Bobby Womack‘s West Holts finale is a show that encapsulates the essence, the breath, the spirituality of Glastonbury Festival.
Opening alone with ‘Deep River‘, a reworking of an original slave track, his burning voice is raw and passionate. This doesn’t feel like the end of the festival, but like he may never play again.
His work with Damon Albarn, like ‘The Bravest Man In The Universe‘ bleeds with emotion and ‘Please Forgive My Heart‘ is a glittering reminder of his incredible song writing prowess.
He may not work the boards as he once did, but moving from sitting to standing, chest out on ‘Whatever Happened To The Times‘, the fire is still there, unifying the thousands in front of him.
There’s a sense that all onstage, Albarn included, want this to be perfect. “Bobby, hold on, this a rudimental thing,” Albarn says, scolding a meandering percussionist during ‘Please Forgive My Heart‘, and making the group start again.
But all are friends for the ecstasy high of ‘Love Is Gonna Lift You Up‘, after which there’s a nervous interlude, a changing of the guard with new instruments and, after 15 minutes, a new red suit for Bobby‘s all hits show.
‘Across 110th Street‘ is triumphant in its beauty, ‘Nobody Wants You When You’re Down And Out‘ licks and curls into a soul classic and Sam Cooke cover ‘A Change Gonna Come‘, with a cameo from his daughter Gina, is a transcendent success, that echoes across the fields.
There’s room for hits from his first group The Valentinos, spell-binding gospel highs, with enough soul tune to fill the stage all weekend. An incredible finish, to a remarkable weekend.
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