|Matt Blakout's View From Another Bar|
|Written by Matt Blakout|
|Sunday, 15 August 2010 05:30|
My account is purely based on fact, only the names, dates and conversations have been changed to protect the innocent.....
As a seasoned camper, that is to say I have been camping previously, I was up for it. I understand you need to be warm and dry and I learned lessons from the previous High Voltage £4 a can experience, yep I took my own! We took the whole gas stove, even though they weren't allowed but hey ho.
Nice little Guest area, though it was getting a little crowded by the time we arrived Friday evening so we set up as close but as far from the toilets as acceptable.
By the time we got all sorted with wristbands and wot not the next band billed was Europe. I wondered how they would be accepted on this bill as they come across a bit 'candy floss' but they really are meat and potatoes. Nice bunch of chaps too. I realised that Joey Tempest is turning into Mark Hamill. They entertained, despite playing a few newer songs. I say 'newer' meaning they were recorded after the 1986 album 'The Final Countdown'. Despite the false start on one track they seemed to have enjoyed themselves.
Had a bit of a walk around while Gary Numan was on, obviously this just means checking out the VIP area and bar. T'was a very large area with tent but lacking in atmosphere and pleasant furniture like Download and High Voltage. Toilets were the best in the whole field though, beer still pricey and warm. I worked out if I had a plastic pint glass I could walk from the camping area back and into the arena without interruption so I invested £3.80 in a cup of warm cider so I could use the plastic glass all weekend saving me about £80 in bar bills. Result. The backstage had a van hawking the Nicko Mcbrain ribs which was nice for Nicko needing the revenue, but gave a welcome feeling of the Maiden brand. We discovered our VIP status also gave us access backstage where I was seen bumping into various band members and trying to remember who they were, Joey Belladonna was particularly short in stature but warm of welcome.
Watched a bit of Bigelf in the Bohemia tent which was conveniently located in front of the Guest area, they're growing on me. Out front once again for the Coop. Great stage set of the letters Alice dangling down in the middle of the stage and it had a 'glitzy' feel to the usually 'horrortastic' Alice. Coming on with 'Schools Out' was a really fantastic idea and I think more bands should do this, coming on with their biggest hit just sets everything off straight away. Alice did all the usual and I really enjoyed it, probably my band of the weekend. Finished with 'Schools Out' as well so you just couldn't lose. Great band, particularly Jimmy DeGrasso, great on the drums man. Went back to have a look at Terrorvision but you couldn't actually get in the Bohemia tent, closest you could stand was about ten feet from one of the entrances. They sounded rockin' though.
Off to camp but any chance of sleeping? Not a bit of it. You know when you go camping on normal campsites there are RULES.. this being a festival has no rules, everyone is drunk and everyone is noisy.
Saturday, bit of rain in the night but thankfully it looks like it's going to be another dry day (from the weather perspective). Had a chance to wander around the stalls and check out the rock clothing. You know it's actually really well priced and I managed to pick up that very desirable and rare Silent Rage patch I've been looking for, for a giveaway price (could've charged me twice as much). Don't ask me about the Bowtime Bar, didn't venture in, all too young for me, though I did check out the Jaegermiester stage which was all more civilised. Watched a bit of the Tom Hollister Trio and they were actually really good. Had a look at Tim Minchin who went down a storm though the comedy thing isn't my cup of tea. Back to Bohemia for Heavens Basement who had changed into a four piece, though only for this gig apparently after loosing a guitar player to a broken finger. Not the band we played with in London but in all fairness this must have been a strange gig for them. Caught a bit of Evile or sounded really Evil. Family Force 5, what's that all about. It's a new twist, rave music with rock guitars? Watched a bit of Soulfly and Fear Factory. Now over to the main stage you got a sense of how vast the festival was. The Saturn stage was small in comparison. Anthrax were kicking up a storm. It's funny how much you remember from back in the day. The songs all came back to me and they did all the classics needless to say.
After Anthrax I wanted to watch Skunk Anansie as I always had a lot of respect for the drummer Mark Richardson, a guy with real power. My last experience of these was Finsbury Park in 96 when they opened for Kiss. I really don't think I paid any attention to them, but here they really were on fire. Skin is just extreme, crowd surfing and literally embracing guys into her bosom.
