Glastonbury 2013 review: lightning strikes for The Rolling Stones

The Stones' headline set felt like a huge 'fuck you' to the next Glastonbury headliners because they're going to have a tough act to follow

Read more on The Rolling Stones Listen to The Rolling Stones on Spotify
Date: 29 Jun 2013 | Rating: 3-5
The Rolling Stones

In 1995, The Simpsons aired a classic episode called 'Lisa's Wedding' in which a demented fortune teller foretold the story of Lisa Simpson's first love. While glimpsing the future—a now distant 2010—we saw a host of eerily true predictions of what's to come, including The Rolling Stones' Steel Wheelchair Tour. And though a few years later than expected, last night we saw what could be considered the Steel Zimmerframe headline slot at Glastonbury. And while the now wrinkly rockers hit a couple of bumps en route, they made sure those thousands of people knew they were witnessing an event they would never forget.

Rolling Stones Steel Wheelchair Tour from The Simpsons

Booking an act like The Rolling Stones is a big coup for Glastonbury. They bring a 50-year legacy of rock and roll greatness to the occasion, but they're also better equipped than most acts to bring the intense level of energy that festivals demand even as they enter their twilight years. Lightning hit the crowd as they ripped into the electric opening of 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' and the doom-funk of 'Paint it Black' felt more at home in the wash of drug and booze-induced euphoria than it ever has in a big stadium. These are timeless rock songs that feel as immediate today as they felt all those years ago. The band may be creakier now, but the songs are eternal.

As breathlessness set in on 'Brown Sugar', it felt like we were perilously close to a musical episode of Waiting for God. Keith Richards that showed his age the most in the last few songs. Mick Jagger brought vigour to the performance even though his dancing is more rigid than it once was; and Ronnie Wood showed a renewed sense of energy that he's been missing for the past few years. But it was Keith who looked like something had left him. Maybe it was the fireball that engulfed the skies during 'Sympathy for the Devil' or maybe he was just having an off night, but his guitar riffs felt off balance as he awkwardly shunted himself around the stage to keep pace with the music.

'You Can't Always Get What You Want' reinvigorated them, bringing thousands of people together in harmony from the second the choir began to sing. Mick led them all into singing it back at full pelt in a hugely moving moment that no one could resist. These closing moments, including the classic 'Satisfaction', felt like a huge 'fuck you' to the next Glastonbury headliners because they're going to have a tough act to follow.

The highs: 'Jumpin' Jack Flash,' Paint it Black,' 'Sympathy for the Devil' and 'Brown Sugar'

The lows: 'Midnight Rambler'

You can watch the set on BBC's Glastonbury website.