United Kingdom | 27 June 2009
The rock gods got a little help from some friends as they sent a heavenly dry Glasto into hell, via Stone Henge (of course).
Jarvis Cocker and Jamie Cullum stepped up on bass and keys respectively at different points in the crowd-pleasing set that relied more on comedic banter and the Tap's endearingly anthemic back-catalogue than the props and theatrics often associated with their mythological heyday.
The summer party atmosphere was in full swing on the Pyramid Stage with a carpet of revellers sunning themselves all the way up the hill to the farm above. 'Sweet Child of Mine' and 'Sweet Home Alabama' spun by the house DJ got bigger cheers than many of the bands as the blissed-out crowd waited expectantly. Then...
"Ladies of gentlemen", boomed the announcer "Straight from hell - Spinal Tap!"
"Welcome back - you've missed us.", greeted Derek Smalls to roaring applause. "Hello everyone, whoever you are", chipped in Nigel Tuffnel as they powered into opener 'Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight'.
"As you can see we've made some improvements over the last 25 years", announced singer David St. Hubbins, "We've successfully completed that opening number for one thing!" referring to the famous ill-fated attempts depicted in their classic 1984 mockumentary film 'This is Spinal Tap'.
"Is it loud enough?", enquired Smalls to screams of "Turn it up to eleven!".
"This goes back a long way - even further than we do!", exclaimed St. Hubbins, introducing 'Hellhole'.
He later amended the lyrics to 'Stinkin' Out the Big Outdoors' to include "There's nothing like a festival crowd."
Mid-way into the set, Jamie Callum was summoned out as an unlikely special guest (to unceremonious boos from many in the audience), "Replacing our own caucasian keyboardist momentarily", for a funk-fuelled rendition of 'Short And Sweet'.
After imploring the crowd to "Pray for our drummer - they lead such short lives", Hubbins introduced their "Oldest song of all, from when were The Thamesmen" - an upbeat 'Gimme Some Money'.
"Climate change is in the wind", informed St. Hubbins, "For the next three minutes let's think about that then let's get drunk!". 'Warmer Than Hell', the track they had penned for the Live Earth concerts, followed.
"Are you ready for a little history lesson? This is the song that put us on the map and we did the same for this little monument!" A massive roar met the song whose name didn't even need to be introduced (and wasn't). During 'Stone Henge's folky interlude, the crowd went into a frenzy as two dwarves in monk robes came out to jig in front of an inflatable henge.
"It's important to remember your English heritage", reminded Smalls, as the band launched into their ode to Jack The Ripper, 'Saucy Jack'.
"If it hadn't been for Michael Jackson there would never have been a Spinal Tap", informed the bassist before a rousing 'Majesty of Rock'.
"We've urban-ed the next one up a bit but it's still the same disgusting mess as it's always been. Let's go to the sex farm now!", shouted St. Hubbins. Midway into the ensuing number, the band deviated into an interlude with St. Hubbins rapping over Tuffnel's human beat box.
"We started this set at the top. The only place to finish it is at the bottom!", preached Smalls, before introducing Jarvis cocker (to raptuous applause this time) on bass for 'Big Bottom'. The stage was invaded by voluntuous crowd members, with Cocker throwing some previously unseen rock shapes. The band encored with "One more nasty one before we say goodnight", 'Heavy Duty'.
Earlier on, tongue-in-cheek rockers Eagles Of Death Metal had warmed up the crowd with their infectious bravado. "We're having the time of our lives!", beamed Jesse Hughes. After swilling a beer, he admited: "I would have finished that, but my mother's watching from the side of the stage." The raucous set closed with a powerful extended version of their hit 'I Want You So Hard (The Boy's Bad News)'.
The Pyramid Stage action at Glastonbury continues today with Dizee Rascal, Crosby Stills and Nash and Kasabian before Bruce Springsteen headlines his first visit to the farm. Stay posted for our reports and photos as the drama unfolds.
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