The Who say they replaced Prince at Glastonbury: “He decided not to come”

Photo by Joshua Mellin

The Who closed out Glastonbury’s Sunday lineup with a crowd-pleasing set and unique lighting. However, it turns out a different rock legend was originally slated to perform at the UK festival: Prince.

Apparently, Pete Townshed and the boys stepped in to replace The Purple One last minute. The interesting booking tidbit was revealed by a member of the band’s crew (whom NME identified as their sometimes keyboardist) in a lengthy post on The Who’s official website. “Not many know that we were a last-months addition to the show, replacing Prince who decided not to come this year,” the message reads. Though rumors of Prince playing had been few, the story adds up time-wise — The Who were only confirmed as the final headliner in May, weeks after the official lineup had been initially announced.

Elsewhere in the post, the author claims that the band’s equipment had been tampered with prior to their set. “As we began to prepare our coming changeover, we found someone had sabotaged the carefully-tested audio connections for much of our gear,” the person writes. “We’ve never seen that before, but we’re good at plugging things in, so all damage was repaired in time. Was it Mr. Weller or Lionel, no way. Dalai Lama — hmmm … he did steal the show already.” He adds that there were a number of sound issues during the set, and that Townshed thought it was “one of the very worst the band had ever played,” though his bandmates didn’t all agree.

The crew member also mentions a number of Glastonbury highlights, including the set of Florence and the Machine, who filled in for the injured Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters. The Who didn’t seem too impressed by Kanye West’s earth-shattering performance though, saying he did “very little specifically but bring a brilliant and massive lighting rig – and then claim to be the ‘greatest rock and roll star in the world.’ Hmmm… ‘rock’ even?” No surprise, then, that Townshend entered set-closer “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by asking, “Who’s the biggest rock star in the world?”

Read the full post here.


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