Day three of Oxegen 2011 or 'Beyonce Day' as it will most likely be referred to in future, was without question the day that your average festival fan was anticipating the most. The Sunday crowd had swollen significantly from the that of the previous two days, with headliners Beyonce and Coldplay proving to be quite a draw for day-trippers and anyone who came to see these two acts won't have left disappointed as they both delivered a fun, and festival friendly, set.
LA rap collective OFWGKTA were the first group that entertainment.ie witnessed and their brand of authentic, raw hip-hop went down a storm in the Heineken Green Spheres tent. Band leader Tyler, The Creator was forced to spend the majority of the set sitting in a chair due to a broken leg while his band mates hyperactively jumped across the stage.
A short time later, and not knowing exactly what to expect, we visited the main stage to witness Slash. The former Guns 'n Roses axe man was joined on stage by long time collaborator Myles Kennedy who took up vocal duties as the duo, along with a solid support band, ploughed through some of the biggest hits from the G'nR back catalogue. Oldies like Mr Brownstone, Sweet Child o' Mine and Welcome to the Jungle were interspersed in the set. Slash was even joined on stage by Fergie who literally somersaulted across the stage while performing Barracuda. Who said rock 'n roll was dead?
At the relatively early time of 8.25pm it was time for Ms Knowles. The Destiny's Child alumnus was unquestionably the biggest draw of the festival and the crowd for the main stage has rarely been so large in recent Oxegen memory. Beyonce's much talked about recent performance at Glastonbury was clearly still fresh in most people's mind and the level of anticipation was incredibly high, but Beyonce certainly delivered on the massive expectation when she finally took the stage.
The tone for her performance was immediately set when the opening strains of Crazy In Love boomed from the PA system. Other notable hits All The Single Ladies, Halo and Baby Boy also followed and the aura around her performance proved that, if there was any doubt, Beyonce is a truly massive superstar.
The interesting thing about having an act on stage the size of Beyonce means that almost no-one will be at the other stages for whatever poor unfortunate bands have to compete with them. Well, over on the Vodafone stage The National were making their third Irish appearance in less than a year to a crowd populated almost entirely by huge fans. Frontman Matt Berninger revealed that the band's credit card information had been stolen when they stayed in The Clarence Hotel by an unscrupulous individual, joking that he was pretty certain Bono was behind it.
Set closer Terrible Love was the highlight of the Ohioan band's set. Berninger, as he's prone to do, elected to jump the guardrail separating band from fans and sang the final few minutes of the song amongst the fans. Definitely one of the 'moments' of the festival.
The honour of being the final act on the main stage at Oxegen 2011 was bestowed upon the ever-reliable Coldplay, who can always be called upon for such situations. Chris Martin and his band are a finely tuned machine for festival situations like this and are well-rehearsed at giving festival fans exactly what they want to see - and tunes like Yellow and In My Place anchored their set. There was even time for Christy Moore to get in on the act as he joined the band on stage to a rapturous reception.
So, that's Oxegen done for another year. While this year's festival did concentrate more on pop acts that perhaps it did in the past (Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas) it still had a little bit of something for everyone. Also, the lack of rain was a major plus. Top marks, Oxegen.
For photographs, check out Caught Out!