Alcohol induced groggy heads and torrential rain aside there was a great atmosphere at Weston Park for the final day of V Festival 2012. Ponchos and raincoats were in abundance and, with acts like Noel Gallagher and the Stones Roses whetting the musical appetites for what was to come later that day, there were smiles aplenty on the faces of the party goers.
As we approached the Channel 4 stage The Twang (remember them?), in a rerun of Dodgy’s moaning the day before, were midway through their set and were vocally kicking off with the sparse audience for not dancing enough. What is it about opening acts? If you want people to rock out boys, then you have to earn it not demand it.
Up next the second of the Madchester triumvirate the Inspiral Carpets and like the Twang before them, they failed to get the crowd going playing a set list of songs from yesteryear. Was it the rain or was it the musical tastes of the punters that had moved on?
Over to the main stage we went and fresh from her Olympic exploits was the vocally talented Emeli Sande with her high energy pop and melodic tunes which included a cover version of Coldplay’s ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall’. Splendid!
More bastiens of yesteryear followed on the Channel 4 stage as replacements for the missing Dappy, The Charlatans treated the crowd to more sounds of days gone by with their Hammond organ inspired set containing the glorious “Only One I Know”.
Once more there was a change of pace, this time in the shape of Ireland’s Maverick Sabre. Not knowing a great deal about the raspy rapper/singer, his style can best be described as combining folk with R&B – a unique blend which sounds bizarre but actually works really well. Aided and abetted on stage with the equally as talented female harmonist Chantelle, he ploughed through his upbeat set, culminating with ‘Let Me Go’ and as the sun began to shine all seemed well in the world.
Next up was Labrinth – again an artist whom I don’t know much about. Once more I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was he vocally really good, but also a really accomplished guitarist. ‘Let the Sun Shine’ seemed a particularly apt tune as the weather began to take a turn for the better and and really had the crowd on their feet.
Rizzle Kicks kicked off with their version of the Inspector Gadget theme tune and then it was over to Example which, judging by the audience reaction, was the stand out performance of the entire weekend. Real name Elliot Gleave the rapper come singer had the entire crowd literally pounding the ground throughout his 40 minute set. It was simply electrifying. I’ve been to many a festival and stood in many an excited crowd, but never before have I seen the entire crowd jumping up and down in excitement as one. Moshpits and circles formed as far as the eye could see and literally everybody – singer included – were buzzing from the atmosphere.
It was then over to Manchester’s finest – Mr Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds. By this time the audience were in particularly high spirits, as so to it seemed was their host as he flirted playfully with a female photographer and even had a hint of a smile. Having done this a multitude of times before with Oasis and recently under his own steam, Gallagher senior is obviously a dab hand at playing the crowd and armed with the music at his disposal it was no surprise that he went down a storm. From the first chords of ‘It’s Good to be Free’ through to the last notes of ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ in a set which included classics like ‘Talk Tonight’ and an ode dedicated to Mo Farrah with an acoustic version of ‘Supersonic’ the crowd seemed well and truly mesmerized.
Then the finale and the long (long!) awaited return to the music scene of stellar performers the Stone Roses. Kicking off with ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ the Manchester band displayed phenominal musicianship in the shape of Squire, Reni and Mani and were guided by their conducter – the expert in swagger, the Monkeyman himself Mr Ian Brown.
Over the next 90 minutes they had the crowd on the edge of their metaphorical seats as they played what could be described as a greatest hits compilation from their two albums released over twenty years ago. Glorious songs are too many to name check, but ‘Fools Gold’ and ‘I am the Ressurection’ had the crowd teetering on the insane with guitar/drum and bass solos aplenty. Then, with a group hug on stage with the backdrop of fireworks above, it was over and the masses left, smiles a plenty, visibly anticipating V Festival 2013.