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 ‘Meat Loaf’ Category
Meat Loaf Newcastle City Hall 1983 and 1985
I first became aware of Meat Loaf when I saw the video of “Bat out of Hell” on the Old Grey Whistle Test in the late 70s. That video screening caused quite a stir for a number of reasons. First it was an epic 9 minutes long; much longer than the clips which were normally aired on the programme. And secondly the power and drama of the performance was unlike anything else around at the time. Yes it was very Springsteen-like in its arrangement and its story of the street, love and passion. But this guy just took the concept to an entire new level. Meat Loaf came crashing into our sitting rooms that night, singing his tale of love and the street, and anyone who saw it couldn’t fail to have been moved. The video caused such a reaction that Bob Harris had to screen it again the following week; and it was often requested over the months and years that followed. I remember being totally knocked out by the drama, theatre and passion of the song, by Meat Loaf’s epic performance and Jim Steinman’s arrangement. Steinman is on record as saying: “I never really saw classical music and rock ‘n’ roll as different. I still don’t. I grew up liking extremes in music – big gothic textures. I never have much regard for more subtle stuff. Dire Straits may be good, but it just doesn’t do it for me. I was attracted to William Blake, Hieronymus Bosch, I couldn’t see the point in writing songs about ordinary, real-life stuff….Meat was the most mesmerizing thing I’d ever seen…..He was much bigger than he is now, he was f***ing huge, and since I grew up with Wagner, all my heroes were larger than life. His eyes went into his head, like he was transfixed”
I didn’t get to see Meat Loaf in concert until 20th August 1983 when he featured as part of the Donington Monsters of Rock jamboree. The full line up on that day was: Whitesnake; Meat Loaf; ZZ Top; Twisted Sister; Dio and Diamond Head (pretty good eh :)). I then saw him play at Newcastle City Hall a month or so later on 26th September 1983, and again on 19th January 1985. I also saw the big man sing at the 22nd June 1985 Knebworth concert which had a line up of Deep Purple , Scorpions, Meat Loaf , UFO, Mountain, Blackfoot , Mama’s Boys, and Alaska.
Meat Loaf in concert was a magnificent piece of theatre, full-on drama and passion. Support on both occasions at the City Hall came from Terraplane, a pop rock band who would later morph into Thunder. The 1985 concert was also memorable for another reason: “1985. Meatloaf collapses on stage at Newcastle City Hall. He is taken by ambulance to the city’s Royal Victoria Hospital where he undergoes a 30 minute examination in the casualty department. Tour manager Robbie Johnstone later said, ‘Meatloaf collapsed onstage due to food poisoning contracted the previous evening, leaving his system completely dehydrated’”. The gig was rescheduled a month or so later and Meat Loaf returned to Newcastle on 8th February 1985 to play another great concert.
Typical set list from 1985: Bad Attitude; Dead Ringer For Love; Jumping the Gun; Midnight At the Lost and Found; I’m Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us; Paradise By the Dashboard Light; Nowhere Fast; Piece Of the Action; All Revved Up With No Place To Go; Modern Girl; Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad; Bat Out Of Hell.
“The sirens are screaming and the fires are howling, Way down in the valley tonight, There’s a man in the shadows with a gun in his eye, And a blade shining oh so bright, There’s evil in the air and there’s thunder in the sky, And a killer’s on the bloodshot streets, Oh and down in the tunnel where the deadly are rising, Oh I swear I saw a young boy, Down in the gutter, He was starting to foam in the heat” (Bat Out Of Hell, Steinman, 1977).