Sunday – last day of the festival – started out as a total nightmare. The last thing you want when you’re in a field in the middle of nowhere – is rain! And it was pissing down. Vera didn’t even have a rain poncho or umbrella or anything, so we had to wait until the worst rain passed to we could go and get her a poncho asap. She would have been soaked without it.
And this last day we didn’t get any VIP-treatment, no backstage passes like the day before. Well – I had my press pass, I had that all 3 days, but Vera didn’t so we were out in the rain. I wanted to see Sebastian Bach but as the rain kept getting worse, even I wondered if I really wanted to see that show that bad…
The minute he got on stage, I knew what to do. I didn’t want to watch it. Actually, I was pissed off. No disrespect to Sebastian as an entertainer but the “problem” in this case was that I’ve seen SO many shows with Sebastian since 1989, I lost count already in 1992… He has ALWAYS been this bundle of energy, TNT dynamite on stage – I’ve come to expect that. When it was pissing down like this at Donington 1992 he ran out on stage, slid and fell on his ass – but continued singing! That’s what a true artist does.
But at Graspop he looked like a primadonna who didn’t want to get his hair wet! I’ve NEVER seen Sebastian act like that before. In 23 years this was the first time he had that attitude and I was disappointed.
When he just stood there, doing nothing, looking like he just wanted to go back to the backstage area it felt like it was anything BUT rock’n’roll. And when he stated “Belgium! This SUCKS!” I was even more pissed off because I was thinking to myself, as the water kept running into my eyes and my clothes were about to get soaked even through the rain poncho – “It’s not YOU standing out here getting soaked mothertrucker! I’m not gonna stand here if you’re not going to make it worth the trouble!”
[Seriously – what the hell was THIS all about…?]
THESE VIDEOS (each was less than a minute long) WERE REMOVED FROM YOUTUBE BY “GET OFF MY BACH PRODUCTIONS INC” (=Sebastian Bach).
Further comments not necessary…..
So I left. The first time ever that I walked out on a Sebastian Bach or Skid Row show. Later on I heard from somebody who had stayed through the whole thing, that it got better towards the end of the show… Well, too bad my patience or the lack thereof, got the best of me in the rain and the cold. The last thing I need is an artist with a bad attitude.
The Marquee tent was a lot better. I had no idea who was playing in there, I didn’t care. I just wanted to stand somewhere where it wasn’t raining. The only problem was all the SMOKING in there. I felt like I was gonna puke. I get sick from cigarette-smoke, I really can’t handle it, it makes me panic. And people were smoking EVERYWHERE.
I couldn’t hide from it, it was the same outside actually. Every time I wanted to take a deep breath of fresh air, I got a cloud of someone’s SMOKE in my lungs instead, which almost made me faint a few times. Smokers just don’t understand what it’s like to be subjected to their smoke. Some chick at Sweden Rock told me that “this is a festival, we SMOKE here!”. Okay – people pass out in their puke on festivals too, so what’s that got to do with anything?!
So I had my nose stuck in my jacket the whole time, the only way to avoid taking a deep breath of nicotine when I least expect it… Shouldn’t have to be that way. Maybe someday smoking will be a thing of the past.
Jan from JOP showed up, they had just arrived. Had a short chat with him, then he took off to check out the sound board the would be working with. I texted JOP’s former tour manager Anett to ask if she was there cause I knew she was going to the festival. She texted back saying she was up on the stage (Ugly Kid Joe’s stage).
Everybody’s impressed with UKJ – it’s like time stood still with those guys. They are still as cool and as valid as they ever were. There is still the naughty boyishness in them, the middle-finger teenage punkish attitude. They sound great and most of all I’m super impressed by drummer Yael Biz. She is freaking amazing!
Here she is with Alex Skolnick in a different project, she kicks major ass:
Whitfield Crane sounds great still, so all in all it was great seeing them live again. It was raining when they were playing Sweden Rock Festival as well, but at least this time they were in a tent. :)
When they finished their set I RAN out of the tent cause I could hear that EUROPE had started playing. It was still raining but I absolutely wanted to see them. Here is my shaky video of the powerwalk from the tent to the main stage – prepare to get sea sick! ;))
To be honest, I haven’t seeen Europe in many years because I chose NOT to. I remember them from their hayday, from the “hair-days” when they were on top and I didn’t want to ruin my good memories by seeing a bunch of old(er) family-guys with short hair. Just didn’t feel right. However, seeing them at Graspop was different somehow, it was a festival so I decided to go check it out.
