Tons Of Rock 2019 – Norway Does Things Differently!
July 7, 2019, a year ago
A three-day event, in the suburbs of Oslo, headlined by some of the most commercially successful bands of the last 40 years (KISS/Def Leppard), while shining a light on the homegrown talents within that time period, however non-conformist (Satyricon/Mayhem/Conception), and a vast array of international talent, across the metallic spectrum: Behemoth, Testament, Powerwolf, In Flames, Carcass, Volbeat & Slayer. Strangely, Friday was reserved for Volbeat to close the main stage, instead of Slayer's final Norwegian performance. Fellow Cali satanic-death metallers Possessed also played following Tom Araya and Co., albeit on the smallest of three areas, the tented Vampire stage. Headscratchers? Perhaps, but the independent/defiant streak of their Viking ancestors proudly lives on!
So, following the Wednesday kick-off show, with Accept, in the downtown Opera House, it was off to pastoral, grass covered festival grounds (actually youth soccer and cricket fields, when rock fans aren't around). Sort of a country fair vibe, complete with Ferris wheel, amusement rides and carnival games. Ample food options include the traditional pizza/burgers/sausage, but also Asian, vegetarian, Mexican, even local favorite, moose (aka elgbob). For a country with exorbitant prices, didn't think a 84 kroner beer (just under $10 US) was terrible, compared to a sporting event/concert, back home. This was the first year Tons Of Rock (the English pronunciation, by locals, sounding like "Tonsil Rock") wasn't housed at an old fortress, but on to bigger and (hopefully) better things, including the involvement of global concert giant, Live Nation.
Perennial festival opener Black Debbath are something of a local phenomenon. Taking a comical approach to things, the bunch of old gray haired/bald codgers have joke-filled, Norwegian language lyrics, while wearing tattoo printed t-shirts, that makes them look like many a rock star, and dangerously ultra-short cut-off jeans (I have spared you the photos)! The music is groove rock, a mix of stoner, Volbeat and verging on Grand Magus. In fact, one of the three Flying V sporting musicos (2 guitar, bass) even looks a bit like JB Christoffersson. The cowboy boot wearing singer brought out a pogo stick, for "Pils!", their ode to beer, and proceeded to bounce around, as he vocalized. Later, one of them dressed up in a Pope Cassock and mitre. Got the early arrivals going, which is the idea, right?
Since most of the population was working, things kicked off in the late afternoon, with Behemoth being the first must-see band, at 4:10. Strangely, the organization released the fact that attendees came from more than 50 countries and beside the usual’s: Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the fourth largest contingent of fans were from the USA (Canada also being in the Top 10)! Nergal & Co. were just the first black/white face painted, fire spewing band on the main stage. "Wolves Ov Siberia" opener saw the foursome in death masks, plumes of fire erupting across the stage. At one point, the wind blew the guitarist/frontman's cowl, getting it hooked on the mic, but he extricated himself without incident. "Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer" saw streaks of fire shoot in multiple directions, Orion (bass) and Seth, ended the song, next to one another, stage left. Nergal adopted his fanciful, seemingly gravity defying headdress for "Bartzabel". There were dual video monitors, onstage, opposite sides of Inferno's drum riser, providing pre-recorded visual accompaniment, throughout. Occasionally, discharged jets of compressed CO2 formed a crucifix, not to be outdone by the matching triple inverted cross logo backdrops. Backing tapes, including children's voices, were employed on "God=Dog" and the other guys handle the opening verse to riffing "Conquer All", as Nergal and Seth are out front, display some tasty twin leads. The ADHD guitarist is all over the stage: hunched over, almost scraping the stage, on his knees, or legs widely splayed, during a solo, at the front edge. Prior to the "Lucifer" finale, offstage, each of the members ingested some sort of blood-dye pack, the crimson easily seen against the white corpse paint. Orion opts to have his take the form of a nose bleed. Four flame throwers crisscross, 120 degrees, in the stage front pit. While they leave the stage, Behemoth are not done. The quartet return, in the same masks they began the day, each armed with a marching band snare drum, on which they bet out a parting shot, in unison.
