20 August 2009
Until the 1st of August 2009, I'd never been to a real concert, sure I've seen my mates band play a couple of times, and a couple of bands came to my school, but they're far too embarrassing to mention. So Sonisphere was my first proper taste of not only proper concerts, but festivals, and seeing Linkin Park less than 20 meters away blasting some of the best songs on the face of the earth.
I have to thank my friend Becki for the experience, as my parents we're too apathetic to take me themselves, and after she found out Avenged Sevenfold were playing, she offered to take me with her. Of course I still had to pay for my ticket and the rest of it, but it was very generous of her family to do this for me. they also bought me some booze on the Friday night to 'properly start off the festival experience'.
When we got there on the Saturday morning, I could barely contain myself, I was so hyper, taking photos of everything. We went over to the big merch booth near the Apollo stage, and I basically spent half of my spending money in 5 minutes, buying a program (cleverly small and attached to a lanyard), 2 Sonisphere keyrings, (one for me, one for my brother), an LP 09 tour shirt and a Sonisphere tour shirt. It doesn't sound like much, but festival prices are notorious, no? We then went to the Apollo stage where I could try to get to the barrier for LP (I later learned doing so within the first few sets was totally unnecessary as the vast majority of people go to the other stage after a set has finished) and the first band on was Alien Ant Farm, and as the first live band I've seen, they performed that job really well, leading me to buy a lot of their stuff when I got back. Then Becki left to see Glamour of the Kill at the Bohemia stage, then wait to see Airbourne and Bullet For My Valentine at the Saturn stage, so I was left to chat with some lovely LPUers (Who I would have added but I've forgotten your names :( ) as we waited between acts. Also, what they tended to do in the last five minutes before a band came on, is they would bring on a group of 4 people (who apparently won a competition) to play Guitar Hero Metallica. The first act merely got heckled at, but all the ones after that got bottled. Up next were Taking Back Sunday, who weren't as good as Alien Ant Farm, but weren't bad either, then came Anthrax who were really good, I'm yet to get some of their stuff, but I'm definitely going to. At this point I became sick and tired of staying in the same place while almost everyone had gone off, so I went to the toilets.
And it was possibly the most unpleasant experience of my life.
Next up was supposed to be Coheed and Cambria, but apparently they were stuck on a ferry, so the organisers grabbed a group called Fact from the Bohemia stage and got them to play for us instead. No doubt they switched the sets for the two acts around as the announcer said C&C would be on the Bohemia stage later on. Fact weren't actually that bad, but they got bottled anyway, I'm guessing it's because people were upset about it not being Coheed up there.
Heaven and Hell were next, and they were ok, I don't really remember them that well, I just remember it raining and trying to shove as many nutrigrain bars down my throat as I could. I was basically living off them that weekend. Then it was the long wait for LP to come on. I chatted with LPUers, tried to sit down but couldn't, so I stood up and watched as they moved Rob's drumkit and Joes stuff into view. Suddenly Joe appeared, got to his desk, and I felt a growing confusion as they opened with... SESSION!? The backdrop slowly went up, the rest of the band came out and the crowd surged forwards making sure no one could move. To be honest, I think their set could have been better, that's not to say it was bad or anything, but their set was cut short, they had 1 hour 45 minutes instead of 2 hours, and they brought on Dead By Sunrise on for a few songs, and I still haven't quite made up my mind about them. Still it was amazing and I sounded like a chain-smoker from singing so much.
The Sunday went quicker I think, we got up earlier to get to the arena earlier so that we could stay at the barrier for Avenged Sevenfold. And here we met an eccentric Scottish security guard who always kept us entertained between sets with mexican waves, use of a beach ball and his chant of BACKSCRATCHER! To which the reply was the same or 'MAGGIE THATCHER!', or 'CHILD SNATCHER!'. First was Paradise Lost, I don't really have a comment about them, they were OK. Soon Saxon took to the stage, they were alright, but I'm not a huge fan of the older style of metal. Then Mastodon came on, and their style is a bit odd to be honest, needless to say I didn't enjoy their set much. Feeder were next and I actually quite liked them, despite previously thinking they were light rubbish. Also, at this point I was squeezed away from the barrier by a fat Feeder fan, so I continued to stand behind Becki. Next were Alice in Chains and they were really good. Another on my list of bands to buy music of. Their set showed me there should be more black people in metal.
Another long wait and it was A7X time and they were really good. Their set was on par with LP's. Again I lost my voice from singing and I almost lost my hoody. At one point I got pulled backwards into a circle pit which was... exciting... Personally I think A7X's set should have been longer, it seemed far too short, but I got a good feeling when Matt said they took a break from writing their new album just for that single, solitary show. Since it had been Matt's birthday 2 days prior, Becki made a Birthday banner which he saw and mentioned to the rest of the crowd, who spontaneously started singing him Happy Birthday. I cannot imagine how amazing it would feel to have 60,000 people sing you happy birthday.
Last but definitely not least came Metallica. Previously I didn't think much of them, I thought their style was monotonous, but seeing them live proved me wrong. It was something to behold. We also sang James Hetfield Happy Birthday and headed back to the bus which takes us back to Stevenage. From there we got picked up by Becki's parents and we set off immediately on the 4-5 hour journey home. Since I can't sleep in cars imagine how tired I am, finally getting home at 4:30am. It was aaaaaall worth it though. :)