Lewis Capaldi at Glastonbury: carried in the arms of the crowd - a moving moment of beautiful compassion
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It was one of those incredible moving moments that will bring a lump to your throat for years to come.
I cannot begin to comprehend what must have gone through his head as his voice crumbled, leaving him able to mouth a few words as his tics kicked in relentlessly and unforgivingly. Tourettes is a brutal condition. The pain - physical, emotional and mental - must have been unbearable.
Alone on the stage, he could have forgiven for fleeing to the wings. Instead, with a raw honesty and profound and humble apologies, he saw it through, and, in doing so, we witnessed the very best of humanity and the power of the crowd harnessed in the most incredible way.
As over 100,000 music fans sang the words he couldn’t, they showed remarkable love for the man, tolerance, and understanding of what he was going through - his tics were evident from the very beginning of his set - and wrapped a huge arm around his shoulder and showed him nothing other than love and compassion. Had Capaldi opted to crowd surf, they’d have carried him round the entire perimeter of Glastonbury without letting him touch the ground such was the strength of support.
The picture of him resting on the mic stand listening to the crowd engulf him with his own song will surely be one of the defining images of 2023. It was a profoundly moving moment.
Capaldi has done more for mental health than any Government initiative simply by showing the challenges he faces, and being completely transparent about them. I only came to his music through his remarkable Netflix documentary which captured all sides of the man - the sharp, daft wit, the fragility and vulnerability, and the ability to send himself up without so much as a blush.
I cannot think of any other global star who would speak so honestly about the mental health challenges they have faced, let alone allow cameras to document his tics at their very, very worst. It was genuinely difficult to watch - but at the same time, his own unvarnished humour and spirit shone through, and, with the clear love of his family, you left knowing that he was cared for in the most down to earth of ways.
We have tickets to his Alhambra Theatre gig in just a few weeks. It would be astonishing to see someone of his stature in such an intimate setting, but that doesn’t matter right now.
After Glastonbury, you just want Capaldi to find strength and peace. He is immersed in an industry which offers no respite - his concerts, songs and albums sustain an entire business operation; one that doesn’t factor in time off for illness. The pressures that come with that alone can be crushing.
At 26 he has crafted two outstanding albums, and a host of ballads that tackle grief, loss and love in ways which have touched millions. There is so much more to come. He possesses the sort of voice that you want to hear age over the decades, and age well - there is absolutely nothing he can’t achieve, but finding respite from the mental health issues which are crippling him is far, far more important.