If I were a DJ ... I’d listen to her

Posted June 30, 2011

If I were a DJ ...  I’d listen to her

Beyoncé had barely left the stage, having wowed the audience with her headline performance at Glastonbury, when the cameras switched back to the television studio. Congratulations were in order, right? Well yes, you’d think so.

But instead we got an ‘arty’ monologue from Lauren Laverne which, for the life of me, I still don’t understand (was she being complimentary or sarcastic?) followed by an admission from Zane Lowe that he hadn’t actually seen her set. He’d gone to watch Queens of The Stone Age instead. This wasn’t what I or the nation, judging by the ensuing Twitter frenzy, wanted to hear. It wasn’t clever, cool or appropriate. Whether you’re a fan of Beyoncé or not, you couldn’t deny that she had done a great job. So at least be gracious enough to acknowledge it!

The references to the “Las Vegas” styling of her set were presumably meant to stimulate an intellectual debate about whether this slick R&B style of music has any place at a rock festival. But this was not the time for such a discussion.  Moreover the “Las Vegas” tag implied that Beyoncé is a tinselly showgirl imitation of a true festival performer.  This felt like a cheap dig at a woman who had just delivered a heartfelt, knockout performance.

And yet, in a way, I did understand where they were coming from. As I watched the start of Beyoncé’s set I felt it was too ‘showbizzy’ for me. I wanted her to ease off on the enforced audience participation and just sing. But then I spotted the nervousness behind the polished act, a fear that she wouldn’t be able to carry an audience this big along with her. Once she relaxed into her performance and realised that 175,000 people were on her side, she belted out the performance of her life.

By the end of her set, I was on a high. I was also relieved that it had gone well for her. Why on earth did I feel this way?  I mean, I’ve never even watched one of her concerts in full. I recognised some but not all of the songs. Then it struck me: her show may have included a touch of glitz but there was no artifice with the woman herself. Her face revealed every emotion. When she admitted her nerves and said she was grateful to be there – that it was “a dream come true”, I believed her.

In her post-performance interview with Lauren Laverne and Jo Whiley (Zane had mysteriously disappeared from the scene by this stage) she came across as warm, friendly and genuinely thrilled by the whole experience. Her delight was infectious. It may even have won Zane over, if he’d stuck around.


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