When Kenny Rogers ruled Glastonbury with a singalong of 'Islands in the Stream' and country hits
21 June 2023, 11:07
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Glastonbury Festival's legend slot is one of the most watched performances across the festival's weekend.
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For the most part, the icons of popular music that perform on the Sunday afternoon slot bring in bigger audiences than even the headliners can.
Though, his hour-long performance got off to a slow start due to a likely partied-out crowd, and Kenny admitting that this was a new environment for him.
"What's wrong with this picture? Glastonbury and Kenny Rogers? I'm so far out of my comfort zone."
Kenny Rodgers Glastonbury
With his bevvy of iconic country tunes, he was soon calling the shots, and by the time he started playing 'Through The Years' he had the 80,000-strong crowd in his pocket.
At the age of 74, the Grammy Award-winning artist's voice was as strong and characterful as ever, especially on the likes of 'Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)', 'Have a Little Faith in Me', and 'Lady'.
Showing his wry sense of humour and rapport with the crowd, he even teased them about their singing (or lack of) during 'Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town'.
"That's so bad. Never mind, I'll do it myself!" Kenny joked with a huge smile on his face.
By the time he got to classics like 'The Gambler' and 'Lucille', he couldn't stop them from chanting every word back at him:
"So now you want to sing! But for God's sake, stop swaying. You look like thousands of Ray Charleses."
Kenny Rogers - Islands in the Stream at Glastonbury 2013
To cap off a terrific set, he finished with 'Islands In The Stream' and received a rapturous response.
Performing his Dolly Parton duet with an upbeat tempo, Kenny mirrored the energy of the masses coming to watch him. And the crowd got exactly what they came for.
Lifelong friend Dolly would also go on to perform the song a year later in 2014, as she occupied the iconic legends slot herself.
Kenny ended his Glastonbury set with an encore of 'The Gambler' and 'Islands In The Stream', because when you're an icon of his stature, you can do what you want and people love you all the more for it.
After his beloved Worthy Farm set, Kenny described the performance as one of his "top five experiences".
"There is so much energy when you get out there, and I'm lucky to have had the type of songs that people love to sing along with."
Five years later in 2018 Kenny would retire from the public eye due to his battle with bladder cancer, which he tragically succumbed to in March of 2020.
His fans from far and wide will still be singing his songs for years to come, there's no doubt about it.