How do you translate to page how unbelievably cool it is to catch Rita Ora, Nile Rodgers and Kasabian all on one incredible day? The Isle of Wight Festival had some of the most incredible acts assembled across the weekend and to be honest, we are still reeling from hearing so much stunning music at just one singular festival. But, that’s the fascination of the Isle of Wight Festival!
Earlier in the afternoon, Rita Ora was radiant in the summer sun, hitting the vibe just right and oozing style while belting out her irresistible and glossy songs. And, at one point she said, ‘I need to take my sunglasses off and see all of you beautiful people!’ raising huge, affirming cheers on the breezy mainstage.
A bit later on, the legend that is Nile Rodgers, along with his iconic band Chic, sumptuously indulged us all by beginning with ‘Everybody Dance’. Is there a substitute for the epic ambassador of funk? The answer is definitely no. The set was slick, strong and full to the brim with groove non-stop. We met him before he went on and there was never a more gracious and pleasant man, obliging to a fault. He is wholly loved not just for his enthusiasm and charm in everything he does but his achingly natural ease of talent, (hence his induction to The Music Hall of Fame last year) overall likeability and appeal of whatever he creates.
He has unbridled mass appeal across the age divide without question. Chic put out a new record this year but Nile never stops with just his band as he has collaborated with just about everyone in the industry. He made sure to include his work with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams and discussed the life-changing cancer he endured just previous to working with them and the effect it has had on his music and perspective. Nile told everyone ‘Take your phones out and light them up!’ in honour of the love they were sharing with him back and forth.
He made sure to include a cover of ‘Let’s Dance’ by David Bowie as a shout out to celebrated Isle of Wight organiser, John Giddings, who worked with David Bowie for 30 years. Nile spoke to Absolute Radio’s Dave Berry about his working relationship when making the song with David Bowie saying, ‘We became so close so fast. It was just mind boggling. I had had six failures in a row and David had so much trust in me when I did that record. I mean he basically let me do anything I wanted.’
The set concluded with loads of the audience up on stage dancing and moving to the undeniable beat and kept the party atmosphere going from there.
The night finished with the space-age rockers Kasabian and their glorious blast of noise coming at you full force as they ambled on stage. The band is navigated by guitarist and writer Serge Pizzorno and frontman Tom Meighan with perfect execution. Tom squares up to the audience with the exact amount of swagger needed and Serge inhabits the slightly prog rock god role so capably that when seen together, you get the faultless computation of a band that is both visually and audibly immensely satisfying. The band chatted with Dave Berry of Absolute Radio before their show as well about seeing their name in print on the 50th Anniversary Isle Of Wight Posters and their set in relation to that, ‘They’re quite iconic these posters, I don’t know who the designer is but they’re sort of renowned pieces of rock history, the Hendrix one, The Doors one – it’s the 50th anniversary! We take each gig as it comes, we just focus our energy into it. The new album was written in mind of standing in front of 50,000 people you know Ill Ray, God Bless This Acid House…they were tunes for this moment.’
I lingered over ‘Bless This Acid House’ as its exuberant nature and stoking sound just sets it apart for me. However, there was plenty in their set to please as they have mega selection of hits (in a wide variety of subject matter!) Their synthy, slightly distorted, gritty almost grungy at times combination with the guitars makes for enormous crowd-pleasing music and the right choice to close the day’s performances out.
To be sure, the Isle of Wight just did not disappoint in any way…there was an unending selection of outstanding music to be heard for one and all!
Photos by ©PremiumPhotographic