Being on unfamiliar territory was weird, but Sonisphere quickly became my favourite festival. It's spacious, it's clean and there's little queuing for anything, particularly getting into the arena which Download and Leeds manage to balls up every year. Anyway, let's get on with the gloating... sorry, I mean the fun stuff.
Let's start at the end. Sunday headliners, Metallica, were the main reason we opted for Sonisphere over Download this year, but our excitement about the show increased tenfold when we discovered we'd be watching their set from... THE SNAKEPIT. Yeah, that's right. We're a pair of lucky bastards.
As part of the By Request tour we had the opportunity to vote for the setlist. In the end most people voted for the songs they usually play anyway, so it was pretty much a greatest hits set. For me, there were two main songs I wanted to see on that list, 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' and 'Whiskey in the Jar'. I got both.
The pit wristbands. We're going in...
It was actually quite weird getting into the pit, as we had to walk along the front between the barrier and the stage, with everyone at the front narrowing their eyes at us as we did so. I can't really blame them, they'd probably spent eight hours or more on there, desperate to get a good spot for Metallica. Probably desperate for a piss too.
The rest of the snakepit.
HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT.
We've both seen Metallica many times over the years, but it's always been from quite a distance, so it was weird to suddenly be able to make eye contact with them.
I'm sure for about the first five minutes I just stood there with my gob open.
The arse of Hetfield
What we're thinking at this moment:
By far the highlight of the set was 'Whiskey in the Jar'. Like us, everyone else had probably waited forever to see it live too, so the whole snakepit went mental, even singing along with the riffs. I suffered the next day though with a pretty severe bangover.
We also bought a Metallica frisbee. Just because.
Other awesome things that happened
Dancing to Chas n Dave in the rain while wearing a bin bag as a coat. They had a circle pit going and a crowd surfing rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit... It was amazing.
Getting on the barrier for Kerbdog and The Bronx*, then seeing how mental the tent went for both of them.
*I think I can hear myself screaming at the start of this video.
Feeling 18 again while watching Hundred Reasons perform their debut album 'Ideas above Our Station' in its entirety. I used to go and see that band a LOT when I was in my teens.
Listening to the bunch of 18 year olds that were camped next to us plan which bands they were going to watch on the Saturday: 'Hundred Reasons are playing today. Whoever they are.' HAHAHA.
The boy from the same camp who talked about finding a 'vinyl shop' in the shopping village. HAHAHA. Oh God...
The World War I dogfight, including Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson.
Here we are joining in.
The guy who was off his face on pills dancing to Slayer like they were the kind of act you'd get at Creamfields.
Blaas of Glory, the amazing marching band that trooped around the arena every day playing metal covers.
Seeing Black Dogs get a wall of death going at 1.30pm. That's basically 6am in festival land.
Living off cheese and marmite toasties from the Tea & Toast stall.
Some dude asking Dan if I was his daughter. HAHAHA. He wasn't impressed, but I'm still laughing about it now...
We had sunshine, we had Metallica, I think as first Sonisphere experiences go it was a winner.