Metallica win over wary Glastonbury crowd

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 12:43am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 12:43am

Metallica have rocked Glastonbury, confounding critics who said heavy metal had no place at Britain's biggest music festival.

After opening with Creeping Death and For Whom the Bell Tolls, front man James Hetfield said they were representing "the heavier side of music" at the festival held on a farm in rural southwest England.

There’s no other band in the festival’s history that has been so keen to play

The choice of the US group, who have sold more than 120 million records, for the prestigious Saturday headline slot had been controversial.

Some of the 135,000 festival goers complained that their music did not fit Glastonbury's hippy ethos. Others said Hetfield's narration of a TV show about bear hunting did not fit the event's environmental culture.

A film at the start of the performance took a humorous swipe at the hunting controversy. It showed a traditional English fox hunt ending with the red-jacketed huntsmen being shot by bears, revealed to be the members of Metallica in costume.

Both the criticism and response echoed 2008, when rapper Jay-Z headlined Glastonbury.

The hip-hop superstar won over the crowd with a blistering performance that was not without humorous touches: he opened by singing Oasis song Wonderwall, a tongue-in-cheek rebuke to the band's Noel Gallagher, who had said rap should not top the bill.

Ending with Seek and Destroy, Hetfield shouted: "Metallica and Glastonbury, together at last."

Michael Eavis, 78, the founder of the event that started in 1970, had defended the bill toppers: "There's no other band in the history of the festival that has been so keen to play. They will do the best set of their lives here."