Iron Maiden, Download Festival – Day 3
Iron Maiden, Download – Day 3.
It was pouring rain when we left Dan and Emma’s house in Nottingham.
Sunshine would be unreasonable at Downland Festival anyhow…
Whatever… We were ready to get into it again! We had garbage bags in our pockets for extra-dryness covering. Dan and I jumped on the bus to take us to the festival. To say traffic was backed up would be an understatement. A thirty minute bus ride from Nottingham became two hours… Yay!
It would be easy to complain about the bus, but really, I am staying with Dan and Emma in a house at night during a music festival:
-That means a roof over our heads in this constant rain.
-That means a bed at night.
-That means a hot shower every evening to get the mud off.
-That means a hot shower in the morning again to get things going.
-That means a preliminary-festival-venturing breakfast is cooked to line our stomachs before the abuse begins.
I could not count the amount of music festivals I have been to…so I am going to guess a number around 40. This Download ‘Constantly Pouring’ Festival is by far the muddiest and dirtiest musical gathering of any kind that I have ever been to. Trudging through mud up to your ankles all day long really takes it out of you.
There is so much rain that it leaks through my cowboy hat and keeps my head damp. But that is nothing compared to the clothing soakages we are dealing with through ‘water resistant’ apparel.
…If not for Dan’s house, these three days would be caked with mud and call for crawling into a flooded tent to sleep on drenched blankets to have a terrible and cold non-rest, then get up, showerless, and put on mud camouflaged clothing again after bathing in deodorant and cologne to cover up ones natural and filthy human odor, just to go back out into the rain and trudge through ankle deep mud to rock out….
My body aches. Yesterday when I had to stretch so that I could party, Dan was trying to allude to the fact that I am getting older. However, today he is also sore. Great news! My groin aches from trudging through the mud, and my feet hurt from putting on miles and miles in rubber boots. But, I certainly feel grateful for the rubber boots.
There is nothing stopping a rubber boot wearer.
Mud and urine, good luck…
You are unable to impede my party!
The first show we watched was a band called ‘The Electric Wizard’ put on a show in a tent. At the end of the set, the drummer threw a handful of his sticks into the crowd:
Me – “Why is he throwing them out? Has he wrecked all of them?”
Dan – “No. I think he is just trying to be a rockstar. He is just trying it out… Giving it a go…”
A Finnish band called ‘Nightwish’ really put on a great show on the main stage. Their music was played over the track of a symphony, and it was incredibly powerful what the six members of that band could layer overtop of the tracked sound. Intense amounts of melody! The band was so excited to be playing a show in front of the such a huge crowd that the lead guitarist was pointing at himself in front of the cameras and saying, “My job!?” while shaking his head in disbelief with a smile. It feels good just to see that and it sure makes a person root for them.
The Nightwish show was so strong that we did not even bother to go over to the other stage and watch a washed up ‘Jane’s Addiction’ perform their set.
‘Disturbed’ played on the main stage after Nightwish.
How can Disturbed still exist?
Would people actually pay money to see Disturbed if they were touring their own? It feels like they were a freebee throw-in at the festival, but we did not even want it at a cost already paid for everything else. Dan and I tried them for no more than 120 seconds.
We came down with the sickness from their garbage and left half way through their signature song to find ‘Napalm Death’ instead…it seems like a choice I would make even if Napalm Death was not a band.
Now, if you are going to name your band, Napalm Death, you had better be heavy and hard to back that up. It turned out that the band would definitely live up to their name as we crowded into a packed tent while the rain poured down in buckets outside to help make the ankle deep mud deeper… Napalm Death play music as fast and as hard as one can play it, so all of their songs are about 90 seconds long.
Barney Greenway, the lead singer of Napalm Death, growls indistinguishable lyrics into the mic, and everyone loses their minds to the sound of the music. The band transforms the entire tent into one giant mosh-pit. Greenway introduces each song with a talk of injustices, and then they just get into it… “This one is about being on the rack. It is called ‘Timeless Flogging.’” With that the lead singer, clean cut and tidy enough that I wonder if he is the guy who does my taxes, belts out crazy sounds to accompany the band that are jack-hammering sounds at your ears.
Greenway jumps around and pulls at his hair while singing in such a way that you wonder if he has been possessed by a demon. If this was 1957, the government would perform an exorcism on him, just to get whatever they thought was in him, out of him. However, if you met him on the street, you would never know he creates such a style of art. “This song is about shitty housing that many of us deal with. It is called, ‘Slum Landlord.’” Bam… into a crazy and intense 90 second song! “This one is about religious interference…” Tightly hang onto your beer because it is probably going to end up on the shoulder of a guy three people away from you.
Napalm Death finished off with Greenway saying, “Thanks for standing around. I know it’s shitty weather. And I know we make a horrible fucking noise….”
It was awesome and crazy!
Then…the heavy hitter – Iron Maiden.
Iron Maiden, Download!
People had been setting up and waiting in their lawn-chairs (nee ‘swamp-chairs’) in anticipation for about three hours before the Iron Maiden show began.
The Maiden show was by far the biggest concert of the three-day festival. There were 85,000 fans in Iron Maiden shirts everywhere you looked. Dan and I were a long way from the stage, but 2/3 of the crowd were still behind us up hill. It was just a sea of humans to watch the band. Maiden fanatics…
The gorgeous backdrops changed for every song the band played. Then the theatrical highlight of the show took place when ‘Eddie’ the monster came out…
Eddie was a towering monster on the stage, and during the show he got into a fight with Dickinson. Dickinson, the obvious hero, reached inside of the chest of the monster, ripped out his heart, and showed it to an 85,000 person audience of screaming cheers. Then Dickinson threw the heart into a fire to which there was a small explosion with shooting flames. All the while Dickinson was singing.
That scene took place about half of the way through the set.
The whole show was theatrics and metal. It was all very entertaining and a fantastic show for everything that Iron Maiden brought…powerful music, professionalism and great theatrics…
When the concert finished, Dan and I trudged through the slop and the mud with 85,000 others in attempt to escape the festival area and get to the bus to take us back to Nottingham. Everyone who had been at the show with a lawn chair simply abandoned them when they left. We walked past several hundred chairs on the hill as we made our way towards the exit gates. If you were a part of the clean-up crew, you could probably make a couple of thousand pounds second-hand selling the chairs for a fiver each…
Dan and I caught a bus back to Nottingham and headed home.
It was our earliest night-shift, but we were finished…
What a festival.
What a soundtrack.
What a mess….
Iron Maiden, Download Festival.
Iron Maiden, Download Festival Set-List:
1- If Eternity Should Fail
2- Speed of Light
3- Children of the Damned
4 -Tears of a Clown
5- The Red and the Black
6- The Trooper
8- Death or Glory
9- The Book of Souls
10- Hallowed Be Thy Name
11- Fear of the Dark
12- Iron Maiden
13- The Number of the Beast
14- Blood Brothers
15- Wasted Years