I really tried to get Matt to write this, as you really need a 14 year old to explain the appeal of a day listening to old blokes playing old heavy metal tunes in the mud. No joy this time.
Download at Donington is the successor to what I remember as Monsters of Rock from my own six months as a fan of the NWOBHM before I started listening to John Peel at 15. Nothing apart from the branding has changed, including the bands. Who could ever tire of Iron Maiden though ? Me, in about 1983 actually.
I’ve been dragging Matt to End of the Road to hear new music for a few years though, so only fair I took him to see Megadeth and Black Sabbath on Saturday, and see what real mud is. At least he didn’t asked me to take him to L******e.
It’s easy to spot us in the photos. We’re the only two not wearing a band t-shirt. Actually , there was a man in a Honolulu T-shirt, but he’d lost his girlfriend and was having a breakdown in front of us at the Sixx:A.M. show. I think we saw her later;
The mud was the second best thing about Download. The best was Megadeth, who were as astounding as Matt had told me. I’d confused them in my mind with this lot.
Megadeth were a more intense experience than Sigur Ros, which is praise indeed. That intensity slackened when the Sex Pistols cover turned out to be “Anarchy in the UK” rather than the more appropriate “God Save the Queen”. Devon’s Reigning Days were the other band to impress on a day packed with bands older than me.
Mrs RM was glad to be excused this particular parental duty, though she did miss out on a collaboration between Kim Wilde and Lawnmower Death on “Kids in America” that will live me for a while. The musical equivalent of a Sam Smiths/Cloudwater collaborative beer.
Simon Everitt is trying to get Wembley into the Beer Guide (not a bad shout consisting the paucity of options in NW London). Download has a better claim; two real ales including Trooper and a decent Dog Tooth that tasted very Boring and Brown, but also quite decent (NBSS 3). It was unbranded but could have been Ringwood Best.
£5 for the privilege of most of a pint in a paper cup. Another £5 concierge charge (to charity) sees it delivered to you in the mosh pit, a queue jumping initiative that Wetherspoons might consider.
By 8pm a lot of beer (actually Tuborg) had been drunk, and 80,000 rolled down the mud to hear Ozzy Osbourne one last time, before the final time anyway. My shouts of “Play the new album” didn’t go down as well as they do at the Brudenell, and Ozzy launched into what seemed to be the entirety of the Paranoid LP, my Portuguese import copy of which cost me 99p from Parrot Records in 1980 and has been played twice.
Last Saturday I heard a brilliant singer/flautist at the height of her powers entrance a crowd of 80, last night I heard a 67 year old bloke croak through “Fairies wear boots” to the bemusement of 80,000. It’s a cruel world.
Tony Iommi still nailed “War Pigs” mind.