Sonisphere Review Day 1, the Big 4 become the Big 2 1/4

//Sonisphere Review Day 1, the Big 4 become the Big 2 1/4

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Words: Nage
Photos: Antony Roberts

Nage: I’d like to point out our photographer wasn’t happy and didn’t want his photos using but with no photo pass, and no-one else we needed something!  We’re a young site, just 3 months old but with 1000 hits a week and rising we had to provide something!

We arrived on site at 14.30 and upon arrival to press/guest/artist/staff accreditation found the queue was large with maybe 200 people.  Standing around waiting we started bumping into friends from Metal Hammer, Terrorizer, bands, labels all a bit concerned about the queue and the speed in which it was moving.  After 3/4 an hour and the queue barely moving we heard Diamond Head take to the stage.  People were mumbling (politely) about how they were meant to be photographing them, reviewing them etc.  Time came and went, Diamond Head finished.  We’d moved about 5 metres in the queue.  Half an hour passed and then we heard the roar as Anthrax came on.  Time passed they performed and then left the stage.  We’d moved about half way through the queue, I was starting to have real concerns about seeing Megadeth and Slayer.

We eventually made it to the front of the queue but by this time Megadeth were most of the way through their set.  Handing in our tickets we got wristbands on wrists, it took all of 10 seconds at the window.  Why had it taken so long I asked?  We wasted 2 and 1/2 hours for something that took 10 seconds and we missed Diamond Head, Anthrax and most of Megadeth.  We left alot of band members and press completely livid still in the queue as we rushed to the main arena.  “Stay focused, Metallica are on later” I thought, i’d seen Anthrax and Megadeth many times before so I decided to stay positive, at least it wasn’t raining whilst we were waiting!

We managed to get in to catch the last 3 songs of Megadeth, Symphony Of Destruction, Peace Sells, and Holy Wars.  The sound was really full, and they seemed on form, I was gutted to have missed the rest of their set.  After seeing last years storming set at Download it was a real shame to have miseed the rest of their set.

Following a very quick run to set the tent up, and empty the car we ran back to see Slayer.  We got there just in time for the start.  Due to Jeff Hanneman being ill, it was left to Gary Holt from Exodus to fill his shoes.  I don’t think i’ve ever seen someone so psyched to be on a stage, and his enthusiasm seemed to rub off on the rest of the band.  They opened with Disciple, was this going to be a set of classics to keep the fans happy, or were they going to be playing newer material, and satisfy their own artistic urges?  A few newer songs like Snuff and Hate Worldwide were aired, but this was a classic slayer set with War Ensemble, Dead Skin Mask, Seasons, Mandatory Suicide, Chemical Warfare, South Of Heaven, Raining Blood, Black Magic and finishing with Angel of Death.  This was maybe my 6th or 7th time seeing them live and I have to say probably one of, if not the best time, I have ever seen them.  The sound was really full despite the heavy wind, something that can all to often go wrong at open air events.

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Much needed food was grabbed as due to travel, queues, bands, tent erecting etc.  Nothing had been eaten and the heavily priced beers were going down a little too easily.

By the time Metallica were due on stage the front of the Apollo stage was rammed.  By my (very rough) estimates I would say it was far more packed than Iron Maiden last year at Sonisphere.  Anticipation was in the air and by the time Morricone’s intro music kicked in, it had finally settled in, I was getting to see Metallica again, all the annoyances from earlier in the day flew out of my mind.  As soon as the intro music finished they ran on to a giant roar from the packed field straight into Hit The Lights.  What’s that? Yes they STARTED with Hit The Lights, “holy crap is this really happening” I thought to myself, we’re in for something special!  From this they went into Master Of Puppets and then The Shortest Straw.  Yes the Big Four had finally made it to the UK and the fan appointed kings wanted to show how they became the leaders of the pack.   As it was a big four show they were obviously keen to air something special for the older fans and not only was rarity The Shortest Straw played but also Ride The Lightning and The Call of Ktulu along with classics Seek and Destroy and Welcome Home (Sanitarium).  Ktulu sounded absolutely amazing, and with the final notes ringing out the stage went dark and the familiar sounds of helicopters and gunfire came in which could only mean one thing, the now glorious outdoor intro to One was kicking in. 

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Metallica – kids love em!

The first time I saw this outside back in the Monsters Of Rock days it blew me away.  Nothing has changed it’s still a magical experience to see live, except maybe the explosions have become a lot bigger and louder.  The explosions continued with For Whom The Bell Tolls and then got taken up a further notch for the screams of “fire” during Blackened.  Finishing with Fade to Black followed by Enter Sandman the band left the stage.  Everyone knew they were going to come back out, the question was would we be treated to the Big Four Show that everyone had at the European Sonispheres? 


The encore took a minute rather than the usual five, then they were straight back out.  What ALOT of people they had with them.  Everyone from the big four joined together onstage along with Andreas Kisser of Sepultura and Brian Tatler of Diamond Head.  Lars introduced Tatler to the audience insisting most of the bands on that stage would not have existed, without Diamond Head’s influence and asked him to lead into a song he wrote. 

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A thunderous version of “Am I Evil?” was belted through with singers taking it in turns to take the mic.  You expected it to happen but actually seeing it live, it really was unbelievable.  Following lots of hugging, bat patting and hand shaking Metallica were left to finish with Battery and then Creeping Death.  Day One Of Sonisphere was not finished, there were bands playing on other stages but it had run over schedule on the main stage.  Witchsorrow had (sadly) already finished and so I was more than happy to call it a day and head for some much needed sleep after the long journey.


Day 2 and 3 to follow with way more photos and a lot more positivity!

By |2011-07-13T00:00:00+01:00July 13th, 2011|Gig Reviews|0 Comments

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