IT was ironic that the most iconic moment during TRNSMT on Saturday came during its most racious performance.

The tinge of sadness and defiance in the face of death was not just because Liam Gallagher’s rapturously received performance of the Oasis classic Live Forever was dedicated to those who died in 9/11 on the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.

The anthem also served as a two fingers to the Covid pandemic which has claimed so many lives, a glorious celebration of both the life-affirming abilities of rock’n’roll and the human spirit’s determination to survive even the toughest challenges.

Gallagher’s headlining set on the main stage was full of thrilling moments, most of them unsurprisingly coming from the Oasis songbook. Opening the set with Hello, Gallagher was greeted by the crowd like the rock legend he is. Other Oasis classics peppered throughout the set included Rock’n’Roll Star, Roll With It, Supersonic, Aquiesce and Cigarettes and Alcohol.

Gallagher’s own songs didn’t quite match up, but then what does? Fans streaming out the festival site had to abruptly change direction when Gallagher made a surprise return to the stage to encourage a final mass singalong to Wonderwall to close the day with a truly magical moment.

READ MORE: Festival-goers celebrate on their return to Glasgow's TRNSMT

The former Oasis singer had been preceded on stage by Scotland’s own Primal Scream, whose set has morphed into a hits-packed steamroller unmatched by any other rock band currently treading the boards.

Previous Primal Scream gigs have lacked momentum and pacing, for some reason throwing excitement out the window with mid-set dirges. Not tonight. Every second counted as the set built from Movin’ On Up and Swastika Eyes to wham bam thank you ma’am solid gold classics such Rocks and Country Girl.

An inspiring day underlined Joni Mitchell’s lament that don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone? We probably took the whole festival experience for granted until the pandemic brought live music shuddering to a halt in 2020.

There was no mistaking the euphoria which greeted the return of the TRNSMT festival to Glasgow Green this weekend after a two-year break. Everywhere you looked there were smiles as regular festival-goers were reminded of the pleasures and the odd pain of live music in the great outdoors.

After long months of lockdown being thrust into a festival site bursting with bright colours, big crowds and a bewildering range of music coming from all directions was a glorious assault on the senses.

An emotional Geoff Ellis, the festival director, was obviously moved to see the audience flooding back into the site.

"The festival means so much to people and it really reminds you how much we’ve all missed live music. You can see that from the crowd’s reaction so its amazing be able to offer their first gig experience in such a long time, " he said.

Festivals had come to be regarded as a rite of passage for the young in the modern world but for some that rite has been denied. While Covid kept us all indoors the young have been robbed of the opportunity to hang out with friends in parks and beaches, forced to wait for that first date, that first drink in the pub and, yes, that first festival experience.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this year’s TRNSMT was, the odd casualty of the demon drink aside, how well behaved most of the crowd were when faced with their first opportunity to go crazy outside.

Well, not quite the first. Last weekend the Riverside Festival brought back the atmosphere of a rave to the banks of the Clyde. And on Thursday Biffy Clyro soared to new heights during an emotional performance at Glasgow Green.

READ MORE: Viral TikTok star Nathan Evans kickstarts day two of TRNSMT music festival

But TRNSMT was the biggest event yet and the fans seized the moment to make it a festival to remember. They threw themselves into the day, bellowing along with the bands and to the hits played during the intervals. The noise was deafening as Erasure’s A Little Respect played through the PA after darkness fell.

The main acts may be the main drivers of ticket sales but it was exhilarating to be reminded that the main stage is just a part of the whole festival experience. The fun at TRNSMT started just as you reached the main gate, when your ears were assaulted an enthusiastic performance by a solo drummer encouraged joyous dancing before many people had even reached the entrance.

Inside the bars were doing good business, no-faff zones offered a chance to chill out, music was everywhere. It was a reminder of what Covid took from us and a celebration of the return of good times.

The spectre of Covid had not entirely been banished. The audience were told they needed a negative later flow test to enter the site. West Lothian indie band The Snuts had to pull out the festival at short notice after a band member tested positive.

The bands themselves were sometimes relegated to a backing band for the crowd itself. Even Friday’s headliner Courteeners were joined by the mass vocals of an audience who had clearly come to party.

The National:

I have to admit the band’s routine anthems don’t do much for me. The highlight for me was Griff’s late afternoon performance at the second stage. Her strong vocals, sassy lyrics, impossibly huge chorus and irrepressible rhythms add up to pure pop magic. She’s going to be huge.

But it wasn’t until Saturday that TRNSMT was an effective reminder that the true strength of festivals: the sometimes jarring effect of walking through the site soaking up the diversity of the different genres fighting for attention.

So here’s an insight into just 90 minutes in the early afternoon yesterday. Start with the main stage and Irish rockers Picture This, pretty much picking off where the Courteeners left off the previous night to less effect. Big choruses, over-dramatic vocals … but the audience took them to their hearts obviously believing that any rock music is better than no rock music.

Moving quickly on to the King Tut’s stage, host the previous day to not just Griff (below) but also to a performance by Little Simz which was the talk of the steamie but I missed because I opted to give you the lowdown on the main headliners. These are the sacrifices I make for Sunday National readers.

The National:

On Saturday afternoon it was rapper Miraa May’s turn to woo a relatively small but enthusiastic audience with smooth feminist anthems with a slow burn appeal.

But a few steps away comic punk rockers were tearing up the River Stage with an enthusiastic throwback 1977 rush that refused to take itself too seriously. They provide a fun moment when they ordered the audience to crouch down on to jump up in a happy frenzy when the music kicked back in.

READ MORE: Scottish band The Snuts pull out of TRNSMT after positive Covid test

Leaving that stage the iconic Glasgow chant of "Here we, here we, here we f****** go’’ bade us farewell and simultaneously welcomed us to the Boogie Bar, where the DJ was expertly fusing a free jazz saxophone solo with ever-building jazz beats.

To be honest I’d have been happy to spend the rest of the day there but there was still time to catch British rapper and acclaimed "influencer’’ KSI on the main stage. Obviously affected by a massive audience response he delivered one of the festival’s best sets and whipped up amazing audience feedback.

It’s this amazing melange of different styles, personalities and genres which make festivals so much more than the sum of their parts. Today’s line-up is similarly diverse before The Chemical Brothers are due to blow what’s left of frazzled minds and signal the end of a triumphant return.