Download Scotland 2004

Download Scotland 2004

Photographer: Stephen Franklyn03 June 2004

Wednesday June 2, 2004

By the first chord of 'Blackened' all the gripes, moans and groans have been forgotten. Why was it being held midweek? Why did the Scots have to stump up as much cash as the English for a tiny fraction of the bands? Was Glasgow just being used as a warm up show for Donington?

At that precise moment no one cared. Metallica where playing on Scottish soil for the first time in almost a decade and the peripheral issues were well and truly redundant. Finnish love-metallers Him and nu-metal titans Slipknot and Korn had all been and gone, treating the metal masses to their varied blends of chaos. It was the time of the Godfathers of modern metal to own the stage.

The signs were promising from the beginning of the day, with the sun splitting the skies above Glasgow Green from mid afternoon, creating an almost bowling green like arena for the day's festivities. In true Scottish nature, the beer tents were packed from the minute the gates opened and by the time Him graced the stage they could have bashed away on a tambourine for an hour and the crowd would have applauded kindly. Fortunately the tambourine had been left in Finland and the only bashing pasty-faced Ville Valo and company did was of the myth that they were a one-trick pony.

Recent chart hits 'Buried Alive By Love', 'Funeral of Hearts' and 'The Sacrament' were all polished up and served to the crowd, proving the rising quintet had every right to sit alongside the US supergroups on tonight's bill.

With over six hours of stage time on offer, and the scorching sun bearing down on Glasgow's city centre, the metal masses would have been forgiven for expecting a short break to re-acquaint themselves with the event's kind sponsor, Miller. However, the head on most drinkers' beers hadn't settled before the unmistakable opening chords of 'Eyeless' pumped through the stacked speakers... Queue mayhem.
Iowa's nine-man noise machine have been off the beaten tour circuit for a couple of years, mingling with lesser bands like Stone Sour, Murderdolls and To My Surprise, and at one point many had fears that the spectacle of seeing Slipknot perform live may have been committed to legend.

Tonight's show doesn't do the awesome nontet justice and the main culprit for ruining what should have been a memorable show was the organisers' decision to use the D shape safety barrier over the T shape system favoured by the fans. Thousands of fans were crushed against the secondary fence while only feet in front of them a select few mingled with enough space to set out a deck chair and enjoy a drink or two. The move effectively created a void across the entire field killing off any chance of a real festival atmosphere.

Anyway, back to Slipknot; 'Wait and Bleed', 'The Heretic Anthem', 'Pulse Of The Maggots'... From the old to the new every track is vehemently spat out by Corey Taylor and the mass sit-down midway through 'Spit It Out' (before the masked frontman orders the obliging crowd to 'jump the f*uk up!') is a spine-tingling sight to behold. With only a basic backdrop, a theme of the night, and no pyro or light effects which intensified their last visit to Glasgow the band relied solely on their material. Not quite the legendary set we have come to expect but no real disappointment either.

By the time leather kilt-clad Jonathan Davis arrives on stage with the almighty Korn, the night just gets better and better. Kicking-off with 'Right Now' from their latest album 'Take A Look In The Mirror', the Bakersfield five-piece demonstrate why they have outlasted the generic nu-metal jibes unfairly aimed at them in recent times.

The band sound perfect, ripping through each track like hungry young upstarts, and their impassioned performance makes them impossible to watch without at least nodding along. The unforgettable 'Blind' and rift-laden 'Here To Stay' steal the show but it's the short burst of Metallica's 'One' midway through 'Shoots and Ladders' that transform the several mosh pits at the stage front into circles of carnage.

Thirty minutes later James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Tujillo introduce themselves with 'Blackened'. Another two hours on around 25,000 screaming Scotsmen and women have enjoyed a feast of some of metal's finest hits, selected by legends who once again prove they have no peers. Anthems like 'Sad But True' and 'Battery' are blended effortlessly with the melodies of 'Nothing Else Matters' and by the time an encore which includes 'One', 'Master Of Puppets' and 'Enter Sandman' is complete the crowd can really ask for no more.

As a farewell gesture Lars suggests to the crowd that Metallica should play Scotland every year... 25,000 Scots heads agree.

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Gavin McInally

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