Yes, it's been over a month since Download... yes, I'm now writing my Sunday review. Working as good as full time in retail decimates my spare time, plus I'm delaying the inevitable post-festival blues by writing this at a glacial pace. Forgive me, I'm a sentimental soul, and my heart belongs at Donington... not least for the overpriced burgers.
Sunday morning was the 'let's enjoy just being at Download' morning, so we flitted towards Thy Art Is Murder and We Came As Romans, grabbed a drink and got ready for a long wait in the queue to meet The Used. I built my entire day around seeing my boys, plus the lineup that morning wasn't as astounding as intended, the absence of King 810 and Upon A Burning Body was definitely noticeable. Tasteless references to UABB's recent behaviour aside, I was looking forward to seeing their set, but illness/kidnap struck.
Gratuitous photo of guys in mankinis just to set the mood here.
I don't even know where to start. Me and Matt queued for 2 hours to make sure I was right near the front to meet The Used, the four men who have, without doubt, saved my life countless times. I don't usually go to signings because they feel quite impersonal, but I knew this would be a rare situation for me to meet my boys, so it was more than worth the wait. I'll write a separate post on meeting the band, but in short - it was a life-defining moment I'll never, ever forget.
In between fits of tears of elation and devastation at not getting enough time to speak to The Used, the renowned crowd-pleasers Steel Panther stormed the main stage. If you don't enjoy Steel Panther, I feel sorry for you. Look around you while Panther are playing and you'll witness a sea of ear-to-ear grins and tits. Matt and I slow-danced to Community Property, which somehow ended up tweeted by someone on the big screen later that night... five seconds of fame gone right there.
Sorry Myles, your face is usually beautiful but I just caught you eating your mic. Shamefully, I'd not heard much of Alter Bridge before Download, but their set totally sold them to me, I'm just disappointed I had to leave early to catch The Used's set over in the Pepsi Max tent.
I won't go on and on about The Used and how much they mean to me, because I'm sure you've heard me saying it a million times, so to focus on their Download set - fucking unbelievably perfect. Bert held the entire tent in the palm of his hand and Quinn, Jeph and Dan were having the time of their lives. From the classic Taste Of Ink to the recent Revolution, there was something for everyone and the atmosphere could've blown the roof off the place. The first time I saw The Used, I spent half their set passed out in the corridor from the heat, so it's safe to say I'm glad I was conscious for this one.
Zebrahead - for my money, the best act to close Download 2014. I never thought I'd hear Rescue Me live, but now I have, Zebrahead have cemented themselves as one of my favourite festival bands. Whether they knew them or not, each and every person in that tent was jigging away to the catchiest punk this side of Blink 182, chanting along to drinking songs and hugging complete and utter strangers - Zebrahead brought everyone in that tent together. And let's face it, when you close a rock festival by crowd surfing on an inflatable dinghy, you've made it in life.
It breaks my heart to see the photos I take as I leave a festival. It's 11 months until Download rears its canine head again, but this year will be a tough act to follow. From queuing to meet the men who saved my life to bumping into Blessthefall in the hotel lobby, from Zebrahead to Fozzy, from the cleanliness of our hotel room to the inexplicable festival toilets, from the eternity spent in an overpriced cab, to the traumatic train journey back home - Download 2014 was beautiful. Over and out.