How Do You Steal the Show at Glastonbury?

jaggerI watched the Stones (on the iPlayer) play at Glastonbury on Saturday night.

First time ever for them. They have been asked many times apparently. So they finally said yes.

I am not a great fan of the band I have to say but I realise that they have a place in the history of popular music. They are a keystone as it were. They are also a phenomenon.

I have seen them live. They were…OK. Could have been a bit more rehearsed.

I have seen them on YouTube being everything from shockingly unprepared to pretty good.

On Saturday night they were sublime.

I watched the whole show. More than two hours. Could not take my eyes off the screen. It was amazing.    

The Sunday papers seem to concur. The Rolling Stones stole the show.  

How is this possible?

How did a bunch of super unhip old guys steal the show at Glastonbury?  

Well here’s my take on it…

1. They cared about it…

Jagger said he was nervous before the gig. I mean a long time before the gig. Keith too. More so than usual. This shows awareness of what can go wrong when you’re playing to an audience who isn’t necessarily there to see you. Who isn’t predisposed to what you do.

2. They prepared…

Because they cared, they prepared. Mick said 8 hours a day on the run up to the gig. This really showed. I’ve seen them live before and they can be…rough.

3. They didn’t hide…

…behind technology. You only need enough technology.

If Charlie Watts’ drum kit was any more minimalist he’d only have a stick and a cardboard box. No double bass drum nonsense for him. No ocean of cymbals…

The guitarists are the same – almost always pretty standard issue stuff with little or no fancy effects.

There’s nowhere to hide when you do this. And it’s also more intimate.

4. The drugs don’t work (or, you need to be fit…)

Ronnie is apparently a cleaned up character and it shows. Never seen him play so well.

Then of course there’s Jagger himself…a good run on the treadmill before going on is his thing.

There is one notable band member who has not been so focused and it shows…Keith’s not as sharp as he was and if that was the standard across the band I’d be writing a different blog post this morning.

5. Talent + effort are unbeatable…

As I have said before, the talented people you have heard of are not characterised by their talent. You have heard of them not because they are talented. You have heard of them because they work like dogs, when no one’s looking. The talent only gets you to the starting line.


That’s how you steal the show at Glastonbury.

The Stones could easily have been a damp squib on Saturday night. They could just have turned up. But they rose to the occasion, like true champs. They avoided arrogance and complacency.

They put the work in. They gave themselves the very best shot at greatness. And they were great.

One Response to How Do You Steal the Show at Glastonbury?

  1. Anthony Madume July 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Hello Mark,

    Good afternoon. I hope you’re well.Long time , no see!

    It is a pleasure to read the above brief on – The Rolling Stone’s performance last Saturday. Yes, it engaged your eyes.

    I was not there myself, but as somebody who have met several times, I can say it clearly worth your while. I know there are lessons from

    business, management and personal development perspectives that we could learn from their performance. As usual, you gave your take on

    how the Rolloing Stone performed – amazingly, brilliantly………. you were very impressed. ……..From a personal standpoint, I strongly believe there are benefits in adequate preperation, training, being passionate about what you do, potting in the effort, etc

    Well done , Mark


    Anthony Madume

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