Briefly checked in on Amaranthe, whom I've seen many times before. Pop-metal disco, with three singers, although the most thankless job in metal might be the two vocalists aside Elize Ryd. Seem to be popular with the locals, as the crowd spills beyond the confines of the tented Scream stage. Then again, it could just be the Northern Europeans ducking out of the late afternoon sun. There are shadowboxes across the stage, on which to pose, but while all members try to cycle through, most lenses are trained on Ryd. Blond guitarist Olof Mörck still looks like a long haired Harry Potter villain Tom Felton. Under a swirling kaleidoscope of flashing lights, "Hunger" has Ryd shouting "I am your destiny." Meanwhile, on the main stage, the Irish punk of Dropkick Murphys sees eight guys, playing a revolving array of instruments, including banjo, accordion, penny whistle, bagpipe and acoustic guitar.
Long time since Ulver resided in the black metal realm, today more akin to Pink Floyd/prog. There were a pair of drum kits crammed onto the already minuscule Vampire stage: one traditional, the other leaning to conga rhythms and/or jazz. There was a decided smell of cannabis in the air, an extreme rarity, in Europe. Demonstrates the clientele. Wasn't too long after the guitarist drew a violin bow across the electric guitar (ala Jimmy Page, or Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel) that I was off to see Satyricon. No oversize tri-tone mic stand for Satyr, but rather a thorny vine reminiscent of the spiky S in the Sepultura logo. Celebrating it's 20th anniversary of Rebel Extravaganza, the mainman was emblazoned with the telltale makeup from cover art, embodying the Thin White Dude (Bowie) or Morrissey and looked like Capt. Picard's Borg alter-ego, Locutus, from Star Trek; Next Generation. The album tracks were presented sequentially, but at the end, added two extras. The first was "Phoenix", where (someone later identified to me as) Sivert Høyem reprised the vocals he did on the '13 released, eponymous platter. Then, as always, Satyricon closed with "K.I.N.G.".
Keep forgetting that despite my and this website's predilection, Tons Of Rock is not billed as a metal festival, although it is the most prominent form of music on the bill. Still, thought, "Who selected the incidental music, between main stage bands", as prior to KISS we were treated to an eclectic trip through the '70s, courtesy of ELO, the Doobie Brothers, Huey Lewis, the Kinks, etc. Mixed emotions as the favorite band of my teenage years calls it quits. Have read the Internet sniping and gossip about Auto-tune and pre-recorded vocals, but upon seeing/hearing firsthand Paul Stanley's inability to speak to the crowd without his roached voice cracking/breaking, well, my heart did the same. No doubt, this is the right time to say goodbye. Onstage, he's relegated to a shadow of himself, dancing and strutting, but Gene Simmons handles the lion's share of the vocals (which means many older classics are absent for the set). The Demon has never met a camera he doesn't like, and to be thrust further into the limelight, in order to keep the paychecks rolling in... enough said! Those tunes Paul attempts are often filled with audience participation and/or nonsensical lyrics. Editorial over, here's the details of the show...
A giant video wall is situated behind drummer Eric Singer, KISS revolutionizing the visual aspect of music, so it makes sense that there are live cameras documenting all the action, as it happens, so that everyone (not just those down front) can see the facial expressions, on the big board, or two smaller ones, either side of the tower of amps. As an American, overseas, sort of odd hearing opening "Detroit Rock City", given the locale, but such is the universality of good music. Simmons handles the mic for "Shout It Out Loud", his longtime sidekick poised in the stage right wings. During "Deuce", it's three across the stage, Tommy Thayer getting into the act, briefly. "There is no Kiss, without the Kiss Army," implores Stanley, prior to his "Say Yeah". Gene is back singing "I Love It Loud", while four fiery plumes repeatedly erupt throughout "War Machine". Seems appropriate. 150 meters away, could feel the heat from each blast, as black smoke rings lift into the air. As it ends a sword, hilt ablaze, appears before Simmons, on a rare foray to stage left. While there, he breathes fire.
"Some of you weren't born in '83," teases the Star Child, "but everyone knows what it's about," Cue "Lick It Up", with the two guitarists (stage left) adding a bit of the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again". The Jumbotron shows parents and children (some in KISS make-up), pressed against the barricade. "Calling Dr. Love" gives way to "100,000 Years", Stanley is without guitar and spins the mic chord, ultimately ringing it repeatedly around his neck. Singer, looking into the cameras, is hoisted aloft (on visible scissor jacks, no lion adorned sheath covering the hardware) for a drum solo. "Cold Gin" gives Thayer a chance to solo and shoot rockets from his headstock, each "exploding" in the lighting rig. Speaking of spotlights, next is Simmons' turn. He and his axe shaped bass escape the green lit, fog shrouded stage, lifted to the heavens for some blood spitting, during "God Of Thunder". Six discs in the lighting rig show recorded images of the Demon's head. Stanley sung "Psycho Circus" has fireworks blasting onstage (there would plenty more. later, launched from the stage roof, rigging/trusses and temporary lifts). Didn't figure on hearing "Let Me Go, Rock n Roll", a nice surprise.
