Radio 1’s Big Weekend - Glasgow Green, Sat 24 May & Sun 25 May 2014
A big, bouncy, blaring, bargainous bumper bill featuring Coldplay, Katy Perry, Pharrell and more
Radio 1’s Big Weekend delivered a big, bouncy, blaring, bargainous bumper bill to those listeners who were quick off the mark in claiming the 50,000 free tickets dispensed across the two days – and a shock to the system of anyone who deserted the station years ago with what felt like a relentless diet of throwaway nursery rhyme tunes allied to brainless beats, presented live from the main stage by an assortment of DJs in a state of unremitting high excitement. OMG, it’s 1D!
The station may be losing out in audience share to Radio 2 but it can certainly muster an impressive line-up of the pop stars of the day, all paid in exposure across multiple platforms, as they say. The compromise was that few of the acts brought their A-show. One Direction brought a couple of ramps and a shrug of a set, a lacking Lorde donned a shiny cape too late to save herself, Lily Allen wore a pink confection to complement her sugary sound.
The more rabble-rousing acts – Example, Kasabian, You Me At Six – managed mad-for-it business as usual and the traditional subtlety bypass. Despite their sweaty efforts, superstar DJ Calvin Harris trumped them all with a laptop and an expensive lightshow. Pop can be such a cruel mistress.
In contrast to all that beat-driven bluster, Saturday headliners Coldplay threw a reassuring comfort blanket across the site. Chris Martin enjoyed himself so much he stuck around to play guitar with Kings of Leon the next day but, just to counter any misguided notions that we were at grown-up Glastonbury, Sam Smith, who had earlier packed out the In New Music We Trust tent, was hauled onstage for his live, in-person reaction to the revelation that he was the nation’s Number One. Eeeeek!
There were pockets of sophistication, sanity and actual great music to be found from Pharrell Williams – so stellar he has a style roadie to help him out of his expensive jacket – and Paolo Nutini, somewhat overselling his maturing soul schtick on partisan home turf. (See below for Pharell and Paolo footage.)
God bless Klaxons, their lamé shirts and superlative trancey anthems, and all credit to Katy Perry for bringing some of the spectacle of her current Prismatic tour to the stage for a saucy seaside postcard romp involving multiple costume changes, dancers in bulbous fat suits and a big firework finish.