Now I regret that I wasted so many opportunities the past few years to go and see them. They REALLY made me proud to be Swedish! There was nothing about them that felt “old” in any way, they are still great on a big stage.
Joey Tempest was strutting – owning that stage. Unlike Sebastian he didn’t give a fuck about the rain. He put on a show like there WAS no rain! And he looked like he loved every second of it!
It sounded great – Europe is a perfect old-school arena-band. They know how to handle a large crowd and a big stage. I’m glad that I went to see them and it was WORTH standing in the rain for! Joey Tempest still knows how to entertain, I’ll be back for more.
[Still kicking butt!]
After their show, I met up with Anett for just a few minutes and took a walk around the area. It was cold and damp so I decided to go back to the tent. Jon Oliva’s Pain was coming up.
Jan was busy working, Hanneke (light-tech) as well but she was so glad to see me, she jumped down to give me a hug. “You are welcome to join me up there if you want“, she said, so when she show was about to begin, I went up there. Hanneke rocks, always happy always up to something, it’s impossible not to like that girl. :)
Saw guitar-tech Fabio on the stage, haven’t seen him in ages, hoped to be able to get together with “the family” later and catch up a little! That didn’t happen though. I don’t know why, but at least I got to hang with the funniest bunch in the backstage bar afterwards – Fabio, Hanneke and Anett. We were laughing and having a great time, always a pleasure to hang out with them! :-D
The Jon Oliva’s Pain show…. Jon lost a lot of weight since I last saw him, he looked good. The new band sounded good but… I’m not sure why the band (or Jon) has chosen to just play songs from one album (Hall of The Mountain King).
Personally, I think it’s a step back, because this band has created some great music under the name Jon Oliva’s Pain since 2005 and I missed hearing those songs. Going back to the Savatage years feels unnecessary and wasn’t my cup of tea at all. Maybe it pleases the hardcore Savatage-fans but evenso they must have followed Jon’s work the past few years and learned to appreciate what he does now, so I don’t know who this was for, really.
But that’s only my personal opinion, it has nothing to do with the execution of the songs or the quality of the musicians. That is, as always, top-notch.
A bit sad and disappointed that I didn’t get to meet Jon this time. Maybe some other time.
Instead, I went to check out the merch, it had stopped raining. Met up with Vera, grabbed a bite and got ready to see Motorhead. But by the time they went onstage, it was raining again. I went to the VIP-bar and for the first time noticed that they had direct streaming of the show on the TV:s back there. Couldn’t be more perfect! I was under a roof and I could still watch the show! :)
What can I say about Lemmy…? Not too many surprises there. He is cool. He is very cool. He sounds like Lemmy and he gives the crowd what they want. Motorhead is a sure thing. You always know that they’re gonna deliver and WHAT they’re gonna deliver.
After Motorhead, I met up with Anett, Hanneke and Fabio in the backstage bar and nobody was particularly eager to see Guns n’Roses. First of all, we all expected them to be late as fuck, as usual. Then – we expected them to suck, like they have the past few years. Everyone I talked to that day hadn’t planned on seeing GnR. “Maybe the first two songs or something…” – that was the general attitude. Nobody had high hopes for Axl & co.
No wonder, he’s screwed up so badly so many times that people just got tired of it. You can’t act any way you want nowadays because there’s always gonna be some other band that will steal your fans. Not even if you’re Axl Rose, will you get away with just anything.
We were just taking it easy back there when suddenly we heard this BANG and music from the stage. We all stood there with puzzled faces. “They started – already???” It was 20 minutes too early..???
I went out there to check if it was indeed GnR or something else. It WAS Guns…! They had opened with Chinese Democracy. I still didn’t think that they would deliver anything that would be worth staying for, so I stood there, far away from the stage with no intention of moving closer. I was sceptical.
The set continued with Welcome To The Jungle. At this point I was beginning to realize that Axl sounded freaking GREAT. He looked a lot better than the last time too – he lost weight and was actually MOVING on stage. Whooah!
A few songs later I was hooked. This was a different Axl than I remembered, and definitely a different Axl than I expected! It was as if he was pissed off at the criticism and had something to prove.