Now one of the main draws up next for me - Motley f**kin Crue, dude. Bumped into old mate Wiggy Wiggins just before the show, the sun was setting and making a lovely Sunset (strip). I can't remember the exact set but I thought some song choices were a surprise. I never thought I'd hear '10 Seconds To Love' live again. There were obviously some issues going on as Mick either completely forgot how to play 'Too Fast For Love' or lost his monitors as he just completely stopped playing the riff and they ended the song early (have a look on youtube). Rest of the set was pretty much as you'd expect but something tells me all wasn't well and I love the Crue. Let's hope it gets sorted. I had a great chat with the young guy in the next tent later that night who also loved the Crue but it kinda dawned on him they were playing to backing tracks and he really resented it. I tried to tell him, just because most of the song is on backing doesn't mean they can't play or they're rubbish but he wouldn't have it. He was convinced they obviously sucked as musicians. Kids today, eh? Great end to the Saturday though.
Now the funny stories don't stop when you go to bed, no sir, While lying on my luxury blow up mattress I was awoken by two geezers in a friendly conversation just outside the tent. Now for some really bizarre reason I convinced myself this guy was Ross Noble the comedian, he sounded exactly like the guy and in all honesty was pretty witty to listen to. He seemed to be meeting and entertaining the whole campsite, right outside my friggin tent AND WHO THE HELL ARE 'Oblong'?. At one point another guy walked past having a bit of a barney with a girl, now Ross (in my mind) made some quip at him and the guy responded by asking him who the hell was he (Ross) a guest of at the festival. Bearing in mind we were in the 'Guest' camping area, Ross replied with some quip and this other guy who was obviously pissed off at everyone else for being in his camping field came back with the fact he was the offspring of Steve Harris! People shouldn't be laughing like that at 4 in the morning.
And on we go into a bleary Sunday. There were a couple of bands that I really needed to see today. Local heroes Boys With X-Ray Eyes featuring our very own Phil Edwards on the drums playing the Jaegermeister stage. Unfortunately they clashed with another band I needed to see Luke Morley and Pete Shoulder's The Union in the Bohemia tent. I did manage to catch both and both were great. On the main stage caught a bit of the other Welsh supergroup Skindred and they just pack a punch like a Magnum. Slayer were just Evil and my ears were bleeding at one point from the Satanic chorus. Caught a bit of The Cult and all of Iggy who was incredibly entertaining in getting a few of the crowd onstage to dance around for a song and just being generally deranged. The band were a bunch of old guys and I'm convinced the bass player was not 'all there'
You could feel that the whole field was waiting for Maiden to come on and at this point It was a good feeling in the air of anticipation. Pretty much most of the field left the area in front of the Saturn stage and Iggy Pop to move to the other end of the field for Maiden. It felt like half an hour but Maiden were onstage for more than two. I'm really familiar with the 'Dance Of Death' album as I was actually given a copy by Adrian Smith but not so much everything else as the set was culled from the last three albums. The encores were nothing more than blinding and included 'Number Of The Beast'. Bruce stated the band were very relevant so didn't need to play a 'greatest hits' set and from the reaction he was right, Maiden really must be the biggest 'Metal' band in the world right now. I had a chuckle to Bruce's t-shirt in reference to Ozzy's comments about him being mental. You gotta laugh at it all.
Back to the tent and off to sleep. What a wonderful festival and my first camping experience of doing this festival/camping malarkey. My brother attended the Zeppelin Knebworth show which marked the end of Zeppelin and festivals in Knebworth when festivals really were festivals - the largest stage ever constructed, 570 loo seats, 750 feet of urinals and the biggest rock band in the world. Led Zeppelin played their last ever concerts at Knebworth, and it was the end of an era for the Knebworth shows. Both concerts overran, noise complaints were received from 7 miles away. The rubbish team struggled to cope with clearing the arena between the shows. The Police believed that 200,000 people had turned up each night, Sainsburys lost 150 trolleys and Tesco's 75% of their stock, and Lord Cobbold (Knebworth owner) ended up in Court - The good old days have returned - well almost!
Photo kudos to PG Brunelli