Who I Saw: Aerosmith / Alter Bridge / Steel Panther / Airbourne / In Flames
Sunday is normally my day. Classic rock all the way. That of course meant an earlier start. Despite this I wasn't early enough to see the Dead Daisies who were on at the ridiculous time of 12.30. I mean that's practically still early morning. Love their albums but hey I need my sleep. I did though manage to make it to the site around 14.30 with a few delays on bag checking slowing my entry (insert a Steel Panther type double entendre here) although only for a short while. It definitely seemed busier today probably due to more day only visitors for the headline act. I was still in plenty of time to get in a good position at the main stage where I was to spend most of the day.
In Flames kicked things off for me and very good they were to. A lot of noise and a very funny lead singer in great form (albeit short on booze it seems). It was Airbourne though who really got things moving. Front man Joel O'Keeffe leads the Australian band. How to describe them? Fun, rocking and bloody marvellous. A front man with a personalty makes a hell of a difference although drinking beer, smashing a beer can against his head, playing guitar and riding (in the boring sense) a guy dressed as a kangaroo seems pretty standard behaviour.
Steel Panther surely won't last too much longer. The joke has to wear thin soon. Despite knowing this though I continue to buy their albums and enjoy their live shows. Their hour long set here, at one point including a few hundred girls on stage for 17 Girls in a Row, was extremely entertaining. They have done well to keep the interest and to be fair they are a very good rock band but with a lead singer who is beginning to look his 72 years of age (yes I know he's not really 72) the act may be coming to an end soon. In the mean time enjoy them while you can.
Alter Bridge just don't quite do it for me. I normally really like Myles Kennedy when I've seen him with Slash and in Black Bird they have a great rock song, yet there is definitely something missing. Maybe, unlike other bands already mentioned, they don't have that killer front man with a stage presence that helps a band step-up to the next level. Then again announcing two dates at the Royal Albert Hall with full orchestra for later in the year shows they must be doing something right. It also shows that I probably know next to nothing...quite possible I admit.
Aerosmith. The main event. Legends should never be taken for granted. Yes there were a few groans when they were announced as headliners. For one they weren't Guns n Roses and secondly they had only just appeared at the same event on the same day 3 years ago. But. This. Is. Aerosmith. Class from start to finish.
I love the way they open a show. Walking steadily on stage with Perry and Tyler appearing on the runway from nowhere. And the set list? Well that is an absolute dream. Mixing old with the very old with the even older they remind the doubters what an outstanding band they are. Tyler's voice has to be one of the few that still sounds great after all these years and if it wasn't for Keith Richards then Joe Perry would be the coolest guitarist in rock. Tom Hamilton, 'Mr Sweet Emotion' himself, is as graceful as ever (although painfully thin after many health problems). Brad Whitford seems to be having a ball and Joey Kramer knocks the shit out of those drums.
The songs played are, in the main, the same they played three years ago but they are so good it really doesn't matter. They fire out of the blocks with Let The Music Do The Talking and Young Lust. Mama Kin, Hangman Jury and Seasons of Wither in the middle, show what talented musicians they are. Dude Looks Like A Lady finishes the main set and then Dream On in the encore is one of the highlights of the night. Indeed one of the highlights of the weekend. It is of course Walk The Way that closes the show and ends the whole festival.
There are very few bands that are still together after nearly 5 decades. That it is Aerosmith, a band that has nearly self imploded on more than one occasion, is quite amazing. We will miss them when they are gone.
Download. Thanks again for an amazing weekend. Until next time.
Ticket Price: £160 Weekend Ticket