Wednesday, June 29, 2005

On Glastonbury

A Chronicle In Three Parts.


glastonbury! we've been here for about four hours. We play tomorrow and up until now every festival that we've played has been an excercise in patience but generally good. having to be a cog in a large machine and only getting 30 minutes to explain your band is a difficult fucking task. We've been driving from country to country on our tour bus, landing in the middle of nowhere and trying to orient. Every crowd has been crazy and great excpet for yesterday, in london at the wireless festival in hyde park, where we encountered our First Real Unresponsive Audience in the history of the band. British Corpses on a drizzling field. But watching the acts that followed was heartening; the psychedelic furs, moby, even new order (I gave a disc to the furs, who watched our set and were very kind, as was moby) also greeted a pretty much catatonic crowd. We got to glastonbury late (and missed our shot to streak during the Kaiser Chief's set) and here I am, sitting in the catering tentative outside the john peel stage, one bottled-water worth of wine inside me and working on a second, enjoying life and the rain.
Glastonbury is a british rite of passage, in a way. 140,000 people, hundreds of bands, torrential rain. Passing these thousands of brits wading through 2-foot deep mud proclaiming with their bloody existances “I love music and I suffer for it” and smelling the burn of sausages and wine in the air makes me feel like I'm at summer camp, or what I imagined summer camp mustve been like, because I never went. There is an ongoing catwalk of wellington rainboots, sneakers wrapped in plastic bags, scooby doo body costumes and all other vareities of freak.

Next day

I found where I belong at this festival: it's a land in the corner of the edge of nowhere called Lost Vagueness and that's where people are sporting full period ballroom dress and other fancy clothings (and wellington rainboots, which makes for a beautiful and poetic sight). I found a secret bar last night and there were laced and hatted people within, playing a skeleton of a piano and drinking fine whiskey. If I hadn't had to sing today I would have gotten all sorts of inebriated.

But there's tonight, and inebriated is a possibility. Our set is over, it went well...about four to five thousand people
came to our tent. I escaped afterwards to go see garbage (not bad, but didn't hold my attention), rufus wainwright (charming and half naked, yay!) and am waiting to see bright eyes in the john peel tent. Bright eyes has replaced avril in my cd player and I can honestly swear that it's (the fevers and mirrors record) the only thing I've listened to since coming on the european tour. I tried to listen to a garbage mix that becca gave me, but it skipped, so I took it out and that deosnt count. I can fully understand why people just can't stand it. overdramatic, pitiful, needy and all that. but I love it, I think people don't see the humor in it. The poor guy. The album has some of the most beautiful production I've ever heard and really, I feel sorry for the fact that the voice and the woe-is-me subject matter probably turns away so folks from this band. For me, it's a guilty pleasure and I can't only be grateful that someone is taking the self-depricating, self-aggrandizing, self-loathing tendencies I often want to put into music but censor for fear of turning everyone off. Add to list of projects: write a record for only conor oberst to listen to.

Anyway, he's on in an hour or so, and i can't wait to see. I think I have a bona fide crush.

Next day

My bona fide crush is officially over.

this story must begin with the fact that brian and I were fully prepared to streak during the kaiser chiefs' set (we even invested in matching garterless stockings while in camdentown in london) but we arrived at glastonbury literally an hour after their set, so I had a latent urge. “All sorts of inebriated” is certainly a decent description for where I found myself at nine last night, when bright eyes were supposed to hit the stage. The schedule was running over an hour late, so Brianna (who was also birthday girl, 21 at glasto!) and I sat backstage having fun and drinking and smoking like fishes and chimneys(the perils of four days off in a row - I'm like an idiot kid in a candy store when I get off my fascist touring regimen). Bright eyes took the stage, led by a be-hoodied and bitter-looking c-dog (em's affectionate nickname for mr oberst) and they immediately began to be plagued by the same monitor problems that we had. And then it started happening. My crush started deflating. I mean, the sound on stage was horrible, and perhaps the mud had gotten to him, but poor c-dog was out of control. Between every song (and it got progressively worse as the set wore on) he berated the crowd, berated the festival, and basically dripped a kind of acidic sacrasm all over the stage. Standout quotes: “put your credit cards together! Come on! Visa in one hand and mastercard in the other! Put your credit cards together!” and in reference to the fact that glastonbury was supporting Make Povery History “great. yay. we're all here and poverty's going to go away. awesome” and things to that effect. He even rolled his eyes at John Peel and referred to him as a cokehead (on the john peel stage! this is wrong, conor! he just died! have some respect!), but after people started yelling “you're a cunt!” from the audience he apologized for that one. he truly sounded like an asshole, a twelve-year old with a bad attitude.

