Elbow grace the Pyramid Stage as the sun sets at Glastonbury 2011

Elbow at Glastonbury Festival 2011 by Shirlaine Forrest
Elbow at Glastonbury Festival 2011 by Shirlaine Forrest

Elbow celebrated their 20th anniversary as a band by playing a flawless sunset performance on the Pyramid Stage tonight (Saturday 25).

Performing in front of a field full of fans and flags, the boys from Manchester got the crowd to sing them happy birthday while they each downed a shot of whisky halfway through their sublime set of hits.

Clearly delighted to be playing in front their biggest ever audience, lead singer Guy Garvey was keen to capitalise on some crowd participation by instigating the world’s first reverse Mexican Wave. Starting with the front row, everyone bent down as the wave reached them, sending a ripple up the field right up to the back.

Guy did little to suggest that he was suffering from the nerves he recently admitted struggling with at every performance. Smiling broadly and swaggering across the stage, he happily bantered with the crowd between songs.

“Hello Glastonbury! Are having a good time? Is the sun shining? Are you secretly hippies? Put your hand up if you’ve been kissed by someone with glitter on their face in the last two days!” he said between songs.

There was even time to congratulate Michael Eavis on the birth of his new grandson George.

Accompanied by a mini orchestra at the back of the stage, the quintet treated the audience to ‘Grounds for Divorce’, ‘Neat Little Rows’ and ‘Lippy Kids’ before closing with a delightful rendition of ‘One Day Like This’ that saw everyone’s hands in the air.

Glastonbury has always been a special festival for Messrs Garvey, Potter, Jupp and Turner, who named their second album ‘Cast of Thousands’ after a memorable performance at Worthy Farm in 2002, when the crowd were recorded singing for ‘Grace Under Pressure’.

Tonight was no exception; this was a memorable performance that will go down in the annals of Glastonbury as one of the greats. Happy birthday, Elbow.

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