"Love Gun" sees Paul take a zip line atop the crowd, to a platform near the mixing desk. Always a Stanley standard, he only has to sing about half the lyrics (verses) as Thayer and Simmons do all the choruses, the singer is content to prance about on the tiny island amidst the fans. He stays for "I Was Made For Lovin' You" before a series of M-80 explosions heralds his return to the main stage, again by high wire. Opting for a gold, shattered glass body guitar, Stanley creates quite a racket, leading into "Black Diamond", asking "Got to sing it with us. It's so simple. Can you sing with us?" It is actually Singer, living up to his surname. The video screens go black & white (for the only time today) as a sparkler pinwheels spins and the drums rise (for a second time), although this go-round, the lion embroidered covering is in place, hiding the riser supports. Thus endeth the proper set.
But it's KISS, we all know they will be back. There's still work to be done, most notably a couple of must-play tunes. The first is "Beth", Singer seated behind a white grand piano. Lots of backing symphonic strings, but unlike Accept, at the Opera House, last night, there are no live orchestral musicians in sight. He throws drumsticks to the crowd, even though he'd just completed "Beth". Giant white balloons, each with Kiss logo and trademark make-up of one band member, bounce on the heads and outstretched arms of the crowd, for "Crazy Nights". Some even attempt to take the five foot diameter bits of latex home, as a souvenir. A trio of confetti cannons and fireworks, on and off stage, greet the ubiquitous closer "Rock And Roll All Nite". As it closes in on 11pm, it's anything but dark in the land of the midnight sun. Those camping head for late night revelry, while less intrepid hotel guests board a squadron of buses for downtown Oslo, where Rockefeller hosts an after-party, until 3am, for those that are so inclined. However, the next day starts much earlier.
Those that only arrive late, in order to only see the biggest names, often miss out on an up-and-coming gem. Case in point, Hällas, a name I'd heard before (but obviously never seen), on the small Vampire stage at 2:20pm. What year is it? Was my initial reaction to the flashback instrumentation and Beatnik chic: silver ankle boots, capes and glitter or raccoon eyeliner that recalled ‘70s prog, ala Genesis or ELP. The opening number did nothing to assuage that characterization, but as the twin guitar and synthesizer quintet progressed, the sound became more infectious hard rock, closer to countrymen Dead Lord or (the late) Black Trip. There was a digital db. meter at the soundboard, supposedly governed at 98, but Hällas dipped into triple digits on a few occasions. Purple lit "Star Rider", with its guitars to the fore, proved popular with the enthusiastic crowd of early risers. The lead singer/bassist's legs appear only slightly thicker than the mic stand. Buy some merch and get this guy a decent meal!
Simultaneously, on the main stage, Conception's moody technicality is probably not the sound that screams, "Let's get this festival started," and thus something of an odd choice to begin the day, especially with a line-up titled towards the heavier end of the metallic spectrum. Khan, Tore and crew wore floor length smocks/kilts despite the blazing sun. Already a flood of bodies lining the stage, to hear their national prog heroes. Surprisingly, they didn't dwell on last year's reunion Ep, but offered a career retrospective, back to bass/drum introduced "Roll The Fire", off Parallel Minds ('93). Ex-Kamelot singer Roy Khan, bald & with goatee, looks a bit like Geoff Tate these days, crouching and singing at the front edge of the stage.
Vltimas is David Vincent (ex-Morbid Angel), Blasphemer, from Mayhem and Cryptopsy drum machine Flo Mounier. The group is augmented to five piece for live performances, with Vincent (resplendent in the attire of the pre-Civil War era Southern gentleman, duster and hat, in tow). The multinational crew began with the title track from the just released debut, "Something Wicked Marches In". Old school death metal, at times, there were similarities to the tonality changes in Morbid's "God Of Emptiness", although most of the set maintained a lively pace. After a few songs of Wolfmother, prepared for Mayhem, the black metal pioneers (unbelievably 35 years in existence!) packing the Scream tent. What Necrobutcher had in store was almost exclusively De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas material (itself celebrating a 25th anniversary) or earlier. Attila Csihar has taken corpsepaint to bizarre extremes and during "To Daimonion" stalks the stage in stilted, robotic motion. Portions of this set were duplicated from last year's Philly Beer & Metal fest performance, but here, the entire second half can not be beaten, an unparalleled conclusion, consisting of: "Freezing Moon", "Life Eternal", the title cut from the landmark debut, "Deathcrush", "Carnage" and "Pure Fucking Armageddon". Still the hallmark by which "insanely heavy" is compared.
