Given the sums at risk, there was little room for the organisers of this weekend’s Glastonbury Festival to take a chance with their top acts.
But the choice of Coldplay, U2, and Beyoncé headlining over the three nights diluted the anarchic spirit of rock and roll to a degree that Rolf Harris would have been more dangerous.
I tried to watch all three televised sets on the Pyramid stage but there was only one I made through to the end.
Fireworks and lasers do not a rock group make. Coldplay must be the most over-rated band in the world. My patience couldn’t survive beyond 10 minutes before I was driven away by Chris Martin’s dirges.
I didn’t fare much better with U2. I was never into Bono and the boys 30 years ago and nothing has changed in the intervening years. I just don’t get U2 but I accept the fault could be mine.
If sheer entertainment is the measure of excellence, as the festival organisers seem to believe, Beyoncé, on the other hand, has it all.
Beautiful, sexy, a great dancer and the possessor of an outstanding voice, as she reminded us when she sung Etta James’s At last. She is adored by her fans and makes it seem the feeling is mutual..
Beyoncé would have been a success in any age. If the fashion of the time was blues, jazz, ballads, pop, or rock her services would be in demand. This is what distances the singer from her contemporaries of either sex.
When she finishes touring, Beyoncé might find her natural home in regular residence in Las Vegas. And why not, if it was good enough for Elvis?
I’m not familiar with the American scene to know whether there are other artists blessed with the same talent. If there are any on this side of the Atlantic, I’m afraid they've escaped my notice. Perhaps you can tell me?
Only one Brit to my mind comes even close and that’s Dusty Springfield. Twelve years after her death, she remains one of the most distinctive voices in popular music.