Emily came and found me and brianna by the side of the stage and we watched this all going down and then I decided it would be a good idea to streak and when em brought me another whiskey and the band struck up “lover I don't have to love” I decided that god wanted me to do it. what perfect way to puncuate a song about casual sex, loneliness and a lack of caring about the universe than random nakedness? emily, being the mom-like tour manager that she is, reacted first with doubt but then after thinking it through and looking at the way the show and crowd were progressing decided that "this needs to happen for so many reasons". the voices in my own head were somewhat of a blur, but it was a familiar "something interesting has to take place now" kind of amanda head-refrain. so I waited til the song ended, got undressed, walked to the middle of the stage, and made out with conor oberst for ten seconds. he quite seemed to enjoy it, and he was an amzing kisser even if he's a brat. I was pried away by a burly security guy who didn't seem to think it was at all funny and told to get the fuck out of the tent so we went back to the bar and I freestyle-rapped a song about how emily is the best tour manager in the world. I did talk to c-dog before his entourage left but I think “all sorts of inebriated” wouldn't suffice to explain his state. gone, just gone......gone.

mom, please don't send an email. i'm already been wracked with guilt now that i realize that i took part in what was probably the most shameful sets at glastonbury. oh well. fuck guilt! rock and roll and onward and upwards and there will be plenty of rock shows to wear clothes at for the rest of my life. and No More Streaking for me lest i get a bad reputation. promise. at least not until next summer. i remember feeling this same sort of guilt after making out with evil-jock carl easton at my high school reunion and now i look back at it with a kind of a fondness.

and for the record, though conor oberst has proved himself whiny to the max on one night, he's still incredibly cute, a good kisser and put out a really well-produced record with great songwriting that I will probably have to wait a few years to listen to again. i even, upon going into my amazon checkout cart today, cancelled the bright eyes albums i had on order. too painful. i have hope. i want to think, in my hope for all humanity, that conor had a terrible night and will wake up to a brand new day and realize that things aren't all that bad, that while we can't end poverty by putting on rock shows it's better than doing absolutley nothing, and that insulting the dead in their namesake tent at a festival is a bad career move. and becasue i still think his music is brilliant, i will try to go see him play again to make up for the bad dream.

emily said that the singer from primal scream was so drugged out that he refused to leave stage at the end of their set and had to be dragged off. hard drugs = bad. alcohol has it's moments but it's pretty dangerous as well. back to juice for amanda. i think my bigggest guilty feeling is that instead of drinking and hanging out at the john peel tent watching conor oberst berate the audience and pulling a weird naked stunt i would have been much better off back over at Lost Vagueness, where i could have found jason webley and my other spiritual brothers and sisters and had an authentically good naked time with the real freaks. i want the sixties in my head back.

Anyway, I need to find a new rock crush. top candidate: andre 3000.


stacie said...

OMG! That is so freaking cool that you did that. I mean, it was a once in a lifetime chance, and it seems perfect for that moment.

Tran said...

I know I'm just a stranger..
but don't wear yourself out.

By the way, check out the band Lola Ray.
I don't know if they're in your interest or not, but they're my current obsession.

