Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters has kicked off the sixth season of the British Summertime Festival.
What followed was an epic 21 track performance spanning many Pink Floyd albums with classics such as “Breathe”, “Us & Them”, “Time” and “Wish You Were Here” – resulting in a deafening cheer of approval from the audience, as well as several tracks from Waters’ solo record Is This The Life We Really Want.
A very clear political voice drummed throughout,seen during the performance of “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2”, with school children from the Grenfell community (specifically The Rugby Portobello Trust) taking to the stage dressed in Guantanamo Bay prisoner boiler suits, with t-shirts bearing the one word – ‘RESIST’.
This theme continued following the interlude. With Waters’ grandiose visuals projected on screens out from the stage, a series of images and quotes from President Donald Trump flashed across screen during “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”, ending on the defiant statement, ‘TRUMP IS A PIG’. Also appearing was an inflatable pig parading through the crowd, Battersea Power Station chimneys extending above the stage, and even a ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ prism created from lasers.
Waters captured the essence of the set with his closing speech.“All of us here in this beautiful planet deserve equal human and civil rights. And these rights are irrespective of ethnicity or religion, so they would extend to my brothers and sisters in Palestine. That’s all I have to say.”
The show ended with a stupendous rendition ofThe Wall classic “Comfortably Numb”and a firework display.
The excitement for Waters was fuelled by Richard Ashcroft’s vintage performance taking place beforehand on the Great Oak Stage – featuring hits such as “Break The Night With Colour” from his 2006 album Keys To The World, and “This Is How It Feels”from2016’s These People.
The former Verve frontman, sporting an impressive mirrorball jacket, offered a timely reminder of why he remains one of Manchester’s finest musical exports, and his sun-kissed closing rendition of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” will go down as one of the opening day’s most iconicmoments.
Before Ashcroft was everybody’s favourite bearded blues singer, Seasick Steve – the opening act on the Great Oak Stage. Steve delivered a crowd pleasing set with hits such as ‘Barracuda ‘68’ and ‘Summertime Boy’, even offering a glimpse into his anticipated forthcoming album.
In between swigs of wine, Steve charmed the audience, also emphatically thanking the UK for helping his career. “The people in the UK gave me this beautiful job. I’ll never forget that and I’ll always be grateful.”
Opening the Barclaycard Stage was London-based band ALLTHINGSMATA, treating the early festival goers with a headstrong rock-tinted set. Also performing was singer-songwriter Robert Vincent, rockers Slydigs and the all-conquering Squeeze – who commanded the packed crowd with their iconic back catalogue of songs.
The aptly named Summer Stage welcomed a host of talent, from the genre-hopping CC Smugglers to Colin Macleod– who treated the packed crowd to a number of tracks off his well-received debut album Bloodlines.
The Friday lineup attracted stars in their droves, including Richard Gere, Damian Lewis, Kate Moss, Liv Tyler, Helen McCrory, Sadie Frost, Simon Cowell, Jeremy Clarkson and Michael Kiwanuka
Tomorrow welcomes The Cure’s in demand 40thanniversary celebration, also starring Interpol, Editors, Goldfrapp and many more. Closing the first weekend on Sunday will be the truly legendary Eric Clapton.