LIVE: Download Festival – Donington 2011
So, it’s finished for 2011. Donington’s Download Festival that is. A lot of good music, great people, heaps of boozing and way to much mud and rain (on the Sunday). As usual after a festival I feel worn out and too old but it’s always worth it. The memories are there for life and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Me and my crew arrived on Friday afternoon, realized we’d forgotten the pegs for the tent but with a little help from nice neighbours we eventually got it up. We boozed some more (since we were so cool we started on the bus even though we were not allowed!) and headed off to the festival site. Wasn’t really much I wanted to see that night so the first act I checked out was the long anticipated The Darkness. It did take me a while to find out who Justin was since he looks quite different these days. Guess my lack of focus due to alcoholic beverage intake didn’t help either (I hope my mum’s not reading this). In the end, it was a good gig and shortly after that it was time for Danzig. Even though old Glenn is short and silly, he’s still one of my old heroes and he did manage to get a great vibe going. After the last chord of “Mother” I went to give Def Leppard a glimpse before taking the endlessly long walk back to the tent. Then I spent most of the night throwing up in a bag. Good times…
Woke up Saturday morning with the hangover from hell which of course meant I had to hit the bourbon again. Felt much better after a while and went off to indulge in more rock and meeting up with some old friends. The first band of the afternoon I really wanted to see was Down. Since I never got the chance to see Pantera live, Down is the next best. Phil Anselmo might be one of the coolest frontmen in the world. I’m not ashamed to say that next to Ron Burgundy (if you haven’t seen Anchorman, do it!) he’s my male role model. Down are a well oiled machinery of high class musicians and the gig was tight as hell. They even gave us a little “Walk” teaser before launching into “Lifer”, dedicated to Dimebag Darrell of course. Couldn’t have been better.
A bit later when Twisted Sister entered the stage it made me remember a little anecdote from my childhood. I was just a wee boy when me and my mum went to the supermarket. They had a sale on random cassettes and she picked up a few. One of them was Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry” and I don’t have to tell you she didn’t like it so she gave it to me. I listened to tunes like “Burn In Hell”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “S.M.F.” (and all the rest for that matter), being amazed over how evil and awesome it was. So standing there at Donington almost 20 years later, finally watching them live was fantastic! They kicked more ass than most of the younger bands on the bill and that’s what I call entertainment folks. It was without a doubt the best gig of the whole festival in my opinion. I also checked out some Alice Cooper who’s still going strong before ending the night with a bit System Of A Down from a far distance. All of a sudden someone fired a flash rocket up in the air and I could see it coming back down towards me with a raging speed just to vaporise into the dark. I almost got killed…
Except for a few showers the weather was alright until Sunday. Woke up to a light rain that quickly turned into worse. With nowhere to seek shelter I just had to give up, get wet and drink more to stand it. Checked out some of Gwar‘s set which wasn’t too bad (maybe more fun than great but still better than I expected), wanted to see Buckcherry but gave up because of the weather. Got lost in the mud trying to find my tent, hid in a toilet for 10 minutes just to be able to roll a cigarette before finally finding my way back. Did my best to get some dry clothes on before walking all the way back in time for Rob Zombie. The man is a true entertainer and there’s not many bands that make me shake my ass but Mr Zombie sure did. It was a cool show and I must give it an extra plus for the robot.
To sum it all up I had a good festival. For me it’s actually more about the whole experience than just the music. Hanging out with good people and have some good ol’ outdoors fun. What I could do without was the heavy rain, paying £5.50 for two pieces of bread with a slob of meat (oh sorry, that was a deluxe burger) but you just have to live with that I guess. Last but not least, if I had gotten press accreditation I would have written a better and more serious review. Since I had to pay for it all I just couldn’t be too bothered. I just had a good time and I was too busy to rock. Next stop: Sonisphere Festival.