So you think I’m fat?
You think I can’t sing anymore?
You think I can’t deliver the goods?
WELL – TAKE THIS MOTHERFUCKERS!!!
He was on a mission and I was blown away! I’ve never even been a GnR-fan ever. Never in a million years did I think that Axl Rose, of all people, would get my attention and even have me contemplating to miss the early flight home…!
We had to leave but first Vera wanted to see “just one more song“. And then I ended up thinking the same “just ONE more song…”. And Anett, who was supposed to go with us so we could drive her to her hotel, didn’t want to leave at all..! She said she would grab a shuttle or something – at the time nobody cared HOW they would get back to their hotels or airports, it was just a show that you didn’t want to walk out from…!
It dawned on me, for the first time ever, why Guns n’Roses once became the biggest rock band in the world. THIS was the reason. Axl had a fantastic evening – he created magic!
I read a review in Metal Hammer UK that said he “had the passion of a dead sheep” at some other gig, and I had to wonder if this show at Graspop was just ONE great show that we would see in years…? Cause if the band would continue to sound like THAT and Axl continue to sing flawless – and communicate with the crowd – I would GLADLY travel to see GnR again.
But I guess you never know with that man. I’m glad and feel privileged that we got to witness a great GnR show that actually made people STAY and enjoy the show! I dragged Vera away from there somewhere after “Civil War” cause we HAD to beat the crowds and get out of there before all those thousands of people started heading for the exit.
We could hear Knockin’ on Heavens Door, Whole Lotta Rosie and Patience as we were walking to the parking lot.
The PERFECT ending to a PERFECT festival.
THE GRASPOP BLOGS:
Next up – Bang Your Head festival in Germany……….!
When it was time for Twisted Sister, the crew-guy Rob (who had invited us as his guests) showed up with a funny smile on his face. “Come on, I wanna show you something!”
So we followed him to the right side of the stage where he had placed a road-case on wheels right in front of the sound guy, yet still so perfect that we weren’t in anyone’s way. The BEST seats in the house! “This is reserved especially for you guys!” Jesus, I had to laugh, Vera couldn’t believe it either, that was just so great.
It didn’t end there. Only a few minutes before Dee & co were about to enter the stage, someone PUSHED the case so hard that I thought we were gonna end up ON the stage in front of all those thousands of people! I’ve got it on video – when I start screaming, that’s when the case is being pushed!
It was Twisted Sister’s manager Danny Stanton – a guy that I think everybody knows. He’s also managed Sebastian Bach, Lita Ford, just a bunch of bands over the years. “You can see EVEN better now!” he laughed. My god – crazy dude! :-))
Dee showed up and I could tell he was totally psyched. He was jumping and by the concentrated look on his face it was like a bomb ready to explode. “Let’s DO this!!”
And off he went – like a missile! When Dee enters a stage, it’s full speed ahead and he never stops!
I don’t know WHERE he gets all that energy from, but he’s amazing. Dee Snider is the epitome of rock’n’roll – he is the last genuine rocker out there. He will join anyone on stage if invited, because he LOVES what he does. Other rock stars won’t do shit unless they’re paid or unless they see a huge PR-value in their participation. That’s not rock’n’roll. Dee will do it because he honestly and truly LOVES being on stage and my god how we love him for that!
Not only is his VOICE better than ever – it’s strong, clear and powerful, but he also has an endless energy, at 57 he is in far better shape than dudes half his age!
Watching the crowd was also a fantastic experience. I almost got tears in my eyes, it was mindblowing. Dee had every single person’s attention. Such total control of thousands of people, that’s something that you don’t see every day.
You can see some of it in this video for instance. First he introduces Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, now with Adrenaline Mob, among others…) – we were all standing there watching the show in awe. Mike P had his family with him, his beautiful daughter Melody and his son Max, and their mother. :) They were sitting right next to me on the road case, and I thought it was so cool to introduce the kids to the world of rock’n’roll at such a young age. :)
So anyway, after Mike & band were introduced, Dee barely even got a chance to start singing. Thousands of people started singing “The Price” with their hands and cellphones up in the air. At THAT point I was really glad that I had the privilege of being up on stage! What a sight that was! You don’t see that every day.
