The main events of the Saturday + some random thoughts about the festival.

Marilyn Manson took to the main stage on Saturday evening to an atmospheric opening (Four Rusted Horses), and dropped Disposable Teens in early. After that the set got strangely boring, with him seeming to be focusing on most of his slower songs, which wasn’t the best way to fully hold the attention of 60,000 people at Donington. He overdid the prima donna act, getting made up between songs, throwing his mic on the ground repeatedly and getting a new bottle of water after every sip, but this wasn’t exactly enthralling either. The highlight was seeing the horrified reaction of one of the stage techs after he pulled down and broke a light stand.

Essex dance-rock legends The Prodigy took to the second stage in front of a heaving crowd immediately after Manson had finished and put on a tour-de-force of dance/rock classics. A phenomenal set mixing all the classics with new material from Invaders Must Die to perfect effect. Shame it wasn’t longer/earlier so that they could have had a longer set.

Fire, rising and falling drum kits, upside-down intricate drummers, one and a half hours of anthemic yet brutal metal, it was just another standard Slipknot gig really… The Iowan crew were headlining a UK festival at long last and Corey Taylor seemed genuinely moved at the reaction of the 80,000 fans singing along to his choruses and moshing madly during the brutal bits. I first saw Slipknot seven and a half years ago when they recorded their Disasterpieces DVD in London, and they’ve remained at the top of their game since then. This awesome headline slot at the legendary festival confirmed their status as one of the top metal bands in the world, one of few bands from a younger generation than Iron Maiden, Metallica et al. who could really step up to the plate and put on a great show at the top of the bill at Donington.

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And now some random reflections on a great festival:

Credit to the organisers for not only putting some cracking bands on, but mostly getting them to run on time too, quite an achievement which I previously cast doubt on…

It seems like everyone who wasn’t there was watching it on the webcast which was awesome. I’m not sure how LiveNation made money off of this, although I guess it enhances the brand reputation etc. I’m sure broadcasting all those big screen boob flashes online must have contravened some kind of censorship law in some of the countries receiving the feed though.

Was it me or were there more people from abroad at this year’s festival than previous ones? There seemed to be loads of Eastern European, South African and Spanish folk about the place. Was this to do with the weakness of the pound at the moment or the stellar lineup or a combination thereof? Or did I just not notice the international contingent last time I went?

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