Download – Day 3

When I woke I felt like my right elbow had been cramped for a week, but at least the swelling on my left one had gone down. Anni looked like I felt (with less bruising) but we gathered our thoughts and packed up before emptying the breakfast buffet of pig parts again. We checked out and re-tried Asda (which was open on a Sunday so all the staff and customers will probably go to Hell) so Anni could get a camping chair and I could get some books. OK, the books were an accident. Anyone who knows me knows what I’m like when I see cheap books.

Courtesy of a nearby Sunday market (more hellbound souls) we were a little late getting to Download but in time to catch Chimaera and Papa Roach – more dents and gouges on my anatomy. Coby of Papa Roach gauged the crowd with “Who’s looking forward to the other bands? Mastodon! (cheer) Lamb Of God! (cheer) Stone Sour! (big cheer) Killswitch Engage! (very big cheer) Evanescence (even the tumble weed didn’t bother booing) Oh, right… Iron Maiden! (even the staff in the food tents quarter of a mile away cheered)”

Another great but too short set. Mastodon were OK and I skipped Lamb of God and Stone Sour (both on at Graspop in 2 weeks) to watch Paradise Lost and Napalm Death on the Dimebag stage. I’d not seen PL in years. In fact, the last time I was any of them was when I tried to talk Aaron out of buying an iMac when I worked in PCWorld.

Back at the main stage, Anni was nestled in her comfy chair when Killswitch Engage came on. Ah well, it’d have been rude not to go in the pit. Scariest man of the weekend was in there – naked except for a pair of David Hasselhoff underpants and a pair of trainers.

I needed a rest after that and thankfully Evanescence were so awful I could safely ignore them. They moaned their way through a dreadful set and failed miserably to ignore the hecklers. Instead of sounding put-upon, they came across as thinking they were better than they really were. And they’re not that good to start with. Finally they left. Thank you, good night and ____ off.

The field filled. Human pyramids were built. Plastic bottles were thrown at them until they collapsed again. The sun began to consider setting.

Maiden came on.

This is a band that really makes you proud to be British. From rousing songs like “These Colours Don’t Run” to classics based on history such as “The Trooper” this band (and 2 of its members) have been going for around 30 years now. The Number of the Beast is 25 years old this year, and they’re still going. Bruce revealed – subtley – that they’ll be headlining Download again next year as well, and concentrating on the Powerslave era. Oh, wow.

The only let-down was the lack of a post-show firework display. The enormous Eddie in a tank was eye-opening, though. I can only assume the missing sparklies was due to being unable to get permission from the nearby airport as planes had been flying over the main stage all weekend. Here’s hoping we get a display at Graspop at we did 2 years ago.

We said our goodbyes and as T & H headed tentwards, Anni and I followed the crowds to the carpark. It took us over 2 hours to get onto anything remotely resembling a road and gone 3am by the time we got to Anni’s.

Kit was dumped, a wash put on and I collapsed in bed with KK snuggled under my arm for the first time in 15 months. I think my cats remembered me. I like to think they did.

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