Springsteen, Grohl, Lennon and… Depp. What was Paul McCartney thinking?

Glastonbury 2022 has already presented us with some real highlights, from Olivia Rodrigo and Lily Allen’s highly charged and rousing response to the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade and reverse 50 years of reproductive rights, to Greta Thunberg calling the “forces of greed” on the Pyramid Stage. Billie Eilish was the youngest solo headliner of all time and impressed in true Generation Z fashion.

The oldest headliner was, of course, Paul McCartney – you know, that guy from the Beatles. I grew up listening to McCartney’s voice, in the car and on vinyl. We were a Beatles family, and as a kid I would spin around the room to “Twist and Shout”. McCartney always seemed more of a steady genius, the less flashy, more unassuming glue that held the band together; the man behind “Let It Be” and “Blackbird”, the vibrant pleasure of “Get Back” – and the enduring beauty of “Hey Jude”.

McCartney fans were rewarded with a two-hour, 50-minute set Saturday night that spanned his 60-year career. He played 36 songs in total, to a massive crowd considered the biggest at the festival since Dolly Parton in 2014. Some fans staked their seats 12 hours before the Beatles’ backbone began its performance.

Paul McCartney would have won over the crowd all by himself, but with such a long set, it was inevitable that he would bring in some big names to share the stage. Beloved rock legends Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters joined him, and he later performed a duet with isolated vocals from the late John Lennon – taken from “I’ve Got A Feeling” at the Beatles’ concert in 1969.

The wrong note in a landmark performance by someone who shaped the music’s direction forever was McCartney’s decision to play a video of Johnny Depp on the giant screen. It’s a clip he’s used before, including on tour in the U.S., while the hateful circus of the Depp v Heard libel trial was underway, and broadcast live from a Virginia courthouse as an unmissable soap opera of private turmoil turned to public humiliation.

No matter how you feel about Depp and his lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, it’s undeniable that he’s not on the same level as musicians like Springsteen or Grohl, and his video inclusion certainly doesn’t carry Lennon’s emotional impact.

Of course, he’s dabbled in music throughout his career – appearing on the soundtracks of at least two of his own films and featuring music by Iggy Pop, his first wife Vanessa Paradis, Aerosmith, Oasis, Shane MacGowan and Marilyn Manson, the rocker. of shock currently accused by at least five women, including actor and musician Evan Rachel Wood, of sexual assault, psychological abuse and/or various forms of coercion, violence and intimidation. Manson denies all charges. Depp also formed the “supergroup” Hollywood Vampires with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, and was on tour with Jeff Beck when the verdict was announced in Virginia.

To stay up to date with all the latest opinions and comments, sign up for our free weekly Voices Dispatches newsletter, clicking here

Depp has since released a new song with Beck, a “hypocritical nose scrub” from their upcoming joint album. 18, about – what else? – the trappings of fame. He wasted no time in capitalizing on the public support, fueled by social media, that he enjoyed during his civil trial. McCartney’s decision to use the music video for his 2012 track “My Valentine,” featuring Depp playing guitar and reciting the song’s lyrics in sign language, will be part of bolstering Depp’s newly revitalized image.

McCartney’s use of the Depp video can only be interpreted as a public statement of support. It’s a shame, but not unexpected. Men stand by their friends, even in cases where their partner lost a UK libel case for being described as a “wife beater” – the abuse allegations were found to be “substantially true” by the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Seeing the Beatle and the Boss together on stage was a real highlight, but maybe it’s time to let go of the old whites – and make way for more vibrant, fresh voices. Those who dismiss videos of men texting women like this: “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I’m going to fuck her burned corpse afterward to make sure she’s dead…”

follow The Independents Glastonbury’s live blog here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.