I couldn’t manage to get to Graspop or Download due to spending my extra couple of months holiday in Vietnam. I’m somewhat gutted as it meant I missed some class acts like Lawnmower Deth, Steel Panther, Carcass, Deicide and – of course – AC/DC. Still, I can’t deny that my 2 months abroad were, on balance, worth it. Just!
Instead, I opted for Sonisphere as it is towards the end of the summer period and fitted better with my travel plans. It’s only the second year it’s been on and this year’s was a 2-and-a-bit days festival. The Friday kicked off at around midday and the major headlining stage wasn’t used.
Andy and Shalene, who I’d stayed with, very kindly spotted me for breakfast before I made the train journey north (thanks, guys!) to Stevenage. Shuttle buses ferried rockers to Knebworth after a 40-minute queue. Note for next year – more buses needed! Compared to Graspop (and from what others told me, Wacken), the bus service needs a bit of work.
I did have a slight argument with some chaps from Scandinavia who didn’t seem to grasp how queues worked. That is, you join at the end and stay in order. You don’t just jump to the front because you have beer. In the UK, we’re generally good at queuing and also bad at telling people off who skip as we’re too polite.
Thing is, I’ve been abroad for more time in the last 4 1/2 years than I’ve been in the UK. I was also tired, had a cold and was therefore cranky. Politeness went out of the window. Several uses of the “F” word, some pretty precise details as to what would happen to the crate of beer and a handful of insults about the gentlemen in question’s mother country later and they ambled back in the queue. Not all the way back, but behind me and everyone else who’d been in earshot.
I lucked out with my “accommodation” at the festival. Sandra had pitched up tent with her friends the night before and there was room for one more which saved me the effort of unpacking and flinging my little one-man effort up. Thanks, Sandy! She met me, I dumped my stuff off and we wandered into the arena where I met Dave and Rho who were in the tent next door.
I’m not sure what happened with the world record attempt for the largest number of people doing the Timewarp at one time, but I soaked up the atmosphere for a couple of hours. I also managed to bump into Jane and Jason (not seen them in maybe 6-7 years) and Holly and Peter who I’d camped with at Graspop last year.
First band of the day for me was Europe. Just a box to tick as I’d never seen them before. They didn’t play too many songs I knew (Rock The Night, Superstitious, and obviously The Final Countdown being the sum total) but they weren’t bad for a “bunch of punks from Stockholm”. I think they planned on doing Carrie, but Joey’s acoustic guitar wasn’t working.
Alice Cooper headlined the secondary stage and effectively the first night of the festival. The start was a little slow and the sound quality not great, but by the end of the set he was displaying all the charisma he’s known for and had the crowd in the palm of his hand. A great entertainer. I still don’t understand starting and finishing a set with the same song, though.
The last band of the night was in the Bohemia tent – Bradford’s Terrorvision. They broke up quite a few years back but I gather have been doing a handful of small gigs here and there. I think the last time I saw them was at Bradford University quite a few years back, and they are as bouncy now as they were then.
Generally, Terrorvision don’t go for the most intellectually stimulating lyrics. Their most famous hit features the chorus “Do-wop-bo-a-woo-op”, for crying out loud. However, they’re fun. They’re out there to get the crowd to have a great time and from the smiles on the faces of the people all around at the end of the set, they did the job well. My House, Alice, Tequila… all the hits were present and correct.
A great first day, if a little short on bands. I’d expect next year will be a full 3-day billing. At least I hope so!