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Download Festival 2010 Review : Sunday Muddy Sunday
Donington Headliners Aerosmith Close the Festival
Download Festival 2010 Review : Sunday Muddy Sunday
We had agreed that first thing on Sunday morning we would be packing the tents and equipment away and storing them in the mini-bus.
From past experience we knew there could be possible trouble later on that night on the site.
The last night at Donington can be mad and in fact there was a full-scale battle in 2006 when the Leicestershire Constabulary called in the riot squad.
But even on a normal final night amongst all the snoring, farting, shouting and screaming, as well as low-flying aircraft from the East Midlands airport, you would hear the sound of tents being flattened and gas canisters exploding. So it makes sense to pack up your belongings and put them in your vehicle before heading off to the arena. It means you can simply walk straight to the car park after the show and go off on your way home overnight.
Late for the ball
By the time we were organised and after downing as many cans of beer as we could we went to catch the end of Cinderella. It was their first tour in four years and it was a shame to have missed them. Earlier we had heard the sounds of FM and Saxon coming through the woods.
They played on the Main Stage and for a while an indecipherable screaming from what must have been the 3rd stage. A reversal of hierarchical roles this announced as Classic Rock has made a comeback at Donington in the past two years at the expense of hardcore bands who used to dominate the festival.
I actually remember the relief of watching Napalm Death in 2007 simply because their singer Barney Greenway introduced each song in a laid-back, matter of fact voice. It was a real antidote to the constant shouting, swearing, "Lemme see those horns!" and "Let's get a pit going!!" of most of the American thrash bands. Unfortunately I was not seeing Napalm Death this year due to time clashes. I was also going to have to ignore Porcupine Tree once again because of the order of the line-ups.
In fact there has been a major resurgence of Classic Rock music around the world and this has been reflected in the more varied line-ups at Donington.
No more exemplified than by younger bands like Airbourne who played the 2nd Stage this evening.
But today it was the old guard playing on the Main Stage.
The appearance of FM was a late entry after Ratt had cancelled and a mere two years ago Saxon were only booked on the 3rd Stage.
Incidentally the Main Stage was named after the late Maurice Jones who established the original 'Monsters of Rock' at Donington. The current ringmaster Andy Copping did a tremendous job with this years festival in securing a fantastic line-up for the 30th anniversary of rock shows at Donington.
Is this the real life?
The tone had been set in the campsite when our tented neighbours began singing Queen's 1975 epic 'Bohemian Rhapsody' whilst sitting in a choral circle. They even included the memorable operatic sequence before headbanging their way through an acapella finale. There was sadly no crashing effect of a gong but one of the party did demolish a segment of the perimeter fence by using his head as a battering ram. Not an entirely reckless act as he was wearing a strong helmet at the time which would have been useful if security had took extreme umbrage.
It is a marathon attending these three day festivals and as a matter of fact the campsite is open for five days making it a real holiday for the Heavy Rock brother and sisterhood.
But you can feel drained by the end of it.
I was certainly feeling the effects of tiredness as we trudged along to the arena only briefly stopping to admire the collection of dozens of motorbikes parked beside the road.
Appropriately we could hear the strains of 'Gypsy Road' as we headed for the music and we caught the end of Cinderella as they rang off with 'Shake Me'. They must have ran it close as Tom Keifer tried to say something to the crowd only to find his microphone was cut off. They keep a strict timetable at Download.
It had been an intense couple of days and even in the arena there were many people lying around and some actually sleeping. You would have to be really done in or blown out to snooze through a Rock concert.
Back to Paradise City
The first complete set I watched was Slash on the Main Stage. I should really say Slash and Myles Kennedy because the Alter Bridge singer was a huge part of the success of this show. Unlike Them Crooked Vultures Slash did not restrict his gig to his latest album but instead treated us to 50 minutes of greatest hits. Therefore as well as 'Back From Cali' and 'Starlight' Myles gave fantastic renditions of Guns n' Roses classics 'Night Train', 'Rocket Queen', 'Sweet Child O' Mine' and the rousing finale of 'Paradise City' which of course drew brilliant solo guitar work from Slash.
Motorhead were due up later and in a special guest appearance one Lemmy Kilminster showed up onstage.