I got to hear some of my favorites – You Can’t Stop Rock’n’Roll (and nobody sings it with more conviction than Dee Snider!) Stay Hungry, Burn In Hell (another big favorite!) S.M.F and of course the Twisted Sister anthems that no TS show could ever be without: I Wanna Rock and We’re Not Gonna Take It.
The Graspop-crowd loved Twisted Sister – so much that when he introduced the headliners of the evening – Limp Bizkit, people booed…!
We went backstage after the show cause Limp Bizkit apparently didn’t allow anyone back there when they were preparing for their gig. Rob escorted us back to the artist room and the Twisted Sister band+crew, plus the Adrenaline Mob-guys had just ordered pizza – so there was a PILE of pizza boxes in there!
Vera stopped Dee as he was passing by, cause she felt she wanted to tell him how much he had affected her life with his writings and his music. Dee was super-cool, really took time to listen. There’s just something with his whole persona that makes you like him and respect him. He is tall and walks straight, he is confident without being arrogant, and he’s very bright.
One of the Twisted Sister guys brought me a glass of white wine in a champagne-glass, but I couldn’t drink it – I was driving. :-( I tried a little sip though and regretted even MORE that I was driving because the wine was fantastic! So the guy got up, went back to the room where he got me the glass of wine and came back with a whole bottle of it. “Here you are, you can have a bottle. Nobody’s gonna drink that now anyway, we’re leaving as soon as they’re done here….”.
[Gift from the Twisted Sister-guys – we couldn’t even keep it]
At first I was happy about the gift – then I realized that I couldn’t take it home because I wasn’t checking in any luggage and you can’t bring a bottle of wine on board in your carry-on. So…. we had to leave that great wine to whoever cleaned the AVIS-rental car the next day! :-(
We couldn’t even get out to the buses and vans because the whole area was closed until Limp Bizkit started playing. So we were just hanging there, and I was checking my Twitter on the Graspop artist-WiFi. Mike Portnoy was doing the same. Suddenly one of his Tweets showed up on my Twitter-timeline. I laughed and said “You just Tweeted!”. He leaned over to check my phone “Oh, it’s up now? Can I see how it looks on your cell?” Total nerding, lol!
If you think that people are partying and taking drugs and screwing groupies backstage in 2012 – forget it. They are TWEETING and updating their FACEBOOK-statuses! :-)
[Empty backstage-area, everybody’s leaving for the next gig]
When they finally opened the parking we went with everybody to the buses and vans to say goodbye and then continue on our own way back to the hotel. Said byebye to Rob who was really a cool and generous guy – we had a great time thanks to him. AND – he had worked for Lita Ford too, that gives him a few extra points in my book, lol! :)
The NEXT day (Sunday, last Graspop-day) was just RAINY – I’m surprised I didn’t get sick after that ordeal:
SEBASTIAN BACH, UGLY KID JOE, JON OLIVA’S PAIN, MOTORHEAD, EUROPE, GUNS N’ ROSES
THE GRASPOP BLOGS:
So…. I love Megadeth. Both Vera and Rob were giggling a bit at my teenage-happy face. I was really looking forward to the show and yeah I admit that I was almost terrified at the thought of bumping into Dave Mustaine somewhere back there. After all this time working in the music biz, I’m not easily impressed by “rock stars” anymore, and most bands are on a totally different level nowadays.
Very few still make me feel like a nervous, stoked teenager…!
Megadeth and Whitesnake (what a combo by the way…lol!) are two bands that I still have a lot of respect for.
[From WAY back when I was hanging with Megadeth because former guitarist Marty Friedman was a super-great guy who also happened to be friends with Anders Johansson (former Yngwie-drummer) who in turn happened to be a friend of mine also….:-) So he would get me passes and stuff, very kind person. Maybe I’ll write about those “old” Megadeth-memories some other time! :-)
(Hanging around Megadeth’s stage hours before they showed up)
People around us were working, so the breaks inbetween bands were slightly boring at times. While I was sitting there, overlooking Megadeth’s drumset – somebody got up there and started playing. First I thought it was a roadie or something – but when I took a closer look, it was Shawn Drover himself. He smiled and left. A few minutes later, I bump into Chris Broderick who’s also smiling, warming up right behind the Megadeth backdrop.
