Glastonbury 1995 is still one of my favourite festivals I’ve ever been to not to mention it’s a probable defining moment in my life. As I’ve written before, it’s simply a time when everything seemed to come together perfectly, and musically 1995 was a watershed in the UK. This was the year of Britpop though not the horrible consumerist version that came after that first wave of diverse British acts such as Teenage Fanclub, Radiohead, Blur, Oasis and PJ Harvey. After June 95 every chancer in the music scene thought they could rip off a few Kinks songs and hey presto, they’d be in the charts.
But 95 was still diverse. It was still fresh and one of the act that stood head and shoulders above many of the others was PJ Harvey. Harvey simply tore apart every single perception of a female artist in the early 90’s. She also was a fantastic performer, something I was aware of from the first time I saw her play at Nottingham Poly in 1993 to the Saturday afternoon of the Pyramid Stage of Glastonbury in 1995.
From the minute I realised Harvey was playing the Saturday she was one of the acts I could not miss. Standing in the packed crowd near the front of the stage it was clear I wasn’t the only one, and as myself and my mate Joe tried to open a bottle of wine, there was a clear level of anticipation before she came out. When she did appear in a skintight pink catsuit the sound of people’s jaws dropping was audible above the first chord of the guitar of her band.
To this day it’s one of the best festival sets I’ve ever seen, and her performance of Down by the Water is one of the best performances of a song I’ve seen. Here it is in all it’s pink catsuit glory….