He sang 'Doctor Alibi' with the band which was the track he sang on the new album.
The Stone Temple Pilots would be playing later
But when the opening bassline of Velvet Revolver's 'Slither' opened up I think only the most optimistic would have expected Scott Weiland to burst onto the scene.
It was a tremendous set by Slash and his band and a thrill to witness that iconic figure treading the boards and playing that unique style of guitar sound.
Time for a break and I must admit to have been pleasantly surprised that the toilets were still in good internal condition even on the last day. It's always advisable to keep some loo roll in your pocket though as it can be too much to expect these little luxuries.
So in between acts I was side-stepping and hurdling many prostrate figures lying around the grass on my way to the portaloos. Also avoiding a giant devil chasing two girls around the field and two burly guys dressed as colourful fairies complete with tutus. I noticed one of them was sporting a Royal Marines tattoo with his tutu. Perhaps indicative of a more enlightened recruiting policy by the services.
Bedlam and Boogie
After that I crossed back over towards the 3rd Stage where I was going to watch The Jim Jones Revue who hailed from London.
Ominously there was a mass of black clouds appearing in the distant sky as the small helicopter buzzed away presumably filming the fans or ferrying the bands to and from the park.
This gig was highly anticipated by yours truly and I was not disappointed as the Jim Jones Revue were fantastic.
Little wonder that Jack White of The White Stripes and Mick Jones of The Clash are big fans.
They have all the appearance of a 21st Century band like The Hives but with a 1950's sound. Bristling with energy and attitude they simply came on to play straight down the middle Rock n' Roll.
Elliott Mortimer on piano had a leading role evoking sounds and images of Jerry Lee Lewis on rockers like 'Rock n' Roll Psychosis' and 'Princess and the Frog'. They played instant classics with a verve and vivacity that was infectious. You couldn't help but boogie to these maniacs fronted by the hyperactive Jim Jones himself. Other top tracks were 'Cement Mixer' and 'Burning Your House Down' as they wasted nothing of their brief half hour slot. Outside of the international superstars on the Main Stage they were without doubt the best band I saw all weekend.
The rain came down
It was then that our luck ran out and the rain came chucking down.
It hadn't been forecast the previous Thursday before I departed so I guess the lesson is either not to trust the Meteorological Office or get an update.
It lent some pathos to the funny comment I had seen on a girl's chest which proclaimed
"I'm not in a wet t-shirt competition ......I live in the UK".
As for myself, I wasn't properly dressed for this deluge so it was back to the 3rd Stage no matter who was playing. In the Main Arena Billy Idol was due to play but I wasn't a huge fan although I enjoyed his show here back in 2005 when he blew away the crowd on the old 2nd Stage.
The alternative was a young band called Whitechapel from Tennessee who were dominated by the constant deep growling technique of their singer Phil Bozeman. His style was even more extreme than Randy Blythe of Lamb of God the previous day. As you would expect the marquee was completely packed out possibly because of their huge fan base but probably because of the roof.
Not my cup of tea but at least their performance was dry. They seemed very popular though and put in an intense shift at maximum volume. Apparently they took their name from the area of London where Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of an evening.
A great double-act
But much to my shame my cowering under the marquee meant that I gave the legendary Motorhead a miss.
Normally they are on my 'not to be missed' list but no way was I standing out in the pouring rain.
Before I left I heard Lemmy apologising for the weather and figured that maybe he is God after all.
But having a glance over at the Main Stage later I saw that iconic figure again. It was the sight of Slash playing 'Just Cos You Got the Power' on the big screen.
I may have seen Motorhead many times and will do again but how many times will I get the chance to see Saul Hudson jam with the Godfather of Rock.
So I made a bee-line for the stage to watch the rest of Motorhead, grabbing black plastic bags on the way and even jammed a tent bag on my head.
Later on this improvised rainwear had my friends commenting that I looked like one of the Taliban. Osama Bin Liner indeed as the expression goes. Other people huddled under the canopies at burger bars before the staff hastily improvised 'No standing at the counter unless you're buying' notices which were hand-written on cardboard.