BlueLippedStare said...


AudreyVan said...

conor does seem like he'd be sort of a jerk. yes, he does have some really good songs, some of his lyrics are just like "wow", but then he whines whines whines and i just don't like the whole "i'm so upset, listen to me cry" scene.

i met you at one of your philly shows in may. you look and sound so sweet and i just couldn't picture you streaking, but i think it's great!!
man oh man, i just love you!

dom said...

You guys were fantastic at Glastonbury, a true highlight! I'm happy to hear your side of the story with Bright Eyes. Never before have I seen such a train wreck of a performance. Conor was moved into the headlining spot after Ryan Adams pulled out sick. Being a big fan of his 'wide awake' album I was really looking forward to seeing him, as was a large energetic crowd. Unfortunately Conor stumbled out, wasted, uninterested, could not string a sentence together and constantly berating the crowd like a spoilt child. He not only disrespected his fans, but also the stages' very popular namesake. I felt so sorry for his band who were fantastic and giving it their all. Conor was unable to even put a microphone on a stand. Amanda I think you disarmed a very volatile crowd who were going to tear Mr Oberst a new hole.

Congrats again on your afternoon set, can't wait to see you again!

Cluttered, yet fashionably cluttered. said...

we miss you here in boston, and you just left!

I have been addicted to a woman named KAREN ANN.

She has some kind of ambient/french music that makes me swoon. I think you will like her.

Oh, and by the way: you'll have to fight me for Andre 3000.
Have safe flights everywhere you travel; be safe.

A Unique Alias said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
maedchen said...

what about patrick wolf?


lil birdie said...

keren ann is the correct spelling of the artist that was mentioned above... just so folks can actually check her out.

baby said...

reagrding wireless festival...
I wanted to attent but being a poor,lame art student..i couldnt afford the £30 tickets..I know the same applies to a lot of people I know.Also The Dresden dolls were the only act that actually appealed to me.
I looked out for you guys in the footage they showed on TV last night..inbetween watching a film about male strippers...But they didnt show anything,hopefully you will be on tonights show instead.

from a smelly 17 year old adoring fan.

Another Operative said...

hi, i saw you at the wireless festival and loved it, despite the crowd being lame. you guys were the only reason i was there. it was my fourth time seeing you.

i took a lot of photos and you can see them on my flickr account which is linked to my blog.

i actually spoke to you and brian after the show too. it was nice to meet you.

just wanted you to know that at least one person appreciated your efforts at wireless.

Another Operative said...

oh, i almost forgot, i saw bright eyes in camden about three years ago and they had a problem with their equipment and conor blamed the venue and started screaming and having a tantrum and spitting on the crowd.

i have never been able to appreciate their music since.

egg said...

I also saw you play at the Wireless Festival and thought you were absolutly amazing and can't wait for the next oppourtunity I get to see you play. So yes, just to let you know that I am another who's day was totally made by seeing you play :)

FireAngel said...


I've been wanting to ask you this for a while but figured you were growing too popular to really want to go for this but I'll ask anyway because of the streaking thing. Every year I go to a pagan festival that is out in nature, gorgeous land with a lake and they have live music, workshops, vendors, etc. It's a 5 day camping thing and it's all clothing optional. I don't know how much they pay bands to come out and play... probably not a whole hell of a lot, but it's down to earth and it's something totally different from mainstream. If you guys want to do something different or just get away from it all for a while, you might like it out there. There are usually around a thousand people that go and lots of tribal drumming, fire spinning and other great artists for you to meet. Anyway, I thought I'd give it a shot. Email me if you think you might be interested.

FireAngel said...

Oops sorry... I should leave my email I guess. It's fireangel_1971 @ (without the spaces of course)

eirawen said...

hi i saw you at glasto a i thought you were sooooo amazing!
i managed to get to the front a used up most of my camera film!
you guys rock!
id planned to go see brighteyes cos i love the 'im wide awake its morning' album but i was presuaded to see the wailers insted :( aaah wel they were great
hope i see you again soon xxxxx

agent sometimes said...

