“It has been a long time coming, Glastonbury.” Lionel yells, “Welcome to the party!” before launching into ‘Penny Lover’.
He begins with all that you’d expect from an old pro like this: gliding both around the stage and his vocal range with little effort. It has the feel of a polished set, with only subtle improvisations playing out, sometimes in the form of a doo-wap solo or an extra bar here and there. The crowd are humungous, drawving the impressive platoon who followed Pharrell and creating a mini-city, with its own micro-climate and odour.
However, as the afternoon progresses and ‘Stuck On You’, ‘My Destiny’ and more follow.he seems more and more enamoured by his followers, sipping his drink and subsequently joining in on the fun and downing it. Subscribing to traditions a step further and talking weather (when in Rome..), he speaks of how he was expecting rain and mud, but there was just mud.
It is, however, in the final movement of his set when he really begins to elevate to another level. The crowd respond and do the same. Lionel is left pacing around the stage, saying ‘Wow.’ over and over again. Before yelling ‘What the hell is going on?’ to his band, followers and the rest of the UK. Launching into the seminal, ‘Hello Is It Me You’re Looking For?’, he allows the audience to serenade him with a verse or two of the song.
“I Love You Glastonbury,” he repeats whole-heartedly as finishing the set with ‘We Are The World’.
And by the looks of it, he’s not lying.