As Slayer prepared to take the stage, in complete sunshine (but Hell, it never really gets dark during Scandic summer, so EVERYONE plays in the light), the backdrop was a colorful, cartoon-ish collage, depicting various elements that have adorned the albums throughout their career. Having seen Slayer since the early ‘80s, was never the biggest fan (nor do I endorse everything they sing about), but over time and especially their presentation over the last half decade, where they've rediscovered and promoted more of the earliest tunes, have grown to appreciate the music beyond the mythical cult status. There are matching barbecues, flames across the backline, even before the band is onstage. Once "Repentless" (appropriate adjective) kicks in, there's plumes of fire everywhere. Tom Araya (bass/vocals) and chain laden guitarist Kerry King (surely this guy will continue to play some of these songs, once Slayer pack it in, supposedly sometime in 2020) begin "World Painted Blood" virtually side-by-side. The flames shoot at various angles of a semi-circle. After leaving the photo pit and watching the show in the field, struck by an odd photographer's illusion, the figures onstage (just seconds ago, so close by) now seem so much smaller.
Hazards of being outdoors, winds quickly dissipate the stage fog, for "Hate Worldwide". Araya asks, "Are you ready to have some fun? Because when it's over, it's over. Everyone scream 'War!'" as they commence a thunderous "War Ensemble". Armed conflict was replicated onstage, flames in all directions, massive fireballs and four blazing smokestacks ignite across the front of the stage, for the first (but not the last) time tonight. King switches to white Flying V, with symmetric red tribal designs, for "Disciple". It's classics, from here on out, beginning with blue tinged and fog shrouded "Mandatory Suicide", Gary Holt trading places with King. Synchronized, rapid fire rounds of flames shoot either side of drummer Paul Bostaph. It segues into "Chemical Warfare". The only interruption in the line of oldies is "Payback", introduced by Araya screaming "Paybacks are a bitch, mutherfucker!" "Season In The Abyss" gives way to proper set closer "Hell Awaits", the stage a complete conflagration. All the pyro effects that have come before are minimal, by comparison.
The stage is cleared, but they return for eerie, green lit "South Of Heaven". As the lights become red, the band turns their back on the fans and induces feedback from the amps, until those drumbeats and hallowed opening notes intro "Raining Blood". In the crowd, instinctively, a massive sea of fists are thrust, repeatedly, overhead. "Black Magic" is a return to the roots, followed by "Dead Skin Mask". While Slayer is on, tons of Volbeat fans visit the food stalls, or stand in the lengthy merch line, completely disinterested to what's onstage. Assume the same happened, in reverse, once Slayer were done. Speaking of which, Araya gives another war cry and there's a second firestorm, as "Angel Of Death" will reportedly be the last of their songs seen live, in Norway.
Early ‘80s contemporaries, Possessed come next. OK, only Jeff Becerra (the singer, in a wheelchair, paralyzed by a robber's bullet) remains, but a period of inactivity has made their approach more vicious (if that's possible). Playing opposite Norge language Raga Rockers meant only the diehards were onhand. Sure a few more curiosity seekers might have checked the blackened thrashers out, had that more popular band not been an option. No matter, Possessed came to rage, regardless of crowd. Early on Becerra announced this was the last show of the tour, perhaps which was the additional venom. Speaking of which, his intonations, at times, recalled Cronos. Not sure why he can't have a wireless mike, but wheeling around the stage and keeping track of the chord (in a sea of fog and blinding strobes), seems unnecessary, in this day and age. "Tribulation" is an example of fleet fingered, whammy bar thrash. Ditto "Demon" and fellow old school "The Exorcist" closer.