(Chris warming up minutes before they hit the stage)
I asked Ellefson’s tech where I could stand so that I wouldn’t be in anyone’s way, cause I saw that people had been told not to stand here or there because the sound-guy needed to see what was going on on stage. I just wanted to enjoy the show without being told to move. “If you stand over there you’ll be good”, he said and pointed at a spot right behind the sound-guy.
Just as I was adjusting my camera – Dave Mustaine suddenly walks right out on stage. I’m glad the camera was on so I didn’t miss anything…!
And the show was….? Well, for me it was freaking great, but it’s the last time I’m ON the stage during a Megadeth concert. There’s something about being in a crazy crowd that’s going insane – that feels right when it comes to Megadeth. Standing there, civilized without as much as sweating, felt kind of snobby and not-so-rock’n’roll.
As much as I realize the privilege of being so close to the band up on stage, it’s still not the way a show is supposed to be experienced.
I love everything about Megadeth – they sound brilliant, and the angry Mustaine-vocals make every syllable believable. I kept hearing from people what a “dick” he supposedly is and that’s something I’ve heard as long as I can remember. There’s always been people disliking him. Not saying that they’re wrong, I don’t know him personally to state otherwise, but if he hadn’t been arrogant, his music wouldn’t have been what it is. It’s the anger and the arrogance that does it.
And maybe I simply LIKE people with an attitude problem. :-)
Back in 1999 I went to Vegas to see Megadeth at The Joint (Hard Rock Hotel). and some chick tried to impress Dave by flashing her boobs. Dave just looked at her, being anything BUT impressed, and said: “You know… if you water them, they might grow.” OUCH! :-)) See, I likethat kind of sarcasm, call me crazy. ;)
The guy doesn’t give a rats ass about anything, I think that most people secretly admire people like that.
So anyway – “the new” Megadeth is better than ever. I used to think they were boring live, but that has changed in the past few years. I don’t know what happened, maybe it’s the chemistry between the current band members, cause it works really well.
But again, watching Megadeth from the side of the stage might be a privilege and I know that – but it’s not the ideal place to actually experience a gig. You’re supposed to be in the mosh pit with a few thousand other maniacs, getting all your aggressions out, getting your ass kicked, sweating and jumping and – all that.
Last year I took the day off to go see Megadeth in Aarhus, Denmark. It was amazing – there was all that aggression in the music that got your adrenaline pumping – it gave you strength and it was like some sort of mental cleansing.
Even at Graspop I was filled with that feeling, but in a less physical sort of way. Any band that can bring out emotions like that, is worth following.
After the show, I met Vera behind the backdrop – and she started laughing. “My god, Daniela, you look like a happy child!” I guess I must have had that “holy shiit they rule!“-face and yes I was definitely happy. Can’t wait to see them again.
MEGADETH photo album on the FB-page: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
A few of the highlights:
Ooooh – myyy – goood! :)))
One of my absolute favorite Megadeth-songs, great lyrics. The filming is terrible but I was trying to actually watch the band without the camera being in the way – and record at the same time. Didn’t work out so well :-D
THIS is when you wish you were in the crowd!
THE GRASPOP BLOGS:
Saturday was the best day for us – nice weather and super-VIP treatment! Spent all day on the main stage.
We got guest-passes from Rob, a crew guy who we met at Sweden Rock Festival (see, I haven’t even finished writing about THAT yet…!). When Vera approached the security, they didn’t even bother to check our passes, they just smiled and welcomed us in. We thought “wow, unusually friendly security people here!” but minutes later we learned that Rob had notified them that we were coming and instructed them not to give us any problems, lol! :-) So it was the freaking RED CARPET to the backstage area.
I didn’t want to go up on stage at first, it’s somebody’s working area so unless I’m explicitly invited up there, I’m not going. Vera went ahead and came back after a while – Rob was up on stage and we were invited. Evenso, I found a dark, secluded corner up there where I figured I wouldn’t be in anyone’s way. My legs were aching, must have strained a muscle or ten at the Slayer gig the night before.
It was only a few minutes before Adrenaline Mob were about to hit the stage.
