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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Rod wins Glastonbury seal of approval
Glastonbury pyramid stage
Pyramid of hope: The festival is set to return
Ian Youngs

A good Glastonbury performance can do wonders for the career of a veteran star who is making an unlikely appearance in the hallowed fields.

It worked for Tom Jones, Rolf Harris and Tony Bennett - and Rod Stewart has become the latest wrinkly to have won over the crowd.

Rod played on the main Pyramid Stage on Sunday night - a time usually set aside for performers from past eras.

But he did not have the kudos of the likes of David Bowie or Bob Dylan, who have played there in the past, and nobody quite knew how he would go down.

Rod Stewart at Hyde Park's Picnic in The Park concert
Rod Stewart at Hyde Park on Saturday: Should he have stayed there?
The crowd was wary at the start as Rod seemed like he was treating it like just another one of his stadium shows, and looked to be taking himself too seriously to be considered even slightly ironic.

But waverers were won over by the double whammy of Maggie May and Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? half an hour into his set, when the crowd realised that he really was cheesy enough to be admitted to the Glastonbury Hall of Fame.

"We weren't sure whether to play it, because it's not very cool," Rod said of Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?

"But it's part of my history, so bugger it."

Nobody seems to have told Rod Stewart that it all went out of fashion in 1988

When it comes to Rod Stewart at Glastonbury, the more a song reminds the crowd of bad school discos, the better - no matter how good the song actually is.

And the show was one big 1980s flashback - a bit too much so at times.

Rod was strutting about and sweeping the microphone stand off its feet like it was a leggy blonde in a short red leather skirt, and gave the saxophonist - who was a leggy blonde in a short red leather skirt - plenty of solos.

All of the string section were also all attractive females, mostly dressed in school uniforms, while the guitarists were professors at the school of soft rock.

Roger Waters
Roger Waters was another veteran performer
If Rod was being ironic, it would have been a lot easier for the crowd to respect him. But nobody seems to have told him that all that went out of fashion in 1988.

But the crowd decided to respect him for being a top-drawer showman who has kept going and for not being pressured into changing his style.

Rod would have been well-advised to have watched an earlier demonstration of what a sympathetic Glastonbury crowd can do for your fortunes.

Rolf Harris has already admitted that his appearance here in 1993 was the best moment of his career, and on Sunday afternoon a crowd that was as big as Rod's - if not bigger - came to see the cuddly Australian's return.

He has become a legend with crowds who grew up watching him on children's TV shows, and certainly knows how to build up enthusiasm in a crowd.

Ageing rockers must be queuing up to take next year's veteran's slot. Is Cliff Richard free?

Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris repeated his 1993 exploits...
As the morning after the weekend before dawned, so did the grim prospect of fighting with 99,999 other people for places on the roads and trains.

It seemed impossible to imagine that the fields covered with stamped-down, damp yellow straw and sheets of newspaper being blown about were ever filled with lush, green grass - or will be again.

But the site will soon get back to being a fit state for cows, and by then the fans here will probably still be arguing about who was the highlight of the weekend.

Rolf Harris fans
... to the joy of his fans
For some, it will be Rod or Rolf - but there was no one star who stole the show.

Many have raved about Coldplay's headline performance on Friday, in which they did show signs that they could be about to become huge - not just in the UK, but also around the world.

Their second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, will certainly be eagerly awaited after the previews given here.

Others have mentioned Orbital, Faithless, Manu Chao, Ash and The Charlatans as just some of the stars who blew them away.

Glastonbury festival-goers
Keep that tent ready for next year...
For some, the highlight of their weekend came seeing or doing something far away from the music stages.

This may not have been a legendary Glastonbury - but the feeling was that it was a good one, the fact that it seems to have ensured that it will happen again next year has made it all the more satisfying.

It could have been worse.

It could have been much, much worse - it could have been muddy.

Festival focus

The band's diary

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Glastonbury scenes

Glastonbury scenes

The history of Glastonbury

Glastonbury history

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