Def Leppard fail to 'Adrenalize' lacklustre Download bill

Gavin McInally on the final Donington headliners

Def Leppard fail to 'Adrenalize' lacklustre Download bill

Photographer: Sara BowreyGavin McInally on 23 February 2011

It doesn't always take a smarmy scribe to feast on the corpse of a dreadful festival booking, when the fans  - who have more right than anyone to a grumble after shelling out their precious notes for entry - already have the knives out; "2009 called looking for their headliner back...", "I'll be at the second, third, fourth stage or even my tent instead...", "At least I can watch Pendulum without worrying about missing anything..."

The disappointment heavy words from ticket buyers greeted the news that England's 1977 'New Wave Of British Heavy Metal' flag bearers, Def Leppard, were the third and final instalment to top Download Festival 2011.

A victim of its own success, the now traditional 'classic rock' Sunday seemingly had nowhere else to turn than back to its triumphant 2009 bill topper. Def Leppard and their elderly counterparts in Whitesnake and ZZ Top, coupled with a fan friendly new site lay-out, helped erase the farce of the 2008 edition as the rock and metal mammoth got back to its feet.

Stadium rockers Aerosmith, backed by Motorhead, Billy Idol and Slash, picked up the baton last year for another successful lap of the circuit, but with the prize AC/DC token already spent and a lack of alternatives available, it appears that the old school rock race is now over for Download.

Not that VF has access to booking agent Andy Copping's telephone records, but it has to be assumed that the man responsible for the astonishing capture of the mighty AC/DC just 12 months ago, would have tested the water with the likes of Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Rush or even made a dreamy bid for some form of Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd appearance.

And with that limited pool of aging talent dried up, the pink dog’s owners should have chosen to tamper with their new formula in search of fresh headlining blood.

Pixies, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Blink 182, Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins or even Rammstein without the fireworks to avoid crashing any overhead planes could have been called upon to make their debut showings at Download.

Instead, it was back on the phone to the Sheffield boys to be wheeled out again at Donington this summer for what has to be the most disappointing news since the depressingly predictable salvo of Alter Bridge, Pendulum, Alice Cooper, Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine, Korn and Buckcherry in their last announcement.

Not frightened to kick a man when he’s down, Disturbed have also once again found themselves on a Download bill which is in danger of becoming a self-parody of an alternative weekend.

For many fans, Download's desperate attempt to pour some sugar on its dry line-up, has only left a bitter taste in the mouth.

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