The Isle of Wight Festival has been dubbed ‘the crappy mainstream festival on the island’ – mainly by me and my friends. However, it being run by John Giddings, and the amount of money it makes means it can afford to have some high-class acts. (Whether they go for them or pick a Top 40s band with 3 singles is another matter)
Unfortunately, due to ill health, I only managed get to the festival on the Saturday, and went home after the headline act. But, what a headline act. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were fantastic. I don’t care if you’re a fan or not. They can do a live show. (To be fair, they have had the practice…touring for some 39 years)
I will start with the bands on before them, starting with John Newman. To be honest, I wasn’t much of a fan before I saw him, and he’s by no means my favorite artist now. But, I do harbor more respect for him. He’s a charismatic individual, managing to get the crowd on his side, including many of the adults (and by adults I mean people that were only waiting to see the specials) He also has ample of talent, which is always useful. The fact he had a brass section on stage was a bonus.
The next band to come on where indie hit makers The 1975. I had seem a part of their set the year before at Bestival, and was fairly unimpressed. When Matt Healy (lead guitar/vocals) came on stage, he looked like he thought the 70,000+ crowd we there solely for him. Which, is fair enough, a large portion probably were. However, he barely acknowledged the crowd. The band came on, played their set, and left. The seem to be having ego-issues fairly early on in their career, which is never a good sign.
After a feet-achingly long time, the Specials made an appearance. They have been around for a long time, and it shows. Not only in their faces, but also in how they play the audience and get them dancing. As far as Ska goes, Madness, in my personal opinion, do out-rank them, but that’s not to say they aren’t good.
Then came the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I had seen them a couple of years ago when they were doing an arena tour, and wasn’t too impressed. They were good, but avoided playing many of their hits, focusing on their newest album (at the time I’m with you) This was fair enough, as they were on an album tour, but it would have been nice to here one or two hits. They set at the Isle of Wight festival was completely different. Yes, they played all the hits, all the songs the crowd wanted, but they also just jammed on stage. It was like watching them practice for a gig. It was lovely to see Flea, Chad and Anthony mess around on stage. Flea came back on for the encore doing a hand stand. How many bass players do that?