Who I Saw: KISS / Motley Crue / Slash / Billy Idol / Darkness / Code Orange / Evil Scarecrow / Colour Of Noise
Steps Walked: 15,913 / Distance Covered: 12.11 km / Pints Drank: 7 / 'Mrs Miggins' Sausage Baguettes Eaten: 1
Woke early in preparation for another fantastic feed at the local ‘Chiquitos’ restaurant. Admittedly after eating there three times already (it was opposite the hotel) the novelty was wearing off. As it happens it was closed. Teach us to get up so early on a Sunday. We then went to the local pub which stopped serving breakfast the minute we walked in at 11am. No lunch until 12pm. We had avoided the hotel breakfast since the first morning as although it was included in the price it tasted like muddy wellington boots. Ah well another 'Mrs Miggins' sausage baguette for me.
As we got to the site earlier than normal we managed to catch Bruce John Dickinson’s new band Colour Of Noise on the 'Jake' stage. Dickinson (previously of the Little Angels) is looking and sounding better than ever and singer Matt Mitchell is a natural front man. Their 25 minute set was an excellent start to the day. We headed over to the 'Maverick' stage and managed to catch some of Evil Scarecrow’s set. There is no way of explaining what was going on. Bizarre but bloody funny. The music was pretty damn good as well. Later on the same stage we saw a cracking set from the Darkness, one of the secret (but not really secret) acts. As we got there early we saw a blistering (-ly bad) set from punk / thrash band Code Orange first. Actually that's harsh on my side. It probably was very good but just not my thing. Indeed I felt a little sorry for them having to play to a mainly Darkness crowd. During one particular loud song I joked to a friend that this must be their ballad. Just at that moment I said the word ‘ballad’ the song ended abruptly. I got evil stares and smirks in equal measure from those around me.
The Darkness were in top form. Hawkins voice can be shaky at times but he really is a showman. He made a typically over the top entrance being carried from the back of the crowd by what I presume were Barbarians…what with the song being Barbarian. The set flew by and apart from the quite horrible blue suit Hawkins was wearing they get top marks from me.
Moved to the main stage to see an in form Billy Idol before the big decision of the day happened. See Slash or get the face painted like KISS. It’s a tough choice for any bald 41 year old man to make. In the end and very likely due to the amount of beers drunk over the weekend myself and usual suspect Mark went for face paint. My bald head gave the make up lady plenty to work with but in the end I looked like a cross between Gene Simmons, ‘The Joker’ and a serial killer. To be honest not much different to my normal look. You can make your own mind up as to what Mark looked like. Still managed to see quite a lot of the Slash set including the last three songs, Sweet Child, Slither and Paradise City.
Next up was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. I finally got to see Motely Crue. The set flew by and every song felt like an old friend. Unfortunately Vince Neil’s voice is not really up to the task these days but it didn’t stop me enjoying the show. The encore Home Sweet Home nearly caught us by surprise but I’m glad we saw it as strangely Neil sang it perfectly. Maybe he should just stand still from now on so not getting out of breath. I will catch them on their final tour in November and I for one will be down the front. Motley Crue have been one of the finest rock bands for he last three decades and they will be very much missed.
Closing the whole weekend was of course Americans legends KISS. Like Crue I had never seen them live before (and I call myself a rock fan) and I was not entirely sure what to expect. I only knew half the songs but was still blown away by the whole show. Paul Stanley’s voice is not great but he sure makes up for it as a front man. He worked the crowd with ease and at one point flew over us on a zip wire after all why wouldn't you?). Simmons voice and stage presence are enormous but it is Stanley that leads the way. It was a shame there was no Crazy Nights or God Gave Rock and Roll but opener Detroit Rock City as well as Do You Love Me, Lick It Up, and closers I Was Made For Loving You and Rock And Roll All Nite were more than enough to keep me happy.
So the weekend ended on a serious high. 19 bands seen, 35.9 kms walked, 47,216 steps taken, 24 pints drank, 5 sausage baguettes eaten and a grand total of £1.25 left on my dog tag (from the £200 I started with). A marvellous weekend with some marvellous folk. The rock crowd never fail to be some of the friendliest fans in the music world. There is a certain bond that the music brings and a certain type of person it seems.
Long live Rock. Long live Download.
Ticket Price: £170 Weekend Ticket