Saturday, 14 June 2008

Thee Claw @ Donington Park

Yesterday, SJW and I made the trip across England to Donington Park to see the first day of this year's festival. There's a lot of umm-ing and aah-ing about the fact that the festival isn't what it was in the 80s and early 90's, but we won't go into that now. Suffice to say that the reasons we were going were Motorhead, Judas Priest and headliners Kiss.
We set off from Liverpool early, about half eight in the morning, by 8.45 we were on the motorway listening to Manowar and the first lager of the day had been cracked open.
We got to the venue pretty easily, they had changed the layout this year because there is a motorcycle race meeting coming up, so the main "arena" had been moved from it's usual home by the hill and plonked into a different field, and we had to come into the site the back way. Which was probably for the best, last year when we drove down we ended up at the back of the park anyway and had to drive right around the place to get in, and it's huge!
So, we parked up and joined the pretty fast moving queues and we were in in time for the first band, one of those interchangeable american nu-metal type bands that kids in big pants with undercut hair from Ashby-de-la-Zouch love so much. They covered Prowler by Iron Maiden which raised the first thumbs-down of the day from me. Really, there were no bands that we were interested in seeing until Motorhead were due on stage around 5pm.

So we spent this time wandering about, eating vegan food and marvelling at how shit the entire thing was, then we bumped into some people from back home and sat down on the grass to drink a few beers (£3.50 a pint? That's $7ish, currency fans) and there was an announcement made that Kid Rock wouldn't be playing (cheers from us) and that Priest would be playing a longer set (more cheers). Disturbed would also be playing a longer set, but fuck them, after they finished it was time to get down the front for Motorhead.For those of you who didn't know, they covered "Rosalie" by Thin Lizzy, and Würzel came out onstage to play "Ace of Spades" with them. This was my first time seeing Motorhead (I know, how strange is that) and they were great, setlist was boss, but I'm looking forward more to seeing them in a smaller venue later this year.
(if you want to see the setlist, highlight the space between the two stars)
*Dr Rock/Stay Clean/Be My Baby/Killers/Metropolis/Over The Top/One Night Stand/In The Name Of Tragedy/Just Cos You’ve Got The Power/Killed By Death/Ace Of Spades/Overkill*
Watching Judas Priest for the first time was like a religious experience. The setlist was a proper surprise, the stageshow was totally overblown (Rob Halford rising up through the stage in a silver hooded cloak, coming through the doors in the centre of the stage on a throne with a cane in his hand, or riding onstage on a Harley Davidson for Hell Bent For Leather), it was a full on metal experience.
Rob even came out during a break in the proceedings and had the crowd singing to him like Freddie Mercury, with a union jack around his shoulders. Watching Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill and KK Downing (my new hero) headbanging in unison to "Metal Gods" might sound like the cheesiest metal cliche ever, but I loved every minute of it.
They finished the set with "You've Got Another Thing Coming" and it was time for more beer, more vegan burgers and falafel, and then getting down near the front for Kiss.
Our cameras had both died by now, so there's no photos coming up for Kiss, but I'm sure you can imagine it.
I'd never seen Kiss before, and to tell you the truth i wasn't really that bothered. Until, that is, the announcer said "Donington! You wanted the best, you got the best! The hottest band in the world - KISS!" and the curtain over the stage fell down, and they came onstage playing Deuce. Sorry, did I just say came onstage? I meant Paul, Gene and Tommy came down from the ceiling on a huge platform suspended on wires. No, really.
They went straight from Deuce into Strutter, Tommy did a guitar solo and fired rockets from the end of his guitar, Gene breathed fire, they played a one-two of Parasite and I say, I'm not a Kiss fan and I wasn't really bothered about them, but once they started playing I was well into it! They held my attention and that of every single person in the crowd.
We got off just before they played Rock And Roll All Nite, but apparently Paul Stanley said "I wouldn't mind coming out there to see you" before flying across the crowd on a zip wire, and landing on a mini stage in the middle of the crowd and playing Love Gun.

I slept all the way home.
That Kiss Setlist in full:
*Deuce/Strutter/Got To Choose/Hotter Than Hell/Firehouse/Nothing To Lose/C'Mon And Love Me/Parasite/She/Watchin' You/Rock Bottom/100,000 years/Cold Gin/Let Me Go Rock N Roll/Black Diamond/Rock N Roll All Nite/Shout It Out Loud/Lick It Up/I Love It Loud/I Was Made For Loving You/Love Gun/Detroit Rock City*

PS, the PA at this festival was truly, truly awful.
It sounded great down at the front, but halfway up the hill it was quieter than the ringtone on my telephone.

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