Sitting down at the dodgems in quiet contemplation with a can and a breakfast sandwich thinking about last nights gig, neither of us hurting or aching like we did yesterday morning. I look around at the village and I can’t hear a word being said about last nights gig, no chatter or criticism or complaints about the band. The thought runs through my head, how big was the crowd for them last night? Did they get the same reaction as Muse from two years ago?
“We need to start thinking about tonight and hopefully we can finally see NXT” I say to Sam “We do need to see NXT, we missed it yesterday and i’m not missing it again, it will be a nice buffer before Aerosmith hit the stage”
“Ok dude, lets hang around and have a couple of drinks before we head off, need to rest today, its going to be a killer”
“You gonna be buying a shirt today?”
“I’m not leaving tomorrow morning without a shirt or a hat or a hoodie, I’ve gotta get something this year”.
“Well save it for the Arena, you can get it just before we watch the NXT show and don’t take all day trying to find something we don’t want to miss the show again”.
We take a walk around the village for the next couple of hours to kill time before we make our way into the arena for the last time and I look around at the crowd of people walking around us and I can see the exhaustion in their faces and the aches and pains in their arms and legs and I might not be the only who hasn’t been for a shit since arriving at the festival. When everyone leaves tomorrow morning there will always be that sense of relief that you managed to make out alive but the first conversation you have is who’s going to come next year? Who’s going to buy the tickets? And who’s going to headline? We all do it and we always will.
After spending most of the day in the village, walking around and even have a quick 3 Jack and cokes in the bar we finally make it to the arena and the entrance was a lot easier to get through than the past couple of days, maybe it’s because we got here a little later than usual.
The first place we head towards to the store so Sam can get something, the old bastards dead serious now, he’s not leaving here until he gets a shirt of something.
“Wait out here you fuck, I won’t be long” he says to me while waving the middle finger at me, so I just stand buy the door with my hands in my pocket and wait for the twat to get something, and I stand and wait and stand and wait and for the next 15 minutes I stare out looking at people walk in and out with something in their hands and now I need a piss but I have to wait.
After 20 minutes he finally emerges wearing a Day To Remember hat, apparently they had to dig it out from the back of the store as they had none left at the front, instead of changing his mind and going for something else he decided to stick with the one he wanted so I had to wait 20 minutes.
I send him to the bar while I go and take a piss up the chain fence while and I notice the time on the board for the NXT show and we’ve missed it, for the third time I’ve missed the show and what makes maters worse is that I can here a group of lads near by talking about how great the show was. I want to put the blame partly on Sam but I’ll leave it and remain silent.
He returns with beers and point towards the sign so he can see the show is over and he just shakes his head “never mind” he says “we will make sure that we get to see it next year if it’s on” and I just look at him and think to myself that it better be on next time we come.
We walk to the main stage and see Alter Bridge finish off there set and we manage to find a space to sit down and rest for the next hour while Aerosmith get ready to play.
Moving forward we get as close to the stage as we can, I want to see as much as I can which is harder than you think being a short bloke and at gigs you always get those monsters who stand right in front of you without taking a look behind them to see who’s view they’re blocking, but everything works out ok, the crowd has filled up nicely behind and nobody can get through, expect for the odd person and I can see the stage and the walk way clearly.
Then they come on and I can see everything, even with my poor eyesight I can make out the band on stage but the monitors are down for the first 4 songs and everyone around has spotted it and commenting on the situation, but at this point I don’t care I’m watching one of favourite bands play Download and it’s possibly going to be the last gig they do over here.
The rest of the gig turns out to be somewhat blurry, the emotional feeling you get when watching one of your favourite bands for the first time has taken over but it’s ok, that feeling is not something you get used to and it’s not something that shows itself on a regular basis. They make their way through the songs I want to hear and the songs the fans in the crowd wanted to hear and they close the show with Walk This Way and playing it the way it’s supposed to be played.
And then it’s over, just like that and we all take that walk back to camp for the last time until next year, slowly shuffling our feet as the crowd slowly moves forward, backs aching, arms aching and necks aching and a slight chill in the air is forming, but every things fine we will all be doing the same thing tomorrow morning and that’s going home.
But what is it that makes people want to come to something like this every year? Why do we think it’s great to spend 3 to 5 days away from home sleeping in a large bag in a field along with thousands of other strangers and spending most of those days drinking warm beer and eating crap food and not to mention the lack of hygiene. It’s something inside all music fans especially rock and roll fans that want to do this every year and no one is ever too old to do it, maybe this is thing we all will do until we die.