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The Internet Unites in Celebrating Michael J. Fox’s Glastonbury Performance with Coldplay

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Coldplay’s set at Glastonbury Festival on Saturday night didn’t disappoint, that’s for certain. The record-breaking performance—as the first act to headline the festival for a fifth time—was filled with incredible songs, fan interactions, and cameos by other great talents. The British band brought out U.K. soul singer Laura Mvula, Palestinian-Chilean singer Elyanna, Little Simz, who had performed on the same stage just hours before, and Spanish-American singer-songwriter Victoria Canal.

The standout surprise showing, though, came from legendary actor Michael J. Fox, who showed off his guitar skills and played with the band for their songs “Humankind” and “Fix You.”

Coldplay’s lead singer Chris Martin addressed Fox’s surprise performance: “The main reason why we’re in a band is because of watching Back to the Future.”

He then thanked Fox, 63, and called him their “hero forever and one of the most amazing people on Earth.”

Interestingly, this is not Fox’s first collaboration with the legendary rock band. In 2016, Coldplay brought out Fox at MetLife Stadium, and they performed “Johnny B. Goode” in its entirety.

The 100,000-strong crowd in Somerset were rapturous in their approval and excitement in seeing the actor, who is famous for his “Johnny B Goode” guitar solo in Back to the Future, play on stage. Fox has been open about his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, which led him to officially retire from acting in 2020.

Earlier this year, Fox accepted the second annual TIME100 Impact Award—which recognizes a global trailblazer who is pushing boundaries in their industry. In his acceptance speech, Fox spoke candidly about his experience with Parkinson’s, which he was diagnosed with in 1991, at age 29. In 2000, Fox founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation to fund research in curing the disease.

“I was climbing a golden staircase, minding my own Business and suddenly I was blocked by something neither I nor anyone else could see,” he said at TIME’s event in New York City on April 25. “Time passed and no change… I was doing a lot of hiding. One thing that wasn’t going to work though, was wishing it away.”

2024 TIME100 Gala
Michael J. Fox speaks on stage at the 2024 TIME100 Gala at the Lincoln Center on April 25, 2024, in New York City.Sean Zanni/PatrickMcMullan—GettyImages

Ryan Reynolds, who is a friend of Fox and is on the board of Fox’s foundation, penned the legendary actor’s tribute on the TIME100 list of 2024, where he explained that Fox had helped his late father, who had Parkinson's, "along with millions of others, feel less alone” by being so open about his experience with the disease.

The reaction to Fox’s Glastonbury performance has been emotional not just from fans who witnessed the moment first-hand, but from online viewers, excited to see the actor back in the limelight.

One social media user pointed out “however cynical and hard bitten you are,” the only thing to feel in that performance was joy.

Elsewhere, fans were reminded of the legendary moment in Back to the Future where, after Fox’s character Marty plays “Johnny B. Goode” to little reaction, he says “Your kids are going to love it.” And as more young people got to enjoy Fox’s talent during the Glastonbury set, his words have come full circle.

Some saw the act of Coldplay bringing out Fox as a show of unity with people who have disabilities, praising it as a moment of solidarity.

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