He didn't play 'My Lovely Horse.'
What do the Divine Comedy have in common with Loaded magazine, Chris Evans and Hooch alcoholic drinks? They all had their career peaks in the mid 1990s and everything they have done since has been a pale shadow of their best years.
Backed by a full band line up (watch yourself Neil, you wouldn't want to have to sack all of this lot as well) the musical accompaniment was large and plentiful but this is not where the appeal of the Divine Comedy lies. No, its all about the lyrical wordplay and the cleverness of Neil Hannon, the genius song writer of 'My Lovely Horse' and the theme tune from Father Ted.
With 'National Express' bounding into life early and charming the crowd who lustily sang along to the backing vocals, it was hoped that the set may include all the old favourites and pick the festival up a bit and make the Saturday night come alive.
The lyrical word play came to the fore of 'Generation Sex' where he puts the boot into the evil tabloids and their role in the death of Princess Diana. Given that he puts himself up as some sort of social commentary maker, it may also have been prevalent for Hannon to launch into an attack on the hysterical and nauseating outpouring of grief undertaken by the British public over this death.
Anyone who truly wanted to comment on everyday life couldn't have failed to have been moved either positively or negatively by this incident but no, Hannon found it easier to make a quick pop at the press and then get back to rhyming couplets about boys and girls. Why take a risk in writing a controversial lyric when you can write easy ones that will sell records, that's where the real cleverness lies.
Tragically, the set takes a downturn after this with Hannons newer material becoming a parody of his former good self. Song titles such as 'Queen of The South' and lyrical topics concering ladies of a certain age, its easy to imagine Hannon sitting down to write this album and picturing what the public expects of him. In trying to be whimsical and like the Hugh Grant character of Four Weddings and A Funeral, Hannon has managed to stifle nay creativity he once had.
The makish songs in tribute to his mother and then daughter were nauseating, the latter featuring a nursery rhyme like guitar motif and smacked less of touching tribute and instead of a shortcut to TV soundtracks and compilation albums.
When previous hits such like 'Becoming More Like Alfie' and 'Something For The Weekend' arrive, the talent of the man is on show and not many in the past decade have written songs that much up to this level. Unfortunately, the track that likened love to a war also has little rivals in song writing ability in recent years but is at the opposite end of the market. A truly turgid song with lyrics that would embarrass a 15 year old starting out brought the show to an pitiful end.
Neil, do yourself a favour, and sack yourself from your current songwriting style.