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Isle of Wight Festival, Seaclose Park

3 June 2002 2,456 views No Comment

Set-List: If I Ever Get Lucky, 7+7 Is, Down to the Sea,. 4 Sticks, Hey Joe,GTC, Morning Dew,Calling to You, Tall Cool One, Celebration Day, House is Not a Motel

This from Steven Connor
The Isle of Wight Festival in 2002 was a very different affair to the previous festivals held decades ago. Self-proclaimed god of hellfire Arthur Brown, who made an appearance to introduce Ash, was perhaps the only visible remnant of those events. This year’s rock day at Seaclose Park was attended by a rather tame crowd of several thousand. Robert Plant was billed as special guest just below headliners, The Charlatans. Most of the bands who performed belong to a poppier indie-rock era than the music of Strange Sensation.

The crowd was a real mixed bag of very young much older. As we waited for Hundred Reasons to come on I heard one kid in a Limp Bizkit hoodie brag to his parents that the next band would make lots of noise so we wouldn’t be able to hear Plant.
Hundred Reasons were indeed the first band of the day to liven things up. ‘Limp Bizkit Hoodie’ swore in disgust as singer Colin Doran cried, “Who’s here for Ash?… Good job! Who’s here for The Charlatans?…. Now who’s here for ROBERT PLAAAANT? That’s what I’m talking about!”

Next up was a polished set from Starsailor, marred only by the lethargy and pomposity of their frontman. An infectiously enthusiastic performance from Ash followed. Oddly enough, I remember Ash also preceded Plant when he headlined at Reading with Jimmy Page in 1998. Just before leaving the stage, singer Tim Wheeler lauded Robert Plant and the Charlatans as “living legends”. The pace changed noticeably as Strange Sensation took over. A crouching, rustic-looking Robert Plant gradually strode to the center of the stage to ease into a menacing rendition of If I ever Get Lucky. Some of the Charlatans fans near the front were ill at ease with the dark, subdued mood of the music. The song drew to a close and Plant kicked his mic stand over as guitarist Justin Adams hit his first power chord. The set then began to rock much harder.

The setlist was similar to Liverpool but without the encores. However, as this was the first time I’d seen Strange Sensation I was quite (pleasantly) surprised by some of the choices. We got a straightened-out psychedelic Four Sticks; a very rockabilly Tall Cool One (dedicated to Gene Vincent and without the silly spoken bits); an inventive and forceful arrangement of Hey Joe (I don’t agree with the negative comments that some other reviewers have made about this song); a lively burst through Celebration Day; and a beautiful GTC. Plant teased the crowd between songs by suggesting we could all just watch the live Jubilee concert broadcast from London on the giant festival video screens. He made sure to let us know when S Club 7 and Phil Collins were due on just in case we fancied it.

Now I know every TBL review comments on this, but the man’s voice is breathtaking, really incredible! During a particularly piercing note in Hey Joe the PA completely gave out. A coincidence? Bizzarely, the band continued as if nothing was amiss and a couple of songs later we were finally able to hear things properly again. Of the other musicians onstage, I was particularly impressed by Clive Deamer and Charlie Jones who created a warm, thundering rhythm section.
The gig seemed to end very abruptly. I’d been sure he’d give us Siren at least, but the festival schedule didn’t allow for that. I’ll have to wait for Monday night at the Astoria.

For anyone who wants to know, The Charlatans were pretty good headliners. A smiling Tim Burgess dedicated Telling Stories to Robert Plant shortly before the night ended with a jawdropping fireworks display. Roll on Monday.
This from Karen
It was an excellent day, we had rain , sun, a bit of everything, there were bands there that I hadn’t heard of, and some that rang a bell (courtesy of my teenage daughter) and some that I must look out for. Robert Plant, without a doubt, stole the show, he was on great form. He was due to come on at eight , and according to the time of my first photo (although my camera still thinks it’s GMT) he did, and played about a forty five, fifty minute set.
It seemed like he had only been on for ten fifteen minutes when he left, the crowd asked for more, but it was not to be. I would give you the set list if I could, but I would worry that I’d get it wrong, it seemed to be over so quick. Musically, I missed Jimmy, it’s not to take anything away from the Strange Sensations, it’s just little things.I would recommend everyone going to the Astoria.The Charlatans came on next, they were playing, I think, but I never heard them. You can’t follow that.

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