The crowd for Motorhead was probably half the size it would have been if the weather had been fair. But as Lemmy announced onstage "We are Motorhead and we play Rock n' Roll" and of course the show will go on.
You could tell the crowd were enjoying the gig with the sight of the umbrellas bobbing in the rain as they jived to 'Going to Brazil' and headbanged to 'Killed By Death'. Then through 'Ace of Spades' and 'Overkill' sexily-clad, fire-breathing women blew flames in the air behind Lemmy and Phil Campbell as Micky Dee added thunderclaps to the biblical storm.
The Germans take over
My bad luck with the camera continued as the batteries ran out and so had my money pretty much. I was too low on cash to replace them. But I literally splashed out on another pork baguette with diluted apple sauce as the pot was swimming with rain water. Then it was back to the warm comfort of the 3rd Stage where Die Apokalyptischen Reiter also packed out the place since the rain was still coming down.
Their name translates in English as 'The Apocalyptic Horsemen' which seemed highly ironic considering the weather. The keyboard player joined in the Sunday Parade wearing bizarre bondage gear while swinging a whip in between tinkling the ivories. His stage name of Dr Pest seemed an apt moniker as German dominance of Europe continues apace.
Walk This Way
After that I got a phone-call from my mates declaring that they were giving it up and heading home as the weather was getting no better.
So I missed the Stone Temple Pilots completely as we sat in the mini-bus waiting on one guy as the rain pattered on the roof.
He never answered his phone or replied to my texts so we assumed his phone had run out of power.
I volunteered to go back to try and find him especially as the rain was off and we wouldn't see him till 11 o'clock at the earliest anyway.
So I went back and saw some of Aerosmith for half an hour amongst the mud and puddles. The place was saturated as was my phone which started flashing and flickering in an alarming way. Water was getting in and its nervous system was in pieces. Not that it mattered at the time as I couldn't get through to our lost boy.
After the popular ballad 'I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing', which I certainly had, then the smooth flow of 'Sweet Emotion' they cranked up the engine with 'Baby Please Don't Go' and 'Draw the Line' the early punk-like classic. I left as Aerosmith closed their set merely hearing the intro to 'Dream On' as I headed back to the car park.
But by midnight my friend had still not arrived so two of us walked about shouting his name in the dark. Then after ten minutes it was my name I heard being called from afar in the distance. He had turned up and now it was me who was man overboard.
Fire and Water
And that was my Donington over for 2010 and with little delay in the traffic we left the park and headed home to Scotland. We had made the right decision I discovered after my friends in Red Camp contacted me later that day. They eventually decided to leave in the wee small hours as people nearby were setting their own tents on fire.
Obviously the rain must have held off to allow a dry night for the pyromaniacs to set the canvas aflame. But it was a pity it came down so heavily on Sunday beause there's nothing worse at an open-air festival than sustained and heavy rain. But we enjoyed perfect weather for two and a half days as is normal with Donington on most occasions.
It was a fantastic Download this year with lots of variety of styles and even more bands across many stages. The headliners were huge names in comparison to recent years as was the crowd capacity and there were many superb performances across the board.
I can only finish by quoting the immortal words of Ronnie James Dio,
"Long Live Rock n' Roll!"
Other Rock Reviews by Shinkicker
- Download Festival 2010 Review : Friday On My Mind
Erecting a two-person tent when you're drunk is much akin to folding custard with boxing gloves. We arrived at the Donington campsite around 7am after travelling overnight on a hired mini-bus full of anticipation and full of beer.
- Download Festival 2010 Review : Saturday in the Park
It's an annual 'Stinkfest' if you're not careful after 3 to 5 days living on a campsite in the summertime. Saturday morning saw me head for the shower units which of course were about a mile from our tents in 'Orange' Camp. No en-suite luxuries here.
- ACDC Black Ice Tour 2009
This was it! This was what we had all been waiting for after more than 8 years of starvation as the boys were back in town. The Young brothers were back in the city of their birth. What a night! What a momentous occasion!
- The Best of Italian Rock: Language No Barrier to Good Music
Why should all good Rock music be sung in English? It dominates our airwaves and yet there are many great artists out there in the non-English speaking world who have produced fantastic music but are largely ignored.