We missed them at Sweden Rock because they were playing an early slot. Those early slots at festivals generally suck, cause it’s difficult for a band to gather a large crowd at noon. You know…. Children of the Night or Up All Night, Sleep All Day…all that sort of thing. ;-)
It was the same this time. They were due on stage 12.15. I have to admit that I haven’t listened to Adrenaline Mob before, so it’s difficult to rate their show properly. Hearing songs from the stage doesn’t do the music justice. I sat there and watched Mike Portnoy more than the others to be honest. First of all, because I am a sucker for great drummers – and hey, I don’t need to tell YOU guys that mr Portnoy is without a doubt one of the best in the business! It’s a kick watching him kill those drums, so for me I didn’t need a lot more to enjoy the Adrenaline Mob-show really. :-)
I also like great singers and although I’ve never listened a whole lot to Symphony X either, I did go to check them out at Sweden Rock, simply because two of my friends – Jan and Taz were with them on that particular tour. So that was when I got to see and hear Russell Allen. He is a great vocalist, wish I could have heard him more up there but the stage monitors didn’t do him any favors. I couldn’t hear a thing. But basically, I love bands that are the best at what they do – and if you’re looking for “Crème de la Crème”-musicians, Adrenaline Mob is definitely for you!
Photos on my FB-page: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
Video – this is what I heard from the stage monitors (=not too much)
Next up – PRIMAL FEAR.
Those guys are cool as hell too. Met them for the first time at Z7 with Jon Oliva’s Pain back in 2007 I think. Super-nice guys. Then we hung out with singer Ralf in 2009 at Sweden Rock. My friend Kevin from JOP was in Sweden visiting and Ralf had missed the shuttle back to the hotel. So we drove him back to the hotel, got a nice chat on the way. Really a polite, nice guy.
Met him and Mat in the backstage-area after their show, they seemed to actually remember me (I never count on that…).
Most of all – I’m INCREDIBLY IMPRESSED by Ralf’s VOICE!! Jesus, there is no competition at Graspop 2012 that comes even CLOSE to that kind of range!
My jaw dropped several times, absolutely amazing! The whole band is rocking their asses off, not one quiet moment during Primal Fear’s performance. Their gig felt a lot shorter than it was. It’s not what I would listen to at home maybe, but I would definitely go see them live – any day! It’s well worth the money.
PRIMAL FEAR photo album on my FB-page: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
Check this out:
Next up was Thin Lizzy but we missed part of their show cause we were in the backstage catering. Good food, and nice to be able to bring a bottle of water with you without anybody keeping the bottle cap (not sure why they do that).
Forgot that keyboardist Darren Wharton is with them, that’s where he got his first break in the first place. The reason why Darren Wharton in particular is “special” to me is because he was one of the very first people I ever interviewed when I started out in this business.
I was 19 and thought that my English wasn’t good, so I printed the questions I had and gave it to the band beforehand so they could follow me during the interview. Lol! :-) My god... looking back now, I wonder what they must have been thinking.
Also, Darren was late for that particular interview, but I remember thinking he was sooo hot when he showed up in tight, bleached and torn jeans, leather jacket and his dark hair and blue eyes. That was enough to impress a young teenager like me..! :-)
His band back in those days was DARE and they had just released their first album:
Scott Gorham is also a funny guy. Many years ago when Thin Lizzy played in Malmo, he just walked out in the freezing cold – said he didn’t feel like waiting for the others to get to the hotel and asked if I could drive him back to his hotel. I told him that if he was cool with a small Renault, then sure…. He sat back there, in my tiny little car, looking around going: “Well…this is nice!” So, definitely no rock star attitude there, whatsoever. :-)
And then there’s Marco Mendoza – who’s played with every band it seems…. Whitesnake for instance. I think I’d better not comment on Marco at ALL, lol. :-) He’s a good bassplayer, that’s the main thing. :)
And current singer with Thin Lizzy – Ricky Warwick…. I interviewed him back in 1992 at Donington Monsters of Rock, I still have this CRAPPY recording from that (apologies for the bad quality, after all it’s exactly 20 years ago now…!)
This is only a CLIP – maybe someday I’ll post the whole thing…
So Thin Lizzy always brings back memories. :-) Wish I could have seen their show, I only saw the last two-three songs but it’s always a treat to hear the classics – The Boys Are Back In Town, Rosalie (eventhough that’s a cover…).
Next up –
Both require more space – so they will be reviewed separately. :)) Coming upppppp……..
THE GRASPOP BLOGS:
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]