Published Jun 27, 2011
Despite all of those Glastonbury spirits, Peter Venkman et al. were conspicuously absent from the festival. Sure, the occasional Ghostbusters T-shirt stood out from the crowd -- I spotted two -- but the apropos fashion did little good until TV on the Radio showed up.
In a sweltering Other Stage appearance, the Brooklyn art rock luminaries mixed harmony-laden slow-burners ("Province") with energetic pounders ("Dancing Choose"). Throughout, singer Tunde Adebimpe bounced his dynamic vocals off of guitarist Kyp Malone's ethereal lilt, all the while bounding across the stage and imploring the sweaty crowd to move.
Meanwhile, sound manipulator Dave Sitek kept his chimes from sliding from his guitar, giving an assist to the crack rhythm section. And then the band closed with an, um, spirited rendition of "Ghostbusters," which, naturally, killed.
Unfortunately, not everyone had such a smooth final day. Over on the John Peel Stage, Swedish dance pop star Robyn hit an immediate snag. Prancing out spastically, her malfunctioning earpiece called for repeated sound-tech visits, culminating in her screaming into the wings, ripping off her jacket and throwing down her mic stand.
Undeterred, her band kept things moving while her cranked-up backing track did all of the vocal work. Resorting to dance karaoke, she thrashed angrily for the first couple of songs. Evidently, tech issues were eventually rectified, but the douche-chill damage had been done.
Pyramid Stage headliner Beyoncé fared better. Competing with Queens of the Stone Age, the Streets, Gruff Rhys and Kool and the Gang -- who closed other main stages -- the pop star drew a massive audience, speaking to the festival's trademark eclecticism.
In the lead-up to her gig, rumours of myriad guest stars -- from Kanye West and Chris Martin to Bono and former Destiny's Child members -- ran rampant. In the end, only an unseen Jay-Z and a largely unheard and unnecessary Tricky showed up.
Nevertheless, with a bevy of crowd-friendly hits, the eager-to-please singer and her band were well equipped to placate a diverse audience. Playing big versions of radio cuts ("Irreplaceable," "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," Crazy in Love," "Halo," etc.) and a smattering of covers ("At Last") and snippets of covers ("You Oughta Know," "Sex on Fire") -- few of which had anything on Ray Parker Jr. -- it was a grand albeit relatively brief spectacle.