Wednesday: First official day of Roskilde Festival and the grand site is drenched in sunlight, much to the delight of the many happy festival goers.
The Minds of 99 – a Danish punk, new wave outfit – has been given the honours of opening the main stage. The music is wild and crazy, along with the crowd. Indeed. The party has started.
Next we stroll down to the Arena stage, where Noel Gallagher – in the company of his High Flying Birds – will soon show us what rock n’ roll is made of. The 48 year old, Oasis-songsmith, enters the stage with his usual coolness, very laid back, eyes hidden behind a pair of shades and hardly utters a word in between songs.
The band kicks off with ‘Everybody’s On The Run’ from his first solo album, before knocking into ‘Lock All the Doors’ – a great song that sounds a bit like early day Oasis, and you can’t help but miss ‘Our Kid’, Liam, a bit. As a singer, Noel has grown a lot, which can clearly be heard on songs like ‘In The Heat Of The Moment’ and ‘Fade Away’ – an old Oasis B-side – tonight, played in a slightly different version than the original. It’s a joy to listen to, and the addition of horns doesn’t make it any less great. But the show (to me) seems a bit trivial, unless you’re a die hard fan, I guess. But Noel is great, no doubt about that, and who am I to point a finger at the Manchester legend.
As we leave, we can hear the crowd go berserk, as the band kicks into the majestic ‘Champagne Supernova’. Everyone sings, loudly – and it’s all very nice.
Meanwhile, in front of the main stage a sea of people has started to gather – like flies on a ribbon-steak – to make sure they catch a glimpse of tonight’s headliner, one Pharrell Williams. Over-polished, funky pop, on top of dumb, danceable beats – nothing too intelligent is to be found here. This, for some reason, is the music that connects people, and as we struggle our way past the holy land, we’re amused – if not a little scared – by hordes of humans, behaving like wild animals to music.
We end up back at the Arena stage, tired and dusty, like old trumpets that no one plays.
The War on Drugs makes the perfect ending after a day of music. The show opens with ‘Burning’, which, like a droning engine pumping on top of your beating heart, are nursing the last bits of our tired souls. It’s a huge sound, dreamy at times, and the band – tight as fuck – seem to be as much into the music as the crowd does. One big happy family. The mastermind behind the group, singer and guitarist Adam Granduciel has a very Dylan’sque way of delivering his lyrics, which fully captures your attention and, also worth mentioning, is his way of playing the guitar, which is nothing but pure love making, and watching this, kind of puts your mind at ease. After the last two songs, ‘Lost in the Dream’, and ‘Your Love’, we creep back into the night, with an ounce of melancholia, softly layered inside our heads. After a few nightcaps – it’s back to those filthy tents of ours.
Hooray for festival-life!
Words: Anders Knudsen
Main Photo: Anna Vee