A drier Sunday sees festival goers lounging on the hillside whilst watching the writhing madness that is the mosh pits at Five Finger Death Punch, and wassailing with Swedish melodic metallers – Amon Amarth, who play aboard their on stage Viking longship, to a sea of fans’ windmilling hair and guttural yells.
Stone Sour pull off a powerful set to a packed arena with the likes of ‘Say You’ll Haunt Me’ and ‘Mission Statement’. With the words “We are in England, the home of heavy metal. This is where it all started. There’s one band that we all owe our allegiance to… Black Sabbath. This is dedicated to them” they proceed to play a very Stone Sour cover of ‘Children of the Grave’ and frontman Corey Taylor goes on to perform second cover Alice In Chains’ ‘Nutshell’ as a solo. Yelling “I’m going to go on record and say this country is my favourite in the fucking world” Corey gains a roar of respect from the crowd, however he (and countless unfortunate others) cop an eyeful of the buck-naked dude standing atop his mate’s shoulders for much of the second half of the set.
Over on the second stage something odd is occurring, my first encounter with what I can only describe as Papal-Metal, comes at the hands of Swedish eccentrics Ghost. Dressed in cardinal’s robes and misfits style skeleton paint, frontman Papa Emeritus II has a much higher/softer rock vocal than you expect, and the ‘Nameless Ghouls’ (read: rest of the band, dressed in black robes) do a decent job with ‘Year Zero’ and ‘Ritual’ to a pretty large crowd.
Following them, the second stage sees a sudden influx of bodies in preparation for the return of Aussie icons Airbourne, a band who last time they performed were put in the naughty corner for frontman Joel O'Keefe’s rock and roll, rigging-scaling action. Smoke cannons, energetic hopping around and some proper good old windmilling are the mainstay of Airbourne’s performance, and a quick “You’re a fucking sight for sore eyes Donington, it’s great to be back in the U fucking K” puts everyone immediately on side. Joel foregoes the death-defying stunts this year and instead legs it into the crowd with his guitar, meeting fans, playing, and just generally having a nice time for ‘Raise The Flag’. After getting back on stage, the crowd is treated to ‘Live it Up’ and ‘Runnin’ Wild’ with a bit of good old synchronised headbanging.
A much anticipated 30 Seconds to Mars are giving the female festival population ovarian tingles, as frontman Jared Leto (widely enjoyed for purely shallow reasons) turns his wailing on the busy arena. Four guys in coloured balaclavas are for some unknown reason, employed to bang drums steadily behind the band a la Blue Man Group, but much less interesting, and Leto’s inane comments (particularly the weird “We are forty seconds to mars”… we all heard that right?!) are getting a bit hard to swallow. Calling out “You, you in the blue hat and the Cannibal Corpse tshirt, you’re just looking at your dick… This guy is gonna lead the jump for us” Leto continues to make an ass of himself. Dear Jared Leto, despite your penchant for odd outfits and your strange ideas about fan-prizes (see “win a night in my bed” no, really) I actually don’t *hate* the way you sound, but come on… if there’s a guy at your show in a Cannibal Corpse tshirt, he’s either just securing his spot for Rammstein later or appeasing a teenage girl. Take the hint. After arrogantly announcing a forthcoming UK tour (the entire list of dates and locations… *sigh*) and pulling a load of screaming hormonal girls on stage, they close out with ‘The Kill (Bury Me’, ‘Kings and Queens’ and ‘Up in the Air’, to the cheers of all those thoroughly annoyed at having witnessed it.
During the stage-setting break the last few brave souls hit the zipline to the terrifying sight of a crowd gearing up for their descent, with a host of bottles and other miscellaneous missiles to hurl at the unfortunate victims – it makes for interesting sport/entertainment as we wait.
Rammstein hit Donington with everything they’ve got, showcasing their heavy style amidst a plethora of flaming devices from ‘2, 3, 4, Links’ and ‘Du Hast’ to ‘Ich Will’ and ‘Sonne’. Fans are treated to a spectacular show, including flamethrowers, fireworks, bondage and S&M alongside anthemic hits, it’s the show Download Festival has been waiting years for and they certainly do it justice (see the full review for complete details). Closing the night and the festival with the comedic and fairly gross, ‘Pussy’ and a foam-spraying giant penis-cannon, flanked by ticker-tape explosions, it’s been a long time coming (excuse the pun…) but Rammstein know how to put on an epic performance, this has been one extraordinary night for Download Festival and for the history of Donington Park. Who knows what to expect next year…