GRASPOP METAL MEETING 2012 – memories and reviews (Part 1)

Finally Saturday and the first day in weeks, it seems, that I’ve had a fair chance to actually get enough SLEEP. That little detail, sleep, is luxury most of the time around here…

Graspop 2012 is now over. Once again it has been a kick-ass festival, I love it! I went there as a friend of Jon Oliva’s Pain band/crew three years ago and I’ve been coming back ever since.

I love the CROWD– it’s an amazing crowd that really LIVES, eats and breathes rock’n’roll and they are giving the artists all the love and energy that is the substantial fuel needed to create a FANTASTIC show. Without that crazy, dedicated crowd, there would be no magic.

Also, I rarely have good things to say about SECURITY, but I think that Graspop’s security crew deserve two big thumbs up for their hard work and their amazing great attitude. Usually you see the gorilla-like shaved-head, gym-sort of guys with their arms crossed looking like they totally loathe heavy metal audiences.

At Graspop they are professional and efficient. They gently escort crowd-surfers and others out with a pat on their back – “take it easy, man“…. No judgement, no power-abuse. Judging from the looks of some of the security guys and girls, they seem to be metalheads themselves. :-) I wish all festival/concert security crews were like that.

CRAZY GRASPOP CROWD:

There’s just a very relaxed atmosphere in general at Graspop, you can feel the love for metal in the air everywhere you go.

I like the set-up with ONE main stage and three tents. That way you know where to go for the major acts. No digging after MAPS or need for impeccable planning to get from point A to point B. It’s all made simple.

AND – I like their pioneer spirit. Instead of the usual “cameras are not allowed“-bullshit, they have solved it the most logical way: They offer the BEST videos either through live-broadcast and/or out on YouTube. So there’s no need for bootleg-videos when the best quality footage is already out there on the official site. Regularly – not once a week or once a month. Sweden Rock festival have something similar but still not quite as extended as Graspop.

The backstage area is nice, clean, quiet and everything works. At many other festivals you are running around looking for stuff, there’s nobody to ask, no signs no nothing… At Graspop everything is clearly displayed and the backstage crew is nice and helpful.

Basically – I LOVE Graspop Metal Meeting!

Three days and lots to tell – I don’t even know where to begin. But I guess reviews are the most logical place to start. :-)

I came pretty late to the area, because I had been out for dinner with Vera and Ronald, a photographer friend of hers. So when I passed the entrance gates I saw that Swedish band SABATON were on stage. They were just wrapping up their set so I wouldn’t be able to review it properly, they sounded great from afar. :-)

Then came the part where I had to get in the front row – suffer through a band that I wouldn’t normally choose to see – in order to get a good spot for the evening’s headliner OZZY & FRIENDS.

I had to survive SLAYER first.

It’s no secret that Slayer is not my cup of tea at all. I’ve seen them a million times it seems, since the 80’s, yet their stuff never appealed to me. The coolest thing about their gig was that it was so clear that Tom Araya enjoyed every minute of his time on stage. As “dangerous” as he was trying to look, you could still see little twinkly stars in his eyes when he was looking out at the worshipping crowd. 

And there was an incredible comeradery in the audience, crowd-surfing, hi-fiving, big smiles, just a great feeling. However, it was tough down there in the crowd (my muscles were aching really bad the next day). I was saved by a guy in the front who moved to offer me room at the barricades and then kept asking me if I was okay. Things like that made all the difference when you’re trying to survive a wild crowd.

Regardless my personal taste, I’ve got to hand it to them – they know what their fans want and they are still around because they genuinely love playing. 

Managed to get ONE fairly OK video clip from Slayer’s show – with crowdsurfing fans included… When the camera dives down, it’s because I’m about to get somebody’s shoe in my head…! Enjoy:

There is also a SLAYER-photo album on my FB-page: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror 

I was lucky I got there during the Slayer gig, because nobody moved after that. The front row was packed and it remained that way.

When Ozzy finally hit the stage I was all smiles. I can’t help it, but that man just makes me SMILE. Every time. I don’t even care if he sounds good or bad, he always knows how to entertain people. 

I’ve read some pretty nasty comments from people about his Graspop peformance. “He sounded like shit“-kind of comments. It seems like the whiners aren’t reading the news, or else they should have been happy and grateful that Oz showed up at ALL this year.

Only two days prior to the Graspop-show, he had to cancel a show in Germany due to vocal issues. LAST year he cancelled Graspop due to laryingitis and Judas Priest had to step in as headliners and extend their show to cover up for Ozzy. He couldn’t cancel Graspop again.
So he got up on stage and gave his crowd all he had, good and bad. :)

The man is 64 years old! How great will most people sound in general at that age?! Fuck the whiners, Ozzy ROCKS. Yeah, at times he couldn’t command his voice – but the man is a trooper! He showed up and he KICKED ASS! I was there to see a good show, and I got what I came for – a great show!

There’s an amazing love and warmth in Ozzy that he projects to the crowd, he sincerely seems to enjoy what he’s doing and the smile on his face is contageous. If you could sell that smile and its effects in a bottle, I would buy it! :-)))

Personally, I prefer Ozzy with his own band. All the bling-bling with Zakk and Slash may work as a PR-sort of thing but basically I’d rather see Ozzy do his thing with his own guys – and Slash and Zakk do their own thing with their own bands. I did, however really enjoy seeing Geezer Butler on stage with Ozzy, would have wanted to see more of that. At least it made more sense than Slash.

It was fun to see the bunch on stage together as an All-Star event but if I had to choose, I would want to see Tommy, Adam, Blasko and Gus with Ozzy on stage any day. There’s a chemistry between those guys that works really well and as much as I understand why people want to see Zakk with Ozzy again, it’s a thing of the past now.

Regardless, Ozzy put up a fantastic show – even with his sore throat. I didn’t upload the whole thing on YouTube because I know how cruel people can be. Others probably did, but this time I chose not to. I made ONE video public – you can watch it below (also adding a bonus unlisted video for the readers of this blog):

WAR PIGS (unlisted video – with Geezer Butler & Slash):

 

GRASPOP DAY 2 – coming up. [Adrenaline Mob, Primal Fear, Thin Lizzy, Megadeth, Twisted Sister]

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