Thursday 18 January 2018

Oxegen's tents are about to shake -- are you ready?

Make sure you've got your ticket for this year's instalment of breathtaking acts, writes Barry Egan


Ditch Mary Mac-Aleese. David McSavage should train his beady eye on Beyonce instead.

Forbes magazine recently claimed that she was more powerful than the first speaker of the US House of Representatives, the secretary of homeland security, two supreme court judges and the prime minister of Australia.

Q magazine put it differently when they had her on the cover in 2003: 'Sex. Power. Booty! Beyonce -- The Ass That Shook The World'.

In two weeks, Beyonce is going to shake Ireland, or at the very least Punchestown Racecourse. The former Destiny's Child singer with that globe-wobbling derriere is one of the highlights of an already great three days of music. It will be the performance of the summer and then some.

I met Beyonce about seven years ago. She had just become the modern icon of black power and black feminism, the queen of new soul; yet she was nice as apple pie.

Over lunch in Paris, she told me how she had remained in control of her own sanity in spite of the international superstardom.

"It's really difficult to stay sane and to stay humble and to stay grounded, because there are so many 'yes' people around," she said.

"And I think that's why it's important for you to have people around you who are not scared of losing their jobs."

And she was not afraid to eat. "I don't want to be skinny," Beyonce, who was born in Houston, Texas, on September 4, 1981, told me.

"I like the fact that I look like a normal person."

As she sang on 'Crazy in Love', the song of the summer of 2003, "I don't think you ready for this jelly".

Let's hope Oxegen '11 is ready for Beyonce's jelly on Sunday, July 10, at Denis Desmond's fab festival.

Other delights include The Script and The Strokes on the opening night, Friday.

On the Saturday night, you have a whole array of white-hot acts: Foo Fighters, Liam Gallagher's brilliant new band Beady Eye and Plan B, among many others.

Imelda May is also one of the stars of the Saturday night at Oxegen '11. I saw her in Hamburg three weeks ago (The Last Tycoons were incendiary in support on the night) and she was sublime.

Also on Saturday night are my personal favourites, Arctic Monkeys. Their new album, Suck It And See, is almost as good as their debut; and in other ways, it is better.

Lead singer Alex Turner neatly sidestepped The Observer's attempt to proclaim him as a spokesperson for his generation recently. He said: "I just don't think I'm equipped to soundtrack the times. There might be someone out there who can do that, but I haven't cracked it. To quote another songwriter who had a crack at that, it ain't me, babe ... "

On the Sunday night, there are Coldplay, The National, Slash, Primal Scream playing Screamadelica, Fight Like Apes and, among many, many others, The Saturdays. I am particularly looking forward to seeing the Manic Street Preachers. I met Manic bassist Nicky Wire on the street in Dublin recently, the day the Queen arrived in Dublin.

We had a chat about Her Maj (he is not a fan, suffice to say), Morrissey (he loved Mozza's anti-monarchy comments), and the movie The King's Speech -- he said he hated the movie for what he called "humanising the royal family". Let's hope they are just as colourful on stage in two weeks' time.

Oxegen '11 Friday, July 8-10 -- tickets still on sale. Tel 24 hrs 08442774455

Sunday Independent

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