Glastonbury 2022: the view from the armchair

Glastonbury 2022: the view from the armchair

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Friday, 22nd July 2022
The Pyramid Stage (credit: BBC)

Praise be to the BBC for saving us ticketless souls from the Glasto FOMO.

This year, its coverage was more extensive than ever before with over 45 hours of programming, turning the 50th anniversary of the festival into a national armchair event especially welcome in this World Cup-less summer.

So whether you missed out or you want to relive the weekend, here are five performances from the hallowed farm that we reckon are worthy of a watch on iPlayer.


Idles’ historic first Glastonbury gig in 2019 ended in tears. Tears of joy, that is, as the appearance marked a monumental milestone for a band that had been grinding for 10 years. So emotional was lead singer Joe Talbot during their pro-immigration, fan-favourite anthem Danny Nedelko, that his wife – carrying their child - had to rush on stage to comfort him.

Three years later and the Bristolian post-punk agents of chaos are back orchestrating bedlam. One song in and Talbot’s already barking orders to the crowd to divide tens of rows back for the beginning of an hour long mosh pit. Because what is an Idles gig if not a healthy, violent purge of pent up rage?

Although, of course, when watching from home you may have to restrain yourself from smashing up your front room.

Sam Fender

Heralded as the Geordie Bruce Springsteen, Sam Fender’s anthems are like direct dopamine hits to the veins, his sound of resolute optimism giving you literal chills. Plonk him on the Pyramid Stage and amplify that sound for 100,000 people or more (plus however many thousands of us were watching along at home) and the result is a long overdue, multi-generational, mass catharsis.

With his uplifting lilt bolstered by his band’s jangling guitars and soaring saxophone solos, he seemed to pull the setting sun back through the clouds. Not to mention all the singalong-worthy “woah oh ohs”, which, when they drop his barnstorming single Seventeen Going Under, the crowd continue chanting long after the song ends, and Fender can’t help but laugh and join in.

Confidence Man

As soon as Sugar Bones and Janet Planet of Confidence Man shuffled on stage, shrugging the motorised shoulders of their oversized suits to the opening bars of Toy Boy as their fully veiled bandmates played them in from behind, you knew you were in for a fun hour. Their dance-pop is unapologetically bubblegum and they belted it out with gothic deadpan, breathless choreography and what must have been the weekend’s record number of costume changes.

So breakneck are their moves that 50 minutes in you can see Bones wander to the back of the stage to attend to a nose bleed. Then, as he passes Planet on his way back to the front, a beat rings out as she mock-clocks him in the jaw and blood splatters the front row.

Whether the nose bleed itself was choreographed is TBC but it did prove that Confidence Man will give literal blood, sweat and tears to keep the good times rolling.

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar entered the Pyramid Stage shrouded by smoke and similarly clad backup dancers, their moves almost militaristic as he takes a seat facing a mirror wearing a diamond-encrusted crown of thorns. As they disperse and he’s revealed, he peels himself away and approaches the microphone to deliver the soul-bearing sermon of United In Grief.

It was a sombre opening note, and the rest of the set was just as conceptually choreographed, but he then launched into m.A.A.d city to begin a banging trip down memory lane through his three undeniable hip hop classics, from Good Kid, M.A.A.D City to To Pimp a Butterfly and DAMN, interspersed with other standouts from his long-awaited latest, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. True to form, he makes you think but he also starts the party.

These days the multi-platinum, Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper cuts an almost messianic figure, and perhaps wary of the idolatry that has stricken several of his counterparts with god complexes, he ended his encore with Savior, a stark warning against it. The searing image of blood dripping from his crown branded the message clear for all to remember: “Kendrick made you think about it, but he is not your savior.”

Self Esteem

In an entrance worthy of a new national pop heroine, Rebecca Lucy Taylor came on stage to the drums of I’m Fine in a conical corset and cape combo modelled on her hometown of Sheffield’s shopping centre, Meadowhall. A black backdrop was branded with the moral of the song in all white caps: “There is nothing that terrifies a man more than a woman who is completely deranged.”

It set the scene for a bold, defiant and rallying performance, and it was all of those things, but as she roared her rousing anthems and danced club-ready routines with her tight-knit back-up band, full on embracing them come some of the songs’ ends, it felt like a girls’ night out in all its glory.

She can perform live as well as any popstar, but what sets her apart on stage is that she is so completely herself. There were many times she just couldn’t contain her joy: blurting out “I feel like Robbie Williams!” and missing cues to take in the thundering ovations. And in what might have been the most emotional closer of the weekend, she pours her heart and soul into the life-affirming lead single I Do This All The Time.

Visibly choking up, she cries out: “all the days that you get to have are big!” Which may be so, but they don’t get much bigger than this.

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Praise be to the BBC for saving us ticketless souls from the Glasto FOMO.