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V Good (Sunday)
Member Name: a-true-ben
Date: 21/08/01, updated on 12/05/02 (144 review reads)
Advantages: Good bands playing in a good festival atmosphere, somehow outweighing all the below!
Disadvantages: Getting split from my friends, having to carry a groundsheet, rain (and mud), transport, smokers, bands clashing, overpriced food
Unfortunately the two of them were on holiday together in Devon the week before the festival (only coming back Saturday evening, which is why we only went Sunday) so despite the fact Ali was supposedly organising the trip, very little was actually planned – she was going to pick me up in her car on the way to George’s where we’d stop and think about trains!
This meant an early start (well, we all had to be up 8-8:30am which seems early to students on holiday) only for me to get rather annoyed that we’d done it all just to sit at George’s not doing anything for an hour! Although I suggested we might as well go, they both reassured me that they’d been before and we’d be fine.
Once we finally did get going, we were just in time to catch the 11:21 to Chelmsford. Once in Chelmsford though, we found considerable queues for the free bus service and a lot of festival congestion, so it was gone 13:00 by the time we got in. Thankfully it didn’t rain much while we were there, but there was already plenty of mud.
Our first stop was a T-shirt stall, where Ali and George each got a V2001 T-shirt (£15) and Ali bought a programme to get stage times. Then we mooched around a bit, having a bite to eat and quick look round (and stopping to put on rain gear for a brief heavier shower) until we ended up at the second stage to see Ed Harcourt appear. Who? Ok, I’ve probably just offended several people, but none of us really knew or cared, so we went on our way.
Only a quick
look at the range of stalls though, because it was now time for Australian rockers Powderfinger to take the main stage. I hadn’t heard much of them, but enough to intrigue me, and besides there wasn’t really anyone else we cared about before 17:00 anyway, so we went and sat at the back of the crowd on the slope, half paying attention and half reading the programme. The set seemed good but unremarkable, the band reminding us they now had an album out in the UK and treating us to ‘Like A Dog’ (the one I knew, which seemed the standout moment of the set).
After that, we weren’t sure what to do. Ali was hoping to meet one of her friends from Glasgow Uni. so we waited around, trying to find a way that George could see Divine Comedy and Toploader headlining the second stage but without Ali or I missing too much of Red Hot Chili Peppers or Foo Fighters (trust the bands we really came for to clash!).
Consequentially, we caught the start of Idlewild’s set, which sounded rather uninspired to me, although I’ll admit to not really being a fan (the only song I recognised was as we were leaving, and I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me). Then off we went to look at all the various stalls, offering mostly slightly alternative clothing or bootleg CDs.
Although we saw some quite funny T-shirts (one stall had a range of dodgy ones based on famous designs, best of which was a ‘YesShagmeLater’ based on the YvesSaintLaurent logo) neither George nor Ali actually seemed at all likely to buy anything, more keen to just drag me round shops while excluding me from girl-centred conversation and emphasising the fact they’d just been together the last week. Actually it was at this point we got separated, George obviously wondering into one shop too many while I just didn’t…
After spending over an hour traipsing around, I wanted to get back to actually seeing bands (th
e obvious reason to be there really). Unfortunately, I found myself at the second stage just in time to see the end of the Webb Brothers’ set. With nothing better to do, I wondered over to the main stage instead, and saw Neil Finn – still going strong and entertaining the audience with Crowded House classics like ‘You Take The Weather With You’ (or whatever the title is, you’ll know it believe me).
I paused to text Ali and George telling them where I was (exactly where we’d been for Powderfinger, just in front of a raised seating area for wheelchairs) and got a text saying they were at some official meeting point. (I did later find this, but it wasn’t a good choice of meeting point on their behalf as we hadn’t been there and I didn’t have a decent map!)
Anyway, left to my own devices after failing to find them, I decided we were all capable of looking after ourselves and even getting home if necessary, so I went to watch Placebo (knowing they’d probably be there too, not that we were likely to find each other in that crowd).
Opening with one of my favourites (‘Taste In Men’) the Placebo set was an entertaining one, including numerous hits (‘Pure Morning’, ‘Every Me and Every You’) but also some notable absentees (I don’t remember them playing ‘Nancy Boy’ or ‘Teenage Angst’). Perhaps a 50-minute set wasn’t enough for Placebo to play all their hits; but they did play a couple of the (what I’d consider) less-inspired songs from their new album, such as ‘Haemoglobin’ and ‘Special K’ and these came over much better live, with more energy than the recorded versions.
A while to kill before the next artist, so I fought my way back out of the crowd after Placebo finished, and had a wonder around to see what else was on, and if I had any chance of meeting up with George and Ali aga
in. Predictably, no, but there weren’t any ‘must sees’ until Foo Fighters at 19:45 anyway (my main reason for coming).
With little better to do, I decided to catch what I could of several bands before Foo Fighters. Thus I wondered back to the main stage for David Grey, hearing ‘Sail Away’ and something off his first album (‘Wisdom’?). I left at the end of ‘Babylon’ though (dedicated to the two large trees in the middle of the crowd near the stage) to explore what was on elsewhere.
