Beyonce Overwhelmed As She Closes Glastonbury

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June 26, 2011 | 9:35pm EST

Beyonce paid an emotional tribute to her family, friends, and fans during a triumphant headline set at Britain’s Glastonbury festival on Sunday night.
The former Destiny’s Child star took to the main stage to close the three-day event, becoming the first woman ever to play in the iconic festival’s headline slot.

And she was clearly overwhelmed by performing in front of a crowd of more than 170,000 people on the last night of the world’s biggest rock festival.

The Crazy in Love hitmaker frequently addressed the crowd between songs to thank them for their support and to express her delight at realising her dream of playing a major festival.

As her husband Jay-Z and pal Gwyneth Paltrow watched from the security pit in front of the stage, Beyonce performed a hits-packed set and even found time for some cover versions – she ran through a rendition of the Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire and inserted a section of Alanis Morissette’s You Oughta Know into her track If I Were a Boy.

She also sang her version of Etta James’ hit At Last, as images of President Barack Obama were beamed onto her stage backdrop.

She invited the audience to join her in a mass singalong to Irreplaceable and invited fans to sing Happy Birthday to music mogul Steve Stoute, who was also watching from the pit.

Rumors had earlier swirled that Beyonce was planning an onstage reunion of Destiny’s Child but the speculation was quashed when she gave Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams a shout out “back in the U.S.” before launching into a medley of her former band’s hits, including Independent Women, Bootylicious, and Say My Name.

During her closing track, Halo, film footage of festival-goers over the three days was projected onto the backdrop, and Beyonce asked, “Can I come down and join you all?” before she was helped off the stage into the security pit and walked the entire width of the crowd, shaking hands and posing for photographs.

She told the audience, “I’ve done a lot of things in my life but I have never performed in front of 175,000 people… I do say thank you, Glastonbury. A girl, a woman, a young lady, has not headlined… so this is history to me… Once again, thank you all for this beautiful night. I will never forget it.”