T In The Park 2011 review
'An undisputed champion of an event'
Gavin McInally - 10 July 2011
The gloomy weather forecasts predict biblical floods, hail and even thunder but it turns out that only the atmosphere
is electric at 2011's edition of T In The Park.
Kinross and its 85,000 absolutely hammered visitors weather a few short downpours - and conditions Noah would shit himself about on Sunday afternoon - over the weekend but by the time Foo Fighters (9/10) pluck out the final chords of 'Everlong' to wrap up an astonishing two-hour closing set, the only real talking points are an endless list of highlights from the intimate busking afternoon with Emma's Imagination (8/10) to the canvas thumping spectacle of Chase & Status (9/10).
With a dance heavy line-up which features a frantic Pendulum (9/10) set, a pyro inclusive, absorbing light show of Swedish House Mafia (9/10), a trance heavy Deadmau5 (7/10) showing, Crystal Castles (7/10) 2manyDJs (7/10) and Calvin Harris (7/10) before anyone even ventures towards the Slam Tent, it's no surprise there's a continuous, thumping bass-line which proves to be the soundtrack to the weekend, even when it's not wanted.
But it's no real surprise by this point that T is not an event populated by tuned in music fans. In fact, any opportunity to show hype (OFWGKTA (6/10)), pedigree (Weezer (8/10)) and trend (My Chemical Romance (7/10)) hold no water at T, is clearly demonstrated by embarrassing attendances while current pop idols Beyonce (7/10), Bruno Mars (8/10) and Tinie Tempah (9/10) play to an ocean of faces.
By gates open time on Friday afternoon fans are negotiating a new look layout at Balado with the Radio One/NME Stage punted to the other side of the map, facing a more awkward and enclosed feeling Main Stage, and a brilliantly expanded Healthy T area which fEels like it's own boutique event - recalling memories of the failed Connect Festival which is mourned by many of the more mature audience members.
But it isn't long before Scottish double act Kassidy (7/10) and The View (6/10) set the musical backdrop with the latter keeping it simple for their afternoon set, throwing in 'Grace', 'Face For The Radio' and 'Same Jeans', with bassist Kieran taking a quick shot of vocal duties.
Tom Jones (6/10) keeps the curious crowd waiting with a few slow numbers before eventually thrilling everyone with a mass karaoke session for 'Delilah' - one of the surprise highlights of the weekend.
And while Arctic Monkeys (8/10) stamp their headline authority on the first night with a selection of old classics blended with new hits 'Don't Sit Down Cos I've Moved Your Chair' and 'Black Treacle' pleasing the heaving crowd 2ManyDJs and Pendulum split dance fans with tremendous rival sets.
Saturday sees the return of Manic Street Preachers (8/10) at T and when they are on this form, they feel like the greatest band in the world.
With an ever-encouragable T crowd who just want to build human pyramids and wedgie each other, emotive rock genius like opener 'You Love Us' and 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next' is slightly wasted but guitar legend Slash (7/10) feeds off the enthusiasm with a set which includes the big Guns N Roses hits and the weekend's first rain shower.
Emerging from the floor wearing a stunning sparkly black dress that leaves little to the imagination, Beyonce opens with 'Crazy In Love' and sends Balado just that.
Backed by The Mamas, dancers and a brass band, she quickly fires into 'Single Ladies', then Prince's 'The Beautiful Ones', Kings of Leon's 'Sex On Fire' and a Destiny's Child mash-up: 'Independent Women' / 'Bootylicious' / 'Bug-A-Boo' / 'Telephone' / 'Say My Name' /'Jumpin' Jumpin' / 'Survivor'.
As she rounds off with 'Halo', it scarcely seems to matter to the gathered hordes that she mimed much of the set - mic at her side - or that the brass instruments clearly weren't real. This is the best spectacle of the weekend and what fEels like the biggest crowd T has ever seen.
Against the funereal dirge of Chris Martin and his piano during Coldplay (5/10), Primal Scream (7/10) revisiting 'Screamadelica' seems the most obvious choice of the weekend for anyone born pre-90s.
Glasgow's house classic rocks every bit as much today as it did when it grabbed British music by the neck and shook some drug-addled life into it. Opener 'Movin' On Up' is a real highlight.
Sunday sees Professor Green (8/10) inject life into a struggling, hung over crowd before the masses stampede towards any available cover as the North Sea is dropped on the festival site, leaving revellers in swamp scenes wannabe mud wrestlers wait all weekend for.
Weezer, Bruno Mars, Tinie Tempah, Pulp (7/10) and Foo Fighters fight the conditions with everything they can muster but it's left to a half full Eels (9/10) tent to sum up T; an undisputed champion of an event, hampered by Buckfast.