How can you compete with Slayer? Well you don't, so Volbeat, Friday's final main stage act, go in a completely different direction, a mix of commercial friendly rock, with hints of Elvis and Johnny Cash. Even the Volbeat logo sports a pompadour, like the '50s King. The Danes are extremely popular in Europe (with Denmark being just a short flight or ferry ride from Norway) and there appears to be many in attendance solely to witness MIchael Poulsen's creation. As if sensing this, "Leviathan" and "Last Day Under The Sun" both made their live debut (anywhere!) in front of the Tons Of Rock faithful. Former Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano (in chappie/cabbie cap) seems to have found a happy home. "The Everlasting" was up early as they worked their way through a varied set that alternates between acoustic guitar, Metallica riffs and revved up Man In Black (ie. Cash). At times it borders on country/western, which Europe lacks, but is popular, in spots, American artists often making stops in Oslo. Poulsen keeps talking and asking for people to dance. Funtime music, in small doses.
July 29th being a weekend, it was anticipated that the final day's crowd would be the largest. The line-up was stellar, as well. Initially, planned to listen to Circus Maximus, a veteran of ProgPower USA, but after a couple tunes, decided to investigate Black Viper. The dichotomy, smooth prog metal versus raw thrash, both homegrown entities. For me, there was something about the Hellions Of Fire debut that failed to hit the right chord, but I like to give bands a chance both live and in-the-studio, before rendering a final verdict. Good thing too, as live Black Viper were a different animal, decked out in denim jackets, studded wristbands/gauntlets and bullet belts. Heads down speed, hair flailing. In a half hour, ran through a mix of sped up traditional metal, not really thrash, but close to speed. "Metal Blitzkrieg", "Storming With Vengeance" and tempo changing, Maiden-on-speed "Freedom's Reign", the finale of an all-too-short live introduction, left me, and many others, wanting more.
Alright, there are regional difference and limited space, but seemed odd to see fast rising festival headliner Powerwolf (and to a greater extent, the legendary Testament) inside a tent, while Dream Theater played the giant main stage. Like the title of this piece suggests, Norway does things differently. The Germans not only made a big impression with their humorous take on anti-religious power metal, but garnered plenty of new fans, as well. Scaling their stage/props down by less than half, the guitar wielding Greywolf brothers still managed to run around the stage and Falk Maria Schlegel occasionally left his keyboard pulpit, to play cheerleader, at the front of the stage, alongside comedic singer Attila Dorn. After opening salvo "Fire And Forgive", backed with "Incense & Iron", Dorn asks the crowd if they're familiar with Powerwolf, the songs and the lyrics. Of course, all responded affirmatively, However, he quizzes the chorus to forthcoming "Amen & Attack" and is disappointed, pointing out, "I saw five people singing!" He gives a quick tutorial and the song is aired, a triumph for band and fans alike. During the Ghost-ish single "Demons Are A Girl's Best Friend" he calls on the crowd to sing the 'whoa whoa" filled titular chorus. Not as much luck following directions on the tricky sing-along "Armata Strigoi". In fact, Dorn goes over each of the four sections, of varying degrees of difficulty, that the audience is expected to master. However, when it comes time for just the females to lift their voices, Dorn shouts, "Just the girls! You are NOT a girl! You are NOT a girl! Are you a girl?" Unintended comedy. "Blessed & Possessed" keeps the tongue firmly in cheek, Schlegel fervently waving the PW banner, center stage. "Resurrection By Erection" brings a wry smile to the face, every time it's heard. The crowd chants actually echo, in the tent. "Werewolves Of Armenia" and final opportunity to shout-out, "We Drink Your Blood" round out the set. Only negative is the missing "Sanctified By Dynamite", but a minor quibble, in a set limited by time constraints. Next time!
In stark contrast to the camp just witness, there's the clinical precision of Dream Theater. There was a short CGI sci-fi movie before they came on. I asked the security guard if it was OK to take a beer into the photo pit (as some places frown on such activity). He assured me it was kosher, as long as I kept the glass of suds "out of the way of the stage divers!" Really? For Dream Theater? Anyway, the booming/heavy "As I Am" leads into a Petrucci solo, the bearded guitarist seemed particularly engaged, as opposed to John Myung, who barely looked past his bass headstock, and Jordan Rudess, even playing his swiveling keyboards with his back to the crowd. Newbie "Fall Into The Light" is rather atypical, speedy, a real rock song, rather than an extended jam, which was much of what followed. Big hit, "Pull Me Under" was left to the end. Out on the midway, notice something. Is it just me, or is there some poetic justice in the game of chance chuck-a-luck, the big wheel for betting on carnival prizes, being called sukkerspin, in Norwegian? Think about it!
