whose very future seemed pretty bleak 24 hours ago feels like a triumph,” said the Guardian.
Even the weather complied. Renowned for annual downpours and knee-deep mudbaths, there was more sunshine than rain.