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11-13 June 2010
Friday 11 June
thirty years since the first ever Monsters Of Rock show took place right
here at Castle Donington race track. A one day festival headlined by
Rainbow that also featured other heavy metal classic acts such as Judas
Priest, Scorpions and Saxon. Just over 35,000 fans turned up that day.
the festival has grown into mammoth proportions. Now named the Download
Festival since 2003, the festival attracts over 100,000 punters that now
runs for three days, has five stages(Six if you include the one that
AC/DC have brought along.) and features over a hundred different artists
all clamming for our attention.Whatever you taste in rock music, you can
be guranteed of finding something of interest at any given time.
turned down the chance of camping in the V.I.P area which was directly
just a few minutes away from the main stage, as my friends (Who had
brought my camping gear up to the festival the night before.) were
camping in the quieter family area, which was a fifty minute hike away
situated just off Leicester city High Street.
tent was set up and chilling out for a few moments with my first beer of
the day ,it was another marathon walk back to the main arena to catch
some of the days acts.
raining the day before, luckily the sun came out and the fun began.
Upon checking out the merchandise stall i noticed the event t-shirts
which featured all the bands names appearing over the weekend on the
back omitted the AC/DC logo.
exercise designed to fool people into departing with their hard earned
cash on buying a t-shirt of the headliners rather than money going to
the coffers of the promoters, a trick which Iron Maiden used a few years
ago at Wacken. I know t-shirts are big buisness but give the fans
what they want. In the end I decided to buy neither a AC/DC or a
Download t-shirt. (Saxon got my money a couple of days later.)
It's been 25
years since I first came to Donington back in 1985, back then it was one
stage and six bands. Everybody saw the same acts and went home
with the same story. With so many stages and bands on stage at the
same time meant that at the end of the day, you can still only manage to
catch 7-8 bands a day.
drummer Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders were packing out the
Bedroom Jam.com tent with many left outside listening in.
I went off
to see Tyketto at the Pepsi Max stage. Danny Vaughn still has a
fine voice and the band left me feeling forever young.
Killswitch Engage (who are here for the third time in four years,
having been late replacements for Wolfmother) were the first of many to
pay tribute to Ronnie James Dio with their hit cover of 'Holy Diver'. A
powerful performance that really got the Download party started.
on the bill was Them Crooked Vultures , a supergroup which are
not quite that super. Although it is a joy to see Led Zeppelin bassist
John Paul Jones doing some mesmerizing stuff on the bass and keyboards
along with drummer Dave Grohl and Josh Homme on vocals and guitar, their
brand (bland?) of technical rock just simply bores me after a few
minutes. At a festival I want to party rock'n roll , not snooze
from a distance and noticed that there were just as many people waiting
in front of the stage on the left for AC/DC as there were watching the
Vultures on the main stage.
For My Valentine were on stage at the same time over at the Ronnie
James Dio stage and had pulled in a sizeable crowd filling up that
portion of the field winning over the fans with new tracks from their
new album 'Fever'.
Them Crooked Vultures set there was a nice minute applause for the many
fallen rock idols of the past year. Pictures were displayed on the
big screen as we all cheered and remembered the greatness of Ronnie
James Dio, Slipnot's Paul Gray, Stereophonic Stuart Cable, Pete Steele
of Type O Negative, Mike Alexander from Evile, Avenged Sevonfold drummer
Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan and Maurice Jones ,one of the original
promoters of the Monsters Of Rock and whom the main stage was named
after this weekend.
accomodate their huge stage show AC/DC had there own stage which
would remain empty for the rest of the weekend. No other bands on
the other stages were to play at the same time as our Aussie heroes
which meant that AC/DC had by far the largest crowd over the weekend
which stretched back far as the eye could see. The band belong
here and is their fourth headling appearence here, the last time being
back in 1991.
stage to a steaming 'Rock 'N Roll Train' AC/DC had the crowd cheering
them on as the band gave us some much needed high voltage rock 'n roll.
hair seems to grown a lot longer since he was last on these shores.
Brain Johnson making the most of the ramp that led out into the crowd
with arms held wide.
The set list
was almost identical to one from last year and was my only quibble, but
an AC/DC show is a lesson on how to rock at the very top.
Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd keep a very tight rhythm at the back
whilst also keeping a low profile making sure the band don't de-rail.
Jack' Brain Johnson said ''If ya wanna get 'em off, go for it girls''
for which many beauties obliged getting their lubbly jubblies out for
the camera to show on the big screen for the cheering crowd. Even
Angus Young joins in the fun for his naughty school boy routine
stripping down to his shorts.
Bells' and 'Shoot To Thrill' ups the ante. The great heavy artillery of
'War Machine' from the latest album 'Black Ice' rocks heavy. We
get the inflatable Rosie that goes down after 'that' song. 'Let
There Be Rock ended the main set which saw Angus being raised on a
platform for his prolonged solo.
for 'For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)' didn't have much gunpowder
in them this time but AC/DC still blew me away, in what could well be
the last time we may ever see the band in the UK.
back in my tent was a bottle of red wine with my name on it. Through the
crowds it took me over a hour to reach my campsite and annoyingly
another half a hour to find my tent as I had forgotten where i pitched
it. (Well it was dark.) The wine went down very well thank you
AC/DC set list : Rock 'N Roll Train / Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be /
Back In Black / Big Jack / Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap / Shot Down In
Flames / Thunderstruck / Black Ice / The Jack / Hell's Bells / Shoot To
Thrill / War Machine / High Voltage / You Shook Me All Night Long /
T.N.T / Whole Lotta Rosie /Let There Be Rock ...encores .. Highway To
Hell / For Those About To Rock(We Salute You)
Review and photos by Mark Taylor
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