Whitesnake Monsters of Rock festival Donington 20th August 1983
Line-up: Whitesnake, Meat Loaf, Z Z Top, Twisted Sister, Dio, Diamond Head. DJ: Tommy Vance.
Aah! The Monsters of Rock festivals. Up early, on with the denim jacket, into the car, pick up my mates, and down the A1 and M1 we went. Three hours or so, and 165 miles (according to AA route planner), later and we joined the metal hordes in the Donington Park Race Circuit. We knew we were there when we saw the Dunlop tyre bridge.
Its funny what I find when I’m constructing these posts. “Chris Evans has bought Donington Park race track’s famous Dunlop bridge. The 30-year-old structure was sold during a racing memorabilia auction, for about £300, in aid of a Leicestershire charity. On his show, Evans said the bridge was a national landmark and appealed for help getting it from the track. Evans joked he was going to put up the bridge, which is over 70 metres (230 ft) in length, in his garden over the top of his neighbour’s house.” [Wonder if he did that 🙂 ] (from BBC News site).
Back to rock. First up in 1983 were Diamond Head. We listened to them while we had a little wander around the site. I will have bought my programme, we’ll have consumed our first burger of the day, and made our first visit to the beer tent [as designated driver, I would be limited to one pint early on in the day 😦 ]. Next was Dio, his operatic vocals drifting over the crowd, and the smell of burgers and beer, and lifting the mood on classics such as “Holy Diver”, “Stargazer”, “Heaven And Hell” and “Man On The Silver Mountain”. Classic.
It was probably about this time that the can fights would start. You had to watch out for them; a can on the back of your head could do some serious damage. Twisted Sister were next. Dee Snider and Co captured the crazy metal mood of the event perfectly and went down well. Dee understood metal and its antics and lapped up crowd reaction, both positive and negative; a few cans or bottles thrown on stage didn’t bother him. After all “You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll”. Next up was Meat Loaf, who didn’t take kindly to the sea of bottles and cans which were thrown at him throughout his set. Nonetheless he played on and treated us to “Bat Out Of Hell”, “I’m Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us”, “All Revved Up With No Place To Go”, “Midnight At The Lost and Found” and “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”. Great stuff. Back to the beer tent, another burger, and a walk around the tyre to stretch our legs, and then meander and squeeze our way as close to the stage as we could safely get. Things were about to get even better.
This was our first exposure to Z Z Top, their beards, and that relentless, often tongue in cheek, Texan rock’n’roll boogie: “Gimme All Your Lovin'”, “Sharp Dressed Man”, “Pearl Necklace”, “Arrested For Driving While Blind”, and set closer “Tush”. Amazing. Two years later they were back as headliners; and rightly so. Another burger, avoid a few more cans and bottles, final visit to the beer tent, and back down front.
The day belonged to Whitesnake. The deserved it, and didn’t let us down one little bit. Whitesnake’s set was recorded; you can find it on YouTube. Mistreated is here (and is a simply awesome performance by Coverdale): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BZprpxhyMk
Coverdale opens the song thus: “We’ve got an old song for you. I think this may be the last time we’ll ever play it [it wasn’t]. Please enjoy it. It features my good friend Mel Galley on guitar”.
Whitesnake setlist: Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues; Rough An’ Ready; Ready An’ Willing; Guilty Of Love; Here I Go Again; Lovehunter; Mistreated; Soldier Of Fortune; Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City; Fool For Your Loving; Thank You Blues; Don’t Break My Heart Again; Wine, Women An’ Song.
In 1983 the ‘Snake were: David Coverdale (lead vocals and 110% rock godliness); Micky Moody (blues guitar); Jon Lord (swirling Hammond); Mel Galley (rock guitar); Colin Hodgkinson (thumping bass); and Cozy Powell (powerhouse drums).
Back in the car. An hour or two to get out of the car park. My mates would fall asleep and snore. I would drive back up a lonely and empty M1 and then the A1. Back home in the early hours. Denim jacket hung up again. Happy happy days 🙂
Archive for the ‘Diamond Head’ Category
Rock on the Tyne Gateshead Stadium 29th/30th August 1981
In 1981 the north east for its own rock festival in the shape of Rock on the Tyne, a two day event which took place at Gateshead Stadium over the August bank holiday weekend. So we decided to forego our usual annual trek to Reading and sample the delights of this new event. That seemed a big choice, and a bit of a dilemma for me at the time, as I had been going to Reading for 9 consecutive years. As it happened, having made the break from going to Reading I never returned, which in hindsight was a mistake….
The line-up for Rock on the Tyne was (according to my tickets) as below.
Saturday. Huang Chung, Doll by Doll, The Polecats, Pauline Murray, U2, Ian Dury & the Blockheads, Elvis Costello. [note the programme doesn’t list Pauline Murray, and does list Beckett. I can’t remember seeing Pauline play, and suspect the programme may be correct.]
Sunday. Fist, Diamond Head, Trimmer & Jenkins, Dr Feelgood, Ginger Baker’s Nutters, Lindisfarne, Rory Gallagher.
One of my main reasons for attending was to see up and coming new wave Irish band U2; this was their first appearance in the north east. I remember getting to the festival just in time to see their set late on Saturday afternoon. U2 were amazing at this point in their career. Bono was passionate, full of energy and you could just feel how hungry he and the rest of the band were for the massive success which was soon to follow. Stand-out songs were 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow (which they performed twice, once during the main set and again as part of the encore) and Fire. I remember Bono climbing up the lighting rig during (I think) Fire. Or perhaps that was the following year when they supported the Police at the same venue, or maybe it was on both occasions (actually I think it was both times ?) The memories are fading now, but what I do remember is that U2 were the highlight of the festival, and they were the band that everyone was talking about.
My other memory of the weekend was Rory Gallagher. Rory was never less than excellent, and this performance was no exception. He’d put on a little weight and added a brass section, and played the festival out with all those blues rock classics…Well did out ever get up with them bullfrogs on our mind?! Pure class 🙂
Ian Dury was good, Elvis was moving into his country period, Ginger Baker had a massive drum kit (of course). The festival wasn’t that well attended and wasn’t repeated although Gateshead Stadium has been used for concerts since then, including the aforementioned Police and U2 gig which took place the following year.
U2 setlist: With A Shout; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow; An Cat Dubh; Into The Heart; Another Time, Another Place; The Cry; The Electric Co.; I Threw A Brick Through A Window; Stories For Boys; Out Of Control.
Encores: I Will Follow; Fire.
Rory Gallagher setlist: The Devil Made Me Do It; Bad Penny; Nadine; I Wonder Who; Moonchild; Double Vision; Wayward Child; Bourbon; Brute Force and Ignorance; Ride on Red, Ride On; Western Plain (When I Was a Cowboy); Tattoo’d Lady; Leavin’ Blues; Philby; Shadow Play; Bullfrog Blues
This post takes me up to the letter “U”. I will continue with “U” tomorrow, by writing about U2 in concert.