After a long but excellent Saturday at the 10th anniversary Download Festival in Donington, UK which featured Metallica, I set off for the Sunday session. This for me was the one I had really been waiting for as Black Sabbath were headlining that night (I have only been waiting to see them play since I first heard Sabbath as a teenager!). Sabbath were featuring more or less the original lineup of Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, Tony Iommi playing guitars and Geezer Butler on bass. Sadly Bill Ward the original drummer did not play due to a contractual disagreement (NOOOOO!!!!) but luckily he was ably replaced by Ozzy’s excellent drummer Tommy Clufetos. The night was made even more special given the fact that Tony Iommi has lymphoma cancer and is undergoing treatment to beat it. We can only hope for the best for him and look forward to a new album and a world tour next year.
From what I heard the Sunday was pretty much sold out and somewhere around 100,000 people were there in the crowd! By far the biggest musical festival I have ever attended (only sporting events back in my old home of Melbourne, Australia at the MCG have equalled this for me)!
Luckily the rain had held off and with extra hay put down over the previous days mud the ground was pretty stable. The Sunday also turned out to be a sunny and reasonably warm day. Friday it was pouring rain and a mud pit; Saturday cold and muddy then Sunday was warm and a high risk of sunburn! Welcome to a UK summer!!
For this day of the festival I pretty much only went to the two main stages (the Jim Marshall Stage and the Zippo Encore Stage). The premium acts of the day were playing these stages and for the afternoon and evening I really never left the Jim Marshall Stage).
The acts I saw on my second day there in order were:
1. Kyuss Lives (USA – Desert Stoner Rock at it’s best)
2. Anthrax (USA – Thrash Metal legends! They ended up getting three circle pits going in the crowd in the mosh pit! One bizarre moment Joey Belladonna the lead singer was tackled by security when he was wearing a feathered headdress down near the crowd line to sing Indians – this was soon sorted out, she didn’t realise it was him! This happened to Joey at another show recently too!)
3. Rival Sons (USA – sorry don’t know anything about them but they sounded OK. I just caught the last bit of their performance as I was waiting for Sebastian Bach)
4. Sebastian Bach (USA – new stuff, old stuff, the large crowd went crazy for old Skid Row songs: “18 and Life“, “I Remember You” and “Youth Gone Wild“! Great show and sadly way too short!)
5. Ugly Kid Joe (USA – yes they are back and they were excellent! “Cats in the Cradle” and “I Hate You” were their big numbers and again huge crowd singalongs)
6. Lamb of God (USA – not long after this the lead singer got arrested in the Czech Republic for a manslaughter charge! Allegedly 2 years prior he pushed a guy off stage there, which resulted in his death from head injuries suffered in the fall!)
7. Megadeth (USA – Dave Mustaine and the boys played brilliantly including my favourite Symphony of Destruction. Vic Rattlehead their mascot also appeared on stage for a number of songs to gee up the huge crowd)
8. Soundgarden (USA – Seattle’s Grunge pioneers havent played the UK for 12 years and I hadn’t seen them since the mid 1990’s in Australia and they did not disappoint. Their set was brilliant and with “Black Hole Sun” the sun began to shine in the sky. It was funny but in the crowd someone was holding a sign that said “I came all the way from Seattle” – I later met this guy at the Mayhem Festival 2012 near Seattle! It’s a small World sometimes! Even though Soundgarden are from Seattle I have never seen them play there)
9. Black Sabbath (UK – goosebumps were on my arms as the intro began, the original Black Sabbath were back!!!! AWESOME is all I can say!!!! They belted out many of their classic songs, not missing a beat, with Ozzy swearing and whipping the crowd into a frenzy! God it was good! A highlight was what sounded like the entire crowd, including me mimicking the riff for Ironman as they played it. Also hearing their title track Black Sabbath and War Pigs really made my day. Two hours later I was exhausted after a long day, but you could not take the grin off my face).
And that was it, 2 days of metal mayhem were over and I headed back to Nottingham! Luckily the following night I was back in London for the Metal Hammer – Golden Gods Awards hosted by Chris Jericho of Fozzy and WWE fame. Apart from lots of famous Metal band members being in attendance and winning awards I saw a number of bands perform there including Watain, Biohazard, Sabaton, Ghost and Anthrax (again)! A great way to start the week!