Dammit. Now I can't put my plan of streaking onto stage during one of your shows to make out with you.
*shakes fist* You've beat me to it.

Talbott said...

You hit the nail completely on the head with your account of BrightEyes, I went to see him at Glastonbury filled with excitement, 5 songs in I had to leave..deeply saddened. :(

Talbott said...

You hit the nail completely on the head with your account of BrightEyes, I went to see him at Glastonbury filled with excitement, 5 songs in I had to leave..deeply saddened. :(

sheena antoinette seago said...

we came to say hallo to you after your glastonbury set...

heh........too many good things were on on sunday.......we actually left your gig early (so i could catch like ...a...Soulwax song) than ran back to say hello

we missed Garbage on account of i'm guessing to go see Brian Wilson.....Rufus indeed was wonderful and then we dashed to see Tori who was being very playful....covering Feelin' Groovy......perhaps that one a bit sickening for you but i loved it....what was sweeter was her telling the crowd to fuck off when they requested covers and she was gonna play that cause she wanted to

i think that's why we missed Bright Eyes but really wanted to go to that to......kinda sad we weren't there because i would have loved to witness that........though i would have wanted to slap him for dissing John Peel...

i believe we topped the evening in Lost Vagueness watching Thomas...

emma said...

the fact that your manager has the same name as me makes reading your entries a bit weird (when you mention her.)

but wow. you are amazing.

i have another online diary, and the background for it is currently the picture of you and brian tossing flowers. it is my favourite picture in the entire world, not only because it's you and brian, but because it's a fucking amazing photograph. (as all yours are.)


Shazwellyn said...

Hi Amanda and Brian! I was at the Glastonbury Gig! Loved you!Hope you still have the moonstone I gave you..this is something very magickal and special! Love, peace and harmony to you both....Shaz x

midnight-hacker said...

Well after reading that post I am absolutely mortified to find that I formed the part of the most Unresponsive Crowd ever. Although it was a miserable crappy day I find no excuse for the rest of the crowd. I, on the other hand, whist enjoying my first live experience of the Dresden Dolls, was somewhat preoccupied by the preceding events of having my wallet stolen. My cupboard was bare, and no matter how much I wanted to “let go” part of me was still thinking of torturous acts I could perform on the little s**t who took my wallet.

I on behalf of the crowd apologise and will be attending one of your upcoming Scotland gigs where I assure you I will be much more active.

Sunshine said...

I realize that I'm responding a bit late, but I had to comment on Bright Eyes. I can't say I'm a fan or anything, but I saw him play The Uptown in KC, and I nearly fell asleep. If not for his (incredibly irritating) laser-beam-like stage lights, I might have done just that. I had heard he's shown dick-like tendancies before, but it's disheartening to realize that it's true.

Andre 3000 is definitely a babe-elonian. ;)


hand said...


I understand why you would lose your crush for Mr. Oberst. You should really give him a chance, though. His new albums, "Digital Ash In A Digital Urn" and "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning" both have hints of hope. "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning" is actually full of hope.

I'm confident if you try them you'll like him again. He's a sad alcoholic that's meant to be judged by his records, not his actions.

Magnus said...

Had no idea what an ampersand was, and looking it up in the dictionary unfortunatly didn't help much either..

Anyway, if youre looking for some musical inspiration you can take a look at Kings of Convinience(, or maybe some morrissey( That the music that makes me forget everything around me for a while, and just jump down in a little pit of harmony.

Magnus said...

Had no idea what an ampersand was, and looking it up in the dictionary unfortunatly didn't help much either..

Anyway, if youre looking for some musical inspiration you can take a look at Kings of Convinience(, or maybe some morrissey( That the music that makes me forget everything around me for a while, and just jump down in a little pit of harmony.

Caffeinated Cassadie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.