I arrived at the second stage just as The Doves were due to come on. Personally I’ve never quite understood the hype and always thought they were somewhat over-hyped, but glad of the chance to sit down I listened to the start of their set – I didn’t hear their ‘big hit’ ‘The Cedar Room’ so there was nothing I recognised, but a couple of new songs were thrown in. After half an hour or so of this though, I decided I’d go and catch the end of Tricky’s show in the JJB arena.
This was a big, dark tent, which seemed quite hazardous given the amount of rubbish (and number of people) lying all over the floor, but it was easy to move quite close to the front. The dark was an advantage for the multi-coloured light show on stage, but I couldn’t really see much of what was going on, and had no idea which of the on-stage figures was Tricky. Again, I’m unfamiliar with his music, but what I heard was good – not just the hip-hop/rap I was expecting, but pretty heavy dance beats that could appeal to quite a wide audience, and certainly had many in the tent going.
Thankfully, the set ended at 19:30, giving me time for another quick bite to eat and to water a tree on my way back for the Foo Fighters – I actually thought I might have missed their appearance, but it turned out the cheers were simply for female members of the crowd prepared to
8216;get ‘em out’ on the big screen shots of the audience. Damn, missed that!
I fought my way down to one of the trees to watch the set – I probably could have got further forward, but it was already rather hot and crowded and as well as my large coat (which I needed when it rained/got cold) I’d also been conveniently left carrying George’s groundsheet all day, which would’ve been something of an encumbrance in the moshpit.
I won’t go into the details of the set, because I’m planning a separate op on Foo Fighters live (once Amit adds the category), but they played a rocky show with hits such as ‘This is a Call’, ‘Monkey Wrench’, ‘Everlong’ and ‘Learn To Fly’ drawn from all three albums. Great, even if a couple of smokers lighting up next to me in the crowd left me with a face full of smoke in the last song (not the only inconsiderate smokers in the crowded conditions either – I even saw one girl having to be helped out coughing in the Placebo set).
As soon as Foos finished, I nipped over to the second stage (as I knew Ali and George were planning to catch the end of Divine Comedy and start of Toploader while hoping not to miss too much of Foos/RHCP). On my way, I found a text from Ali confirming that they were watching Divine Comedy, but not giving any clues where (left/right, front/back, standing/sitting? – Perhaps it’s just Ali, but maybe girls aren’t good at directions – when I saw Bon Jovi at Milton Keynes Bowl in a crowd of 30,000 it only took one text for me to meet up with some friends from Oxford!)
Anyway, I searched the area as Divine Comedy finished (with ‘Regeneration’ I think) and between bands. I even waited around during the start of Toploader – who played ‘Just Hold On’, another I didn’t recognise and a new song dedicated to a topless girl down the front (&
#8216;just to encourage that kind of behaviour’) – reminding me that ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ wasn’t their only song!
By 22:00 though, I’d had enough of waiting (even though I’d managed to send a text to Ali telling her I was by the ice cream van) so I went off to catch the second half of the RHCP set. When I arrived, the field in front of the main stage was understandably full, but I was just able to catch a glimpse of them (playing ‘Funky Monks’ I think) from the edge.
Once I’d actually seen the band, I decided to settle further back on the hill, outside of the actual main stage area, but near the refreshments. From here I couldn’t even see much of the screen, but I could here hits such as ‘Californication’ (although unfortunately in a break where Anthony made the crowd sing ‘row row row your boat’ I did hear the strains of ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ from my right!)
Succumbing to my need for food, and having eaten all I brought with me, I ended up paying £3.30 for a small baked potato and cheese from one of the stalls, and eating it as I watched ‘Under the Bridge’. As the last song was underway, I decided to make for the exit and beat most of the rush, but as always there was a considerable queue.
Even though I was one of the early ones out (well, I did stay until the end because I’d already missed most of the RHCP set and I’d been looking around for George and Ali because I wasn’t sure if they’d have left or waited for me) I still had to wait around 40 minutes for a bus. Once I got on the bus, I had a chance to use my mobile and found George and Ali were actually already on the train – they’d actually skipped Toploader, gone right down the front for RHCP and nipped out quick at the end. Grrr!
Anyway, although the buses back to the station were slow at first, soon things
began to get sorted. Frustratingly I missed a train home by about 30 seconds (myself and two brothers ran for the doors at once, they closed on us letting only one through!) Thankfully the next train (the 00:07), although late, wasn’t a long wait and as soon as it arrived the large crowd poured straight on (in fact, we rushed into the nearest carriage only to find our tickets had been ‘upgraded’ to First Class…). The journey back was uneventful, I met up with George and Ali at Colchester station, and we’d all had a good time, even if we had been split up.
(Note: I only went Sunday, but if you’re interested in the Saturday event see Missbrowneyedgirl’s op on the other half of the event)
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