Hip-hop superstar Jay-Z headlined England’s Glastonbury Festival over the weekend, after months of debating among critics and fans as to whether a hip-hop act was appropriate at the traditionally rock oriented event. Among the outspoken opponents was Oasis front man Noel Gallagher. In response, Jay-Z opened his set at Glastonbury with a cover of the Oasis song “Wonderwall.”
What the commentators said
“Jay-Z at Glastonbury 2008 proved to be the most thrilling headline act for more than a decade,” said Pete Paphides in the Times Online. Watching his performance, “you could have sworn that the world had changed a little bit, just like it did after Bob Dylan went electric at Newport in 1965. Yes, it was really that thrilling.” And now we know: “Clearly, Noel Gallagher must never be allowed to run a music festival.”
Jay-Z actually “admitted to being worried about the show,” said MTV UK, saying he was nervous in a way that he hadn’t been in a long time. But afterward, he was thrilled with the way it went, “calling the night ‘amazing.’” And as for his decision to open his show with “Wonderwall,” the “New York resident jigga” attributed that to his British-esque sense of humor.
“The world’s biggest hip-hop star” performing at Glastonbury “was bling, brash, and a bit out of place,” said Jim Pickard in the Financial Times. Sure, some in the audience “bounced,” but “others didn’t.” Jay-Z was “quite watchable if a bit monotonous after a while,” but “it was hard not to feel much as someone at a hip-hop event might if confronted with Billy Bragg or The Levellers topping the bill.”