After years of melancholic weather, Download Festival finally got five days of the stunning weather it deserved, as over 100,000 fans descended on the UK's home of rock n roll and the likes of Guns N Roses, Ozzy Osbourne and Avenged Sevenfold left everyone raising their hand horns.
Held at Donington Race Track, the previous home to Monsters of Rock festival, it was overhauled and refreshed as Download Festival after a brief stint as Ozzfest during the late 90s. Though whatever the name, the venue has become a holy site to rock and metal fans, a site where fans would annually flock too much like a pilgrimage.
With the vicissitudes of rock n roll over the last few decades, and the capricious tides of metal since the nascent of Monsters of Rock, all the way through to Download, the festival is now more eclectic than ever.
With legends like Ozzy, Guns N Roses and Marilyn Manson returning to the bill, there are new facets to the line-up, including the likes of DragonForce and especially Baby Metal, showing the curators are open to fresh ideas, as well as the WWE NXT and Air Guitar stage.
However, despite the diversity in guitar music, it will be pretty much impossible to upstage the headline acts at Download, especially for 2018.
After completing 120 shows on their latest world tour 'Not In This Lifetime', Guns n Roses bought the exact same 3 hour set to Download - and, oh, what a set.
Due on stage at 7:20pm would usually be ridiculously premature for a band notoriously known for being late, but no late arrivals at Download. They were prompt and on time and went straight into the classics, opening with 'It's So Easy' and 'Mr Brownstone'. To loyal and hardcore fans, three hours of Guns N Roses is easily comprehensible, to others, they may wonder how they can fill a show.
Though with songs like 'November Rain', 'Welcome to the Jungle', 'Knockin on Heaven's Door' and 'Civil War' being extended with sublime guitar solos from Slash, three hours flew by - with the only issue being bathroom breaks and the beer running empty in the behemoth crowd.
With Axel Rose's voice still exquisite, and Duff McKagan joining Slash in a 28-song set including tributes to Chris Cornell's Soundgarden, performing 'Black Hole Sun', it really was a complete set top to bottom. Finishing the 'scheduled show' with 'Night Train', they ended with an extended sing-a-long of 'Paradise City'.
Elsewhere on Saturday, veteran rockers Thunder drew a huge crowd, though Japanese-all-girl band Baby Metal were the surprise hit. Playing back in 2016 with similar success, they were invited back to a bigger stage - and a crowd to match. Known for amalgamating J-Pop with Nu-metal, the girls were dressed in gothic attire, though with a Japanese J-Pop touch to make it bizarrely different. Coming out to a cultural Japanese mythological narrative, the trio were outstanding, and the crowd loved it. For anyone unaware, there were several similarities to the hard-pounding music from some of the latest Prodigy albums. A very unique set and no doubt they will be back.
On the Friday night, Avenged Sevenfold were their rip-roaring self, producing a masterclass in live music, whilst Ozzy Osbourne closed the festival on Sunday night, which is always an amazing sight to see and it's incredible he still can perform the way he can. Of course, he's better at singing than he is at talking.
If there is one thing to take from Download, it is that the music level and sound production are the best. With the decibel level turned to the max, and sound levels at perfection, the Download Main Stage in particular is an example to all other festivals in how to amplify music. No sound restrictions here. You have to shout to the person next to you just for them to hear you. Exactly how it should be.
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