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Dua Lipa live at Glastonbury: a pop show for the ages

With slick pop production to rival a top arena show, Dua's true Glastonbury arrival is a complete triumph.

4.0 rating

By Nick Reilly

Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa headlining Glastonbury 2024 (Picture: Joe Maher/Getty Images)

To start: a full disclosure. When Dua Lipa released her third album Radical Optimism in May, this very RSUK writer gave it three stars. It was disjointed, I thought, with a handful of great singles let down by a collection of overstuffed ideas. It hardly felt like the album that would increase anticipation and excitement for a headline slot on Glastonbury‘s Pyramid Stage this summer.

And yet, I stand here half corrected. I still don’t love all of that record, but one thing is at least true: Dua Lipa knows how to deliver a pop show for the ages. It’s a 90 minute masterclass that effortlessly flits between banger-upon-banger and then, later on, a masterful production that turns the Pyramid Field into the biggest techno party on Earth.

It starts with her dancers anchored on the spot in a dystopian Running Man-esque montage, before the psych-tinged sounds of ‘Training Season’ – one of her latest album’s standouts – kicks things off with an almighty bang.

From here, it’s straight into ‘One Kiss’, which immediately sees fans igniting flares across the Pyramid field. It’s matched in kind by Dua – an explosive rendition of ‘Levitating’ sees the singer launch so many fireworks that you’re left wondering if she’s blown the entire budget on one song.

It’s clear, then, that the scale of the occasion is not lost on Dua, and her interactions with the crowd reflect this too. She tells the crowd of a childhood desire to headline Glastonbury and admits that her plan for it was “really specific”.

“I said I wanted to headline the Pyramid Stage on a Friday night, because then I knew I could party for the next two days” she says.

Another dream, she explains, comes true as she’s joined by Tame Impala‘s Kevin Parker for the latter’s psych-banger ‘The Less I Know The Better’ – the only special guest of the night too. It’s followed by the live debut of ‘How Long’, which feels like one of the weaker moments. There’s still something about that song that feels like a middling Eurovision effort, even more so when you realise that early hits like 2017’s ‘Hotter Than Hell’ were left out.

Still, it’s the smallest of misfires. By the time that the third portion of the set rolls around, Dua and her brilliant band and dancers have transformed the Pyramid Stage into the biggest techno party around by themselves. A “new, New Rules” as she describes it, sees that song mixed in with Bicep’s club banger ‘Glue’ – immediately sparking one of the biggest reactions of the night.

Aencore rolls around with the fierce futuristic pop of ‘Physical’ and the closing psych-bounce of ‘Houdini’, the Pyramid Stage feels fit to explode with joy. Full hands up here, the grin on my face barely subsides for the following two hours.

All considered, it’s a polished pop masterclass and one of the most relentlessly fun headline sets to have graced the Pyramid Stage in recent years.

You can check back here for all of Rolling Stone UK’s Glastonbury content over the weekend.