Headliner: System Of A Down
Who I Saw: System Of A Down / Prophets of Rage / Suicidal Tendencies
You would think the times we live in would make people feel like hiding away but the spirit shown this weekend at Download was truly heart warming. Yes there may have been more bag checks, longer queues (but really not that bad at all) and more security, including armed police (who were all pretty bloody awesome) but I didn't hear anybody complain. In fact it made me and everyone else feel a whole lot safer. In typical British style the only thing we actually complained about was the length of the bar queues. Now that really is something we get upset and annoyed about.
This is my fourth time at Donington. My first was way back in 1990 as a 16 year old. Things change but rock crowds don't. Ok they may on average be a little older (quite a bit actually) but the good feeling, spirit and family feel is still very much the same. I am yet to see any trouble and would be surprised if I ever did. You never know though. I did once see a punch up at a Coldplay charity concert after all. The bar queues though really were a surprise. The Download bars are normally so efficiently run. The delays may have been to do with the new cup scheme they were running this year (which did a fantastic job of keeping the litter down to a minimum...relatively speaking). On the plus side it meant I didn't drink too much and got to take these two beauties away with me.
Too much to drink the night before meant the festival haze was a little worse than normal. That also meant it was late afternoon before we got to the site. That was ok though as I didn't know many of the bands on today's bill. The headliners yes but then only because of a few playlists. Turns out it was Prophets of Rage who stole the day. First up though it was the legendary Suicidal Tendancies and especially You Can't Bring Me Down that managed to knock the hangover well out of Donington Park.
Everyone has their own festival experience. For me, on the first day, it was very much the Prophets. Tom Morello is a genius. Seeing the members of Rage Against the Machine minus singer would be good enough but seeing them with Chuck D (Public Enemy) and B-Real (Cypress Hill) was pretty surreal. Indeed this was a storming set that included an array of Rage songs plus the likes of Jump Around and Insane In The Brain. It was the instrumental of Like a Stone with just the three remaining members of Audioslave on stage though that was the main memory I will take away (a tear in the eye moment for sure). At the moment the world needs a band that is raging against the world and this is the ideal one.
As for the headliners, System of a Down, I really wanted to like them but for every song I did think was great, Toxicity, Chop Suey and Lost in Hollywood there were many that just didn't do it. That's ok though as there were thousands here that had a ball and thought they were the best thing ever. That's the beautiful thing at festivals...there really is something for everyone. On to Day 2...
Ticket Price: £160