Coldplay let late movie icon Charlie Chaplin speak for them at the beginning of their Glastonbury festival set on Sunday night (26Jun16).
As fans awaited the band’s headlining set to close what festival boss Michael Eavis has called the muddiest Glastonbury ever, Chaplin’s speech from his 1940 satire The Great Dictator was played.
The movie moment was clearly carefully chosen as a reaction to Thursday’s (23Jun16) ‘Brexit’ vote, when millions of Brits voted to leave the European Union for the first time since the 1940s.
In the film, which denounces Adolf Hitler, fascism and anti-Semitism, Chaplin played both a Jewish barber and a fascist dictator.
Fans listened as the speech began: “The Kingdom of God is within man – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.
“We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.”
Chris Martin and his bandmates were among a handful of musicians who addressed the Brexit referendum vote at Glastonbury – Damon Albarn, James and Bastille were also dismayed by the shock verdict.
Coldplay then kicked off their set with A Head Full of Dreams and their 2000 hit Yellow.
They couldn’t stop the rain, which poured steadily throughout their set, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the band.
“This is our favourite place in the world!” Martin told the estimated 100,000 fans, who had braved the conditions to see the group close out Glastonbury 2016.
The singer added, “We came here a little bit scared about the state of the world, but just seeing the vibe at Glastonbury makes me think people are great and together we can do wonderful, wonderful things. Thank you for restoring my faith in the world.”
The band also paid tribute to the late great Muhammad Ali by projecting an image and footage of the boxing legend being interviewed in the late 1970s on the screen after a performance of Everglow.
Coldplay also honoured Viola Beach, the four young British rockers who died in a car crash while on tour in Sweden in February (16).
Chris Martin and his bandmates performed a track written by the band, and Martin explained their deaths hit him hard because Viola Beach “reminded us of ourselves in our early days”.
“We’re going to create Viola Beach’s alternative future for them and let them play Glastonbury for a song,” he added. “This would have been them (Viola Beach) in 20 years.” A live performance of the band’s Boys That Sing was beamed onto a large screen onstage as Coldplay played along.