DAY 1 — Friday
The first concert I got to see (and I wanted to see) on Friday after I collected my wristband (by the way, it was a really huge queue for the weekend tickets) was Anathema, on the second stage. I always managed to miss them live and each time I heard they were so good, so I finally got to experience the quality of their music live. And, even if the show only lasted 30 minutes, I was delighted by it as they only got to play their biggest hits and got the crowd to clap most of the time. The female voice was astonishing and they dedicated their “A natural disaster” to Dio.
I watched them from rather far away, as my main concern was to get acquainted with the area. Their Nu metal/metalcore-like style didn't really impress me overall, but the vocalist's capacity to switch between clean, soft and harsh singing was noticeable. However, the sound quality wasn't at its peak, and there were still plenty of people waiting to get in, so this was a concert I quickly forgot about.
Another metalcore band on the main stage, and I was amused to notice their outfit: the singer had an almost elegant blueish shirt and one of the guitarists had one of those Superman capes. It was probably Adam Dutkiewicz, who is well known for his unique stage appearance. The singer was impressive, doing a great job both at clean and melodic parts as well as for the screaming or hardcore parts. Their music wasn't too familiar to me, but whenever I paid attention to the lyrics, they all seemed to be about love and doing good things, so the atmosphere felt rather positive. The highlight of the concert was them singing Holy Diver, which sounded good and impressed the crowd.
Coheed and Cambria
Off to the second stage for more progressive stuff from the Americans who delivered a mix of cool riffs and rhythms, spiced up with punk or heavy metal bits of songs. Their songs were hardly linear, being a mixture of rhythms and various vocal styles. The quality of the sound made it even better, but the crowd, at least where I was staying, didn't seem too thrilled; I have a feeling that they were trying to keep a place in front for the next band, Bullet for my Valentine (which I missed). They had 50 minutes to play a mix of old tunes from In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 (2003) to the most recent Year of the Black Rainbow (2010).
Them Crooked Vultures
A supergroup formed in 2009 who made it to the main stage of such a big festival was not something to miss. And no regrets there. The members (John Paul Jones — Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl — Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Josh Homme — Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age) performed their only album so far, self titled which I'd count as awesome. It's such a cool combination of instruments, unexpected beats and sounds flowing from sweet slow passages to dynamic, psychedelic and aggressive pieces where all instruments seem unstoppable. The 12(?) strings weird looking guitar during one of their songs added up to make it, as the band said, “A night to remember”.
The headliners of the first day, they even had their own stage, right next to the main one. It was a stage where nobody else performed, but considering they performed their full 2 hour show that they delivered during the “Black Ice” tour, with all the scene props and effects, it made sense to have it all set up separately.
I had already seen the show twice, and I can notice that Brian Johnson's voice is weaker and weaker and the songs start sounding too similar at some point. But the show is still electrifying. They put up the locomotive, the big Rosie doll, the bell, the cannons on stage. Angus Young runs all over the place, undressed until he shows us his AC/DC underwear, moves backwards and forwards in his well known position, delivers a 15 minute solo when he goes to the end of the “catwalk” and gets lifted up in the air while he lays on his back and spins around playing his guitar. He throws himself on the ground, kneels, jumps… The drumming is as precise as a metronome.
And it all ends with cannon salves during “For those about to rock”, followed by fireworks. How can you not enjoy the complete show delivered by these legends? And all was spiced up by the girls in the crowd lifted on the shoulders of their friends and when the camera was filming them, they ended up lifting their bras or tshirts, making the crowd scream even louder. Which crowd obviously loved the show, and this I judge by the amount of applauds at the end. I even saw a guy trying crowd surfing, but as the crowd was to busy watching the show, he fell at least 4-5 times, but he kept insisting. One of the complaints I'd have about the show is the quality of filming, which was blurry on most of the close-ups.