Sir Mick Jagger, sporting skinny black jeans and a green and gold sequinned blazer, danced his famous peacock strut across the Pyramid stage as a mass of 170,000 fans swelled, danced and sang every word to Stones hits.
The blockbuster two-and-a-half hour set opened with some of their best known tunes, with Jumpin' Jack Flash, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It), and Paint It Black – in a departure from their 50th anniversary celebrations last year.
As the sun went down over Worthy Farm, a flame-throwing phoenix on top of Pyramid stage brought to an end a totemic performance that most thought would never happen. The phoenix was reputedly commissioned personally by festival organiser Michael Eavis, whose lifetime aim to see Jagger and co on the Pyramid stage was finally realised 43 years after it first took place.
And in a nod to the tortuous behind-the-scenes negotiations between the pair, Jagger joked that the organisers had "finally got round to asking us" to top the bill. "It's great to be here doing this show, doing this festival," he said after belting out It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It).
"They were amazing," said Gordon Richardson, 55, from Utoxeter, a lifelong Stones fan who is going to see his favourite band in Hyde Park, central London, next month in the Barclaycard British Summer Time festival. "2000 Light Years from Home was out of this universe."
Contrary to the rumours, there was no guest appearance from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry or Taylor Swift – but Mick Taylor, who famously left the Stones in 1974, did make an appearance.
Capacity for the Pyramid stage was increased to 100,000 especially for the gig, with dozens of tents shifted back and fans squeezed in around the edges for the headline slot. Fans to the far left of the stage chanted "Turn it up! Turn it up!" shortly after the set started at 9.30pm and as the day's blue skies were replaced by cloud.
But when the famous foursome finished with You Can't Always Get What You Want, the complaints had been replaced by adulation.
"It was really good but it could've been a little bit louder," said Corrie Davies, 29, who was one of hundreds filing away from the Pyramid stage to catch an impromptu DJ set by Fatboy Slim elsewhere on the site. "In the middle it was fantastic but it was too hot though – I had to come out."
Jagger, who turns 70 next month, finished with (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and saw the headline slot out with fireworks. Rivals for fans' attention came in the form of drum and bass outfit Chase & Status on the Other stage, indie band Hurts in the John Peel tent and Public Enemy on the West Holts stage.
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