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Glastonbury: Coldplay joined by Michael J Fox for history-making fifth headline set

Coldplay have become the first act in history to headline Glastonbury five times – playing a record-breaking set to a huge, sparkling audience for whom it felt like coming home.

Thousands in the crowd will no doubt have seen them at least once here before, but no matter – they have their detractors, but you cannot argue with the fact Chris Martin’s band can put on a headline performance worthy of Worthy Farm.

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis was among the special guests watching stage-side as they performed to a crowd stretching way back into the night, and they were also joined by stars and musicians including rapper Little Simz on stage.

Theirs was a celebration not just of their own significant achievements, as one of the most successful British bands in recent history, but of Glastonbury festival and the talent it has supported throughout the decades.

Image:
Pic: PA

But the biggest surprise came from Hollywood legend Michael J Fox, who appeared on guitar for the rousingly emotional Fix You as the penultimate track. It’s a song and a performance even the hardest hearts could not fail to be moved by.

Backstage, Tom Cruise was among the fans watching as fireworks lit the sky.

Having handed out their traditional Coldplay LED wristbands before the set was under way, this was a gorgeous light show and epic sing-along of audience participation as the band performed hits starting with Yellow, where it all began, and continued through their extensive back-catalogue.

The crowd at Coldplay's headline set at Glastonbury Festival. Pic: PA
Image:
Pic: PA

“I look around and I just see amazing, wonderful people from all over the place and that’s what makes Glastonbury the greatest city on Earth,” Martin told the crowd, in a set featuring songs including Higher Power, Clocks, Viva La Vida, The Scientist and My Universe, which the band recorded with K-pop boy band BTS, with lyrics sung in both English and Korean.

Earlier in the day, Kasabian had been worst-kept secret of the festival with their surprise set, which led the Woodsies area to be closed off as the crowd grew in anticipation.

And at the Other Stage, The Streets’ Mike Skinner entertained fans with a crowd-surfing set – with Friday night headliner Dua Lipa spotted in the crowd, making good on her promise to enjoy the festival for the full weekend as a punter, as well as one of its biggest stars.

But Saturday night belonged to Coldplay. This was their first Pyramid Stage headline appearance since 2016 and their fifth in total, meaning they now overtake The Cure, who have headlined four times.

Coldplay. Pic: PA
Image:
Pic: PA

When the band was announced by festival organisers earlier this year, the news was met with the same criticism the band have faced for years: the music is dull, the choice of headliner uninspired, jokes about Martin turning up everywhere here, etc etc.

Similar will no doubt have been tweeted out during their set. The answer is simple, though: those who don’t like them, don’t have to watch them.

Read more:
Kneecap draw ‘headline-worthy’ crowd against the odds
How politics accompanies the music of Glastonbury

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There’s plenty else going on at Glastonbury to keep people entertained, whether you’re here soaking it all up in person, or following on TV at home.

The size of the Coldplay crowd says it all – they put on an epic show, and this is why they were chosen to headline Glastonbury once again.

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