Over the weekend Radio 1’s Big Weekend brought internationally renowned acts to Earlham Park in Norwich, we were lucky enough to be there. Here are our top 7 performances of the weekend, credit should also go to great sets from Muse, Hozier and Rudimental, who narrowly missed out on being in our top 7.
7. Imagine Dragons
Notorious for their energetic live shows, Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons lived up to expectations on Sunday. Songs from recent number one album Smoke + Mirrors sounded equally impressive live as they do on record. Slotted alongside fan favourites from debut album Night Visions, their set inspired sing-alongs in the sun.
Opening on a perfect rendition of ‘It’s Time’, Imagine Dragons showed they meant business. Front man Dan Reynolds energy and passion shone as bright as the sun over the Norwich crowd, as they raced through new songs ‘I’m So Sorry’ and ‘Shots’. Ending with a bang, a superb performance of breakthrough hit Radioactive was not to be missed. If you are fortunate enough to have tickets to their October UK tour you are bound to see an exhilarating set from a great live band.
Watch Imagine Dragons’ set here
6. Olly Murs
Opening a main stage is not an easy job, but fortunately Olly Murs was more than up to the task on Sunday. The former X Factor singer from Essex had people up on their feet, moving along to his catchy songs during a simply brilliant set. ‘Heart Skips A Beat’ was a great choice for an opener despite the absence of Brighton duo Rizzle Kicks who feature on the song. Annoyingly catchy, the song ensured the tired crowd knew what they were in for.
Number one single ‘Dance With Me Tonight’ was followed by latest single ‘Beautiful To Me’ before a show stopping duet from fellow Big Weekend performer Ella Eyre appearing to perform ‘Up’ in the absence of Demi Lovato. Of course it wouldn’t be Olly Murs without ‘Dear Darling’ featuring in the set along side a medley of songs including Chic’s Le Freak and Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk. The highlight of the set was clearly Wrapped up, featuring Radio 1 present Nick Grimshaw channeling his inner rapper to fill Travie McCoy’s feature in the song.
Watch Olly Murs’ set here
5. Fall Out Boy
Making their big weekend debut, Fall Out Boy delighted fans past and present with their set. The Chicago four piece have gained significant following since their return, off of the back of comeback album Save Rock And Roll and recent number 2 album American Beauty/American Psycho.
Performing a mix of pre hiatus hits and singles from both past albums the band had the crowd in the palm of their hands. The experience of playing to crowds this size was easily visible as they shot straight into opener ‘The Phoenix’. Their new song ‘Irresistible’ closely followed before they rewound time with the sensational single ‘Sugar, We’re Goin Down’.
The combination of ‘This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race’ and ‘Dance, Dance’ took their performance to the next level. A brief lull for recent single ‘Uma Thurman’ followed before an impressive final three songs capped a superb set. Centuries, Thnks Fr Th Mmrs and My Songs Knew What You Did In The Dark caused pandemonium as the four piece provided the best main stage performance of Saturday.
Watch Fall Out Boy’s set here
4. James Bay
Performing to a packed out In New Music We Trust tent, James Bay lived up to the recent hype surrounding him. The ‘Hold Back The River’ singer showcased songs from his recent debut number one Chaos and The Calm.
Opening with a wonderful rendition of ‘Collide’, Bay looked at home on the stage in his trademark hat. The winner of the Critic’s Choice award at this years Brit awards quickly followed with ‘Crawling’ and a triumphant ‘If You Ever Want To Be In Love’. The main highlights of the set included a mesmerizing performance of ‘Let It Go’, the toe tapping ‘Best Fake Smile’ and ‘Hold Back The River’ engaging one of the biggest sing alongs of Big Weekend.
It is clear that the only way is up for James, with a spectacular voice and guitar playing technique he won’t be playing tents and small venues for much longer. His UK tour later in the year sold out rapidly, this performance showed exactly why.
Watch James Bay’s set here
3. Snoop Dogg
Whomever’s idea it was to bring international rap star Snoop Dogg to Norwich deserves a medal. With the security staff having to turn people away from the tent, the rapper came on in a Norwich City FC shirt emblazoned with Dogg on the back.
Opening with two collaborative Dr. Dre songs, it was easily the best atmosphere of the weekend with the entire crowd going crazy as the hip-hop legend became the main talking point of Saturday following his early afternoon set. But it took until the third song for the Norwich audience to really kick into action. When ‘Peaches N Cream’ dropped the show stepped up a gear with the leading single of the latest album BUSH performed flawlessly by Snoop. A run through some of his more famous featuring songs included ‘Wiggle’ which inspired more twerking throughout the tent than any Iggy Azalea performance and his verse from Katy Perry song ‘California Gurls’ kept many of the crowd moving.
The undisputed highlight though was the classic ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ sounding as huge now as it did back in 2004.
Watch Snoop Dogg’s set here
2. Foo Fighters
Closing off a weekend of brilliant music, Foo Fighters delivered a typically admirable set. When a band can open with a song like ‘Everlong’, it shows the calibre of their back catalogue.
One of the biggest main stage crowds of the weekend looked on as Foo’s tore through a pulsating ‘Monkey Wrench’, with a wonderfully raw vocal. Dave Grohl was in top form constantly dedicating songs to Taylor Swift, who Dave seemed honoured to have as his opening band.
A classic rendition of ‘Learn To Fly’ rolled on to a huge ‘Something From Nothing’. 2011s ‘Walk’ from Wasting Light followed before ‘My Hero’ added another hit to their perfect setlist. A faultless festival song in ‘Best Of You’ began to draw their set to a close with the emotional and massive chorus designed for audiences like this. ‘All My Life’ ripped through the Norwich night to close the powerful set, with fireworks lighting up the faces of those crowded at main stage.
Watch Foo Fighters’ set here
1: Taylor Swift
Easily the most anticipated set of the weekend, you couldn’t walk for 5 minutes without hearing someone talking about the anticipated set.
One of the biggest popstars in the world right now and fresh off the back of hit album 1989 (which won Kettle’s Album of The Year 2014) the set was composed of huge songs, natural charisma and a superb voice. There is no doubting that this was always going to be a highlight of the weekend.
Although the set wasn’t as long as desirable, the set went down a storm. ‘We are Never Getting Back Together’ opened to deafening noise, and a revamped ‘Love Story’ had the crowds in awe.1989 hits ‘Blank Space’ and ‘Style’ bought roars of happiness as Taylor struggled to sing over the crowd.
Ending on popular chart banger ‘Shake It Off’, the song was as huge as you’d expect for a number one single. The set managed to make us almost speechless but all we can say is that if you are fortunate enough to have tickets to Hyde Park next month you are in for a treat.
Watch three songs from Taylor Swift’s set here