The 5 Best Glastonbury Performances Of The 21st Century

glastonbury pyramid stage

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1. David Bowie (2000)

David Bowie returned for his second and final performance in 2000 and it’s been hailed by Glastonbury Festival founder, Michael Eavis, as the “best ever moment”. Bowie was just 24 when he performed at the second Glastonbury festival in 1971 – for free in front of 6,000 hippies. Playing almost 30 years later in front of 100,000 fans, he performed his most famous hits including an encore of “Heroes”. His headline performance from 2000 will be screened at the festival this year.

2. Beyoncé (2011)

Beyoncé’s Sunday night performance at Glastonbury Festival in 2011 was the stuff of legends. She headlined the main Pyramid stage, making her one of only a few women to do so in the festival’s 40 year history. The R&B star performed her biggest hits in her 90 minute set, including a medley of Destiny’s Child songs and covers of Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire” and Etta James’ “At Last”. She pulled out all the stops with polished choreography and fireworks – and rightfully received rave reviews.

3. Rolling Stones (2013)

Expectations for the Rolling Stones headlining Glastonbury for the first time were massively high – and fortunately they didn’t disappoint drawing one of the biggest crowds to the Pyramid stage in the festival’s history. They wowed both old and young fans, as well as a host of celebrities watching (including Prince Harry!) with an impressive set list, pyrotechnics and a mechanical flaming phoenix that blew fire into the sky during “Sympathy For The Devil”.

4. Muse (2004)

Muse’s set in 2004 has been voted the greatest Glastonbury performance ever by NME readers, with lead singer, Matt Bellamy, commenting that it was “one of the best sets they ever played”. Dom Howard’s father tragically died of a heart attack backstage shortly after the band finished their set, making the night a particularly poignant moment in their career. They’ll be returning to the festival for the third time this year, headlining on the Friday night.

5. Jay-Z (2008)

When Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis signed Jay-Z to headline the festival, it caused shock and outrage for many – spearheaded by Oasis front man Noel Gallagher who thought he was an unsuitable booking. Jay hit back by opening his set with an acoustic cover of “Wonderwall”, and the set impressed most critics and fans.


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