Long a veteran of the world's biggest arenas, playing one of the twin main stages at Wacken and elsewhere, so it must have been ages since Testament were on such a small room/tent at a festival. No matter, Chuck Billy and Co. opened with "Brotherhood Of The Snake" before dispensing a festival setlist, packed with hits. Often, bands forget this isn't exclusively their show and in this format, there are tons of people who don't even know your back catalog, let alone the latest record you've been plugging on tour. The real fans, no problem, but fair or not, many will judge that day by what you decided to play...did they know what they heard? From the opening note, fog covered the stage, obliterating the figures on it. Purple tinged "More Than Meets The Eye" has Alex Skolnick holding the guitar vertically. Throughout "Practice What You Preach", Chuck is repeatedly chucking Alex's guitar picks to the crowd. Chartreuse green lit "New Order" makes back-to-back oldies, but in reality, they don't stop coming. "Into The Pit" makes way for "Over The Wall" and then "Disciples Of The Watch", Billy bellowing the "Obey" lyric, as few can do. "Formation Of Damnation" brings things to a close. A Testament gig is something special, no matter the location.
Ran into Björn and Anders, from In Flames, as they crossed the infield (almost undetected), on their way to a simulcast radio interview. Been awhile since I had the chance to talk to these old friends, even though Gelotte has recognized me in the photo pit, including the March tour stop, in Philly, alongside Within Temptation. The music may have changed, but still like them as people. Had forgotten that Chris Broderick (ex-Jag Panzer, ex-Megadeth, ex-Nevermore) had temporarily joined the ranks, post-Philly. As always, he's a dynamic player and visual asset, live. There was a wire cage step-up, the entire width of the stage (and only for In Flames) onwhich the guys could perch. Naturally recognized "Pinball Map", while newbie "Call My Name" was ultra-heavy. "Colony" was the lone oldie on display. Meanwhile, out in the grass, the Tons Of Rock sponsored shots, served in plastic containers that looked like epi-pen cases, were taking their toll, on some. Piling junk in the overrun trash cans became became a game of Jenga.
One last trek to the Vampire stage, for Carcass, my arrival in time to hear Jeff Walker rant about KLM airlines losing their gear. The Brits are annual participants in the summer festival circuit and the greatest hits set has remained fairly consistent (that, and the fact their last studio album was in 2013!).
Was trying to rack my brain, figuring the last time I'd seen Def Leppard, since Pyromania. Surely our paths had crossed at some point. A festival? One of the many outdoor US summer packages? For the life of me, I can't recall, not that there's been much interest, on my end, since those initial recordings. We all know the tunes, beaten into our subconscious by MTV, radio, even TV advertisements. Each of the guys has their own style: the understated Vivian Campbell, shirtless & toned Phil Collen, Rick Savage looks like a member of Steel Panther, while Joe Elliott is more refined (can't really see Rick Allen, behind the drums, but fate has already made him one-of-a-kind, regardless of sartorial splendor). A jumbotron, behind the drummer, provides intimate access, for those not up close. "Rocket" starts, some dance, many singing along, the easy on the ears anthems almost a cool-down period for all who have rocked hard, all weekend. "Let It Go" is up third, off High n Dry (1981), tied for the oldest song aired tonight.
The list of saccharine money makers, in a 42 year career, continues unabated: a green lit "Let's Get Rocked", "Armageddon It" (Vivian & Joe together under red lights), "Love Bites" with Clark venturing up the extended drum riser, equal in height with Allen and green-turned-purple bathed "Bringing On The Heartbreak". In between, there are lesser (un)known offerings like acoustic (courtesy of Elliot) tinged "Two Steps Behind" and the disco flavored "Man Enough". Collen, with Jackson Pollack inspired artwork guitar and Campbell step center stage for "Switch 625" the short instrumental off High n Dry, that leads into Allen's drum solo. By the proper set ending "Pour Some Sugar On Me", the entire field has transformed to an enormous dancehall. For the encore, yellow streaks of light accent "Rock Of Ages", Collen still undressed (despite clock getting ready to strike 11pm) and Elliott stands with arms folded across his chest. Both guitars, front and center, as movie celluloid and 35mm negatives flash onscreen, for the "Photograph" finale, where Campbell travels all the way to the left side of the stage, playing the guitar vertically, under green/yellow illumination.
So the great experiment, is done. Here's to the next one. Tons Of Rock, another worthwhile stop on the European summer festival calendar, whatever your musical preferences, be it as a band, or a fan.
More extensive, single day galleries can be found here: