Neil Young performed a mesmerising bill-topping set at the Isle of Wight Festival last night (Sunday), to by far the smallest headline audience of the weekend.
The Canadian born rocker ran through hits such as ‘Heart Of Gold’, ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and ‘Down By The River’ to a much depleted crowd, many who had left following a set from Simple Minds.
Those who stayed however were treated to a songwriting and showmanship master class with a commanding Young building a set from solo acoustic to full blown electric band. ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ was a crowd pleaser with the singer extending the outro four times before getting fans to wave their hands from side to side.
Young’s encore consisted of two 15-minute extended tracks ‘Down By The River’ and a cover of The Beatles ‘Day In The Life’ during which, the singer broke all the strings on his guitar due to feedback and slumped it on its stand.
Earlier in the day Pixies, who were all dressed in black, ran through a set that included ‘U-Mass’, ‘Here Comes Your Man’ and ‘Debaser’. ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’ got the loudest response of the set which also included a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Winterlong’.
The band halted track ‘In Heaven’ after Frank Black messed up his vocals with Kim Deal saying: “You were meant to scream,” to which he replied: “I haven’t screamed since the 80’s.” The band finished their set with a fitting version of ‘Into The White’.
Simple Minds were in energetic form during their main stage set, drawing the biggest crowd of the day. ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ proved the biggest sing-a-long during a set that chopped between old classics and new numbers with ‘Waterfront’ also a favourite among fans.
In the Tim Burgess-curated Big Top Black Lips played to a pretty much empty tent, which was much the order of the day, airing tracks like ‘O Katrina’ and ‘Drugs’. Guitarist Cole Alexander’s performance was the most memorable as the fans watched him spit into the air and catch it again.
The Rumble Strips also played in the Big Top playing new number ‘Daniel’ along with ‘Girls And Boys In Love’ but the biggest cheer was saved for ‘Motorcycle’. The Script, Goldie Lookin’ Chain and Judy Collins all also performed during the day.
Check back for our full review of the Isle of Wight Festival 2009.