Oxegen 2011 review

How Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters, Coldplay fared

Oxegen 2011 review

Photographer: Laura Callanenrique bazan on 13 July 2011

"I know that you're tired and you want to go home," says Coldplay's Chris Martin halfway through their closing set at Oxegen 2011, but the thousands of revellers that have filled the entire field feel a little differently.

The Irish event might be famed for its rain and mud, but this year there are only quick bursts of rain on Friday and Sunday and, to the surprise of regulars, sunshine.

Opening the main stage on Friday, the ever-entertaining Fun Lovin’ Criminals (7/10) are the perfect start to the weekend and it doesn’t take long for the festival spirit to kick off.

One band on the top of so many people’s lists to catch are The Strokes (8/10), who bring their trademark cool and moody live show to the Vodafone stage before Swedish House Mafia turn the field into a massive rave.

It’s up to main stage headliners Black Eyed Peas (8/10) to completely blow the crowd away with a stellar set full of catchy pop anthem after catchy pop anthem. With a huge futuristic stage production, they definitely treat fans to a must-see show, and playing a two-hour set it seems they can’t get enough of the adoring Oxegen rump.

Day two rolls around quickly and everyone is still hyped – some haven’t even been to bed. It’s a long wait until headliners Foo Fighters take the stage tonight but the crowds are already buzzing with excitement.

Attracting the likes of Dave Grohl and Liam Gallagher to watch from the side of the stage are The Pretty Reckless (7/10). Perhaps it’s the hype that’s been surrounding young actress Taylor Momsen’s growly rock band, or perhaps it’s her penchant for wearing precious little on stage (today being a fishnet dress and undies), but the crowds flood into the Heineken tent to see her dark, drawly rock’n’roll show.

Bruno Mars (9/10) brings a full band and a fun, upbeat and hugely entertaining live show of his revamped doo-wop pop, which is a stark contrast to the Arctic Monkeys (5/10) who are up not long after. They pull in a huge crowd, but struggle to engage them giving a somewhat lacklustre performance. They’re a great, young live band nonetheless, and the music sounds good, but this live show doesn’t offer much more than the CD.

When the time finally comes around for Foo Fighters (10/10) to take over the main stage, the excitement is palpable and the field is chock full of more than 50,000 fans desperate to see the rock legends. They are currently on a run of arena and festival dates, and their live show is so finely tuned and well-enacted they have the crowd in the palm of their hands.

Thrashing out more hits than Klitschko, they show exactly how a rock band should be, with an outstanding musical performance by each member. The effort Dave Grohl puts into his live show must leave him exhausted, as it certainly does Oxegen, and many campers enjoy a noticeably quieter night in their tents.
On Sunday, people are expecting something pretty spectacular from the Beyonce (5/10) show, be it an appearance from husband Jay-Z or similar. Instead she dances and struts around stage in a typically sexy outfit and works her way through loads of her hit singles and even some Destiny’s Child oldies, but her performance is somewhat of an anti-climax after all the hype. The preened and perfected performer we’re used to seeing on the TV is a little disappointing in the flesh, relying heavily on a backing track, she suddenly seems so much less perfect and more, well… normal.

Coldplay (9/10) on the other hand are a completely different story. They burst onto stage with energy and passion, giving one of the best performances of the whole weekend. The fields overlooking the main stage are completely packed full; it’s a wonder if there’s anyone watching Pendulum, Primal Scream or Bright Eyes on the other stages.

They invite legendary Irish folk singer Christy Moore, himself from Kildare where Oxegen is hosted, to the stage for a live rendition of Moore’s famed song ‘Ride On’, a treat just for the Irish crowd that makes this performance feel that little bit extra special.

Complete with fireworks, confetti guns and the biggest singalongs of the night, they are the perfect band to close a fantastic weekend at Oxegen Festival.

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