FEATURING SOUNDGARDEN, IGGY AND THE STOOGES, COLD CHISEL, BLACK STONE CHERRY, KIDS IN GLASSHOUSES
My decision to buy a ticket for this gig was an impulse one. I was always going to Springsteen on the Saturday and when Queen came up on the Thursday it seemed logical to do something on Friday as well. Soundgarden were not a band I’d thought much about previously (and I bought their classic Superunknown album after buying the ticket). As it was this made for a couple of firsts; my first day at a proper festival and my first stadium metal gig.
I’ll try to clear the supporting line up in a paragraph. Kids In Glasshouses did a good job of warming up a largely disinterested crowd and Black Stone Cherry were a terrific blues rock band who Cold Chisel (legendary in their native Australia but little known here) couldn’t quite top. It’s worth noting that I’ve known their lead singer Jimmy Barnes for years from his contributions to the Lost Boys soundtrack but didn’t make the connection until after the fact – I wondered why the voice was familiar. And I’ve never been a great fan of Iggy Pop but it was quite humbling to be in his presence (he’s a lot smaller than you’d think) and he certainly got the crowd going – a point I’ll return to later. Incidentally if you’re looking for an Iggy Pop album outside of the obvious stuff try Kill City with fellow Stooge James Williamson.
Then Soundgarden came on stage. Given that I’m not a particular fan it was quite satisfying how much of their stuff was familiar. Jesus Christ Pose (a track I’d not heard before) might just have been the highlight but Spoonman, Superunknown and 4th of July (all from an album I wish I’d bought years ago) ran it close. And I think Fell On Black Days may have finally replaced Black Hole Sun as my favourite Soundgarden track.
By virtue of getting there early I managed to get close to the stage; by the time Iggy came on I was only four rows back. This makes it my best view at a major concert and I only fell back when Soundgarden came on and the moshing started in earnest.
And this was another first; my first proper moshpit. Moshing is a very metal thing, as is crowd surfing – obviously the stewards were forced to prevent the latter on safety grounds. During Iggy’s set I saw one kid carried over the barriers to the waiting men in hi vis and escorted out, only to return a few minutes later (presumably after promising to behave himself) and promptly vanish over the barriers again at which point I assume he was booted out of the grounds. My first thought was that it was a rather silly thing to spend forty quid on a ticket and miss the headliner but it occurred to me that in twenty five years time when he’s got teenage kids of his own the story will probably impress them more.
Had I been ten years younger I probably would have joined in the moshing (and got very bruised) but as a dull thirty something I withdrew to a safe distance. So that was my friday, pushing, shoving, kids being ejected, the smell of pot, the lad next to me doing a sneaky piss where he stood. It was all quite uncivilised and perfectly rock and roll. It wasn’t my scene at all – and I fucking loved it!
And finally – it rained. Kids In Glasshouses performed in a flurry of drizzle, the sun dried me out during Black Stone Cherry, Cold Chisel witnessed a downpour, Iggy escaped and finally the heavens opened for Soundgarden. All grist to the mill – as Chris Cornell put it for the quote of the week, `Anybody can go to the park when it’s fucking sunny`.