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Did You Miss Me
Member Name: Andy.mack
Date: 05/09/03, updated on 17/09/04 (117 review reads)
Advantages: Superb Weekend with so many good bands, Chance to meet a lot of new people while your drunk
Disadvantages: So Many Bands Clash, It's over so quickly
Date: August Bank Holiday Weekend
So the weekend is over and I?ve started the recovery process but reflection and memories are all that are left from the fantastic weekend that was Reading Festival 2003. And as the clear up operation begins for the festival staff it?s time for me to reminisce and get it written down so I can remember bits about it for a bit longer than usual.
The weekend started after a night watching the England v Croatia game round a mates with a beer or 7 so the drinking started a night early. Well the car was packed, accompanied by Goffin, Rich and a couple of others we leave about 1.30 and start our 20 minute drive to the campsite going through Caversham and avoiding all the traffic we are on site by about 2. The first beers opened and the tents are put up, unfortunately we are in the furthest field away from the arena, which means a long walk everyday.
Needless to say having set up our campsite it?s then time to get drunk and so we begin setting about our drink but that?s a different set of stories. Onto the arena and following breakfast in McDonalds in town it?s back to the arena for:
The first band we head for are Ok Go around about 2 on the Radio One Evening Session stage. I?d heard the track ?Get Over It? and bought the album on the strength of that, but my mate hadn?t really heard much by them. They?re pretty good playing, as much from the album as the time slot would allow. A decent performance let down a little by the volume of the vocals but a good start to the weekend. 4/5
Then it was over to the Main stage for the first time to see The Datsuns. To be honest I wasn?t really that bothered about seeing the New Zealand 4 piece but we went anyway. The album was a let down when I bought it back in September and to be honest the live performance was much the same. They just seemed to drift by and only really grabbing my interest for ?Harmonic Generator? and ?In Love?.
Next band we wanted to see were The Darkness but with Stain?d on the Main Stage before them we went back to the Radio 1 tent to sit and listen to the Mull Historical Society. A good set, which really impressed me. The current album was good but the live show was even better, getting the crowd involved within one of the songs as well. Highlight of the set was probably ?Final Arrears?. 4/5
Now back to the Main stage to catch The Darkness, who had been moved from the Saturday to fill in for Jay Z who pulled out the week before. A big hype follow them where ever they go and although I hadn?t been that impressed by the Debut album I was really looking forward to this. And they didn?t disappoint with a stunning performance including the singles ?Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman? and ?Growing On Me?. My opinion of the band has now changed. 4/5
Then moving to the Radio 1 stage again it was time for one of the Highlights of the weekend Electric Six. With a lot of people wanting to see them the tent was packed and for a gig this early I have never seen this many people in there. The band were brilliant a lot better than expected and played almost the whole album plus a couple of others. However with most people there to hear ?Gay Bar? they played it near the end, but after everyone left during ?Dance Commander?, they had a little something for those that stuck around with a fantastic cover of Queens ?Radio Ga Ga?. 4.5/5
With no bands on for the next hour that I wanted to see it was back to the tent for a can of Beer then back down in time to see Elbow. The Manchester band, were second to last on the Evening Session stage and after a delayed start they came on and were outstanding. The older tracks were just a different class to anything heard on Friday with ?New Born? the best song of the set. The new stuff sounded just as good with ?Fugitive Motel? really hitting the spot. Brilliant stuff from a band I really want to see again. 4.5/5 r>
This was the only night of the festival that none of the headliners really grabbed me. We caught a couple of tracks from Linkin Park who sounded like they were singing straight off a CD and a couple by the Polyphoninic Spree, who also weren?t that good, although my mate Rich wants to join their cult. I was tempted by Evan Dando but the struggle to get anywhere near the Carling stage wasn?t worth it, so instead it was back to the tent to get drunk again.
Saturday saw the arrival of our mate Dougie who was coming for two days and will be the star of a future op when I actually go into the drinking side of Reading for a Café Op. The first band we wanted to see today were The Libertines but as the Darkness had been moved to Fridays bill the Libertines came on stage early and so we only caught the last two tracks and to be honest without Pete Doherty they sounded a little lack lustre and nowhere near as good as the last time we saw them supporting Supergrass.
Having missed The Libertines we decided to stay at the Main Stage and watch The Streets. Following a load of technical problems with the sound it really brought down the quality of the performance, although they did have some good tracks like ?Lets Push Things Forward? and ?Weak Become Heroes? but they didn?t really recover from the earlier set backs and my first taste of The Streets live didn?t impress. 2/5
Then it was to the front of the Main Stage as the next Band up were Doves. Another Manchester band, Jimi and the lads have come along way since I first seen them here in 2000. They played a lot of the tracks you would expect like ?Cedar Room? and ?Pounding? and also a track from their previous incarnation as Sub Sub, ?Space Face?. The new album is out soon and the couple of tracks they previewed sounded excellent. 4.5/5
Then for the first time today it was over to the Radio 1 stage where we caught the end of the Thrills from outside the ten
t as we lay down and relaxed for a bit. A couple of tracks sounded good like ?Big Sur? and ?Santa Cruz?. After them came The Mars Volta who we continued to lie on the Grass during. They sounded pretty bad from where we were. Likened to At The Drive In, it sounded almost the same but with just a drumbeat and a guy singing. They seemed to be on for an age but eventually finished.
Next came the reason for sitting through the last act, local boys The Cooper Temple Clause played their yearly homecoming gig at the festival. They mixed a lot of new stuff in with old classics and new single ?Promises Promises? sounded fantastic. The older stuff like ?Film Maker? and ?Who Needs Enemies? sound superb but the best track from Ben, Didz and co had to be ?Been Training Dogs? towards the end of the set. The Coopers just like last year were superb. 5/5
The decision between Hundred Reasons and Blur eventually turned out to be an easy one although I was a bit gutted to miss The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club but the Coopers are so much better. So to the only Headliner we actually watched on the main stage Blur. Damon and co came on to a warm welcome 10 years since they made their first festival appearance on the Radio 1 stage in 93. Damon looked quite smart in his suit and the rest of the band looked like everyone else wearing just Jeans and shirts.
The set was brilliant playing all the new stuff from Think Tank like ?Out Of Time? and ?Crazy Beat? but also playing old favourites like ?Beetlebum?, during which Damon actually feel off the stage and ?Girls And Boys?. But it was songs like ?Song 2? and the reintroduction of ?The Universal? back into Blur?s sets that really got the crowd going. A special guest always seemed likely and although most expected Graham Coxon, it turned out to be comedian Phil Daniels who came on during the on-core to do ?Parklife? and another unreleased track. Blur were brilliant and really made it a good headline slot. 5/5
I always find Sunday to be a weird day at the festival, as we were having to come home in the early hours of Monday morning it meant Peter and I couldn?t actually drink and being Rock Day, we very rarely venture to the main stage. So we headed to the arena a little earlier than everyone else to see a band on the Carling stage and generally just look around.
So the first band of the day were Keane on the Carling Stage, a band I?d never heard off but Pete had and said they were good, so they were the first. Now not knowing any of their songs I can?t give you any names of tracks but they were good and I shall be looking forward to hearing more from them. After them we hung around the Carling stage to watch The Stills a Canadian band who were really good as well but again I don?t really know much more about them other than the debut album came out yesterday, but I will buy it at some point.
Next we?re the first band of the day I wanted to see, Radio 4. A New York band I?d only really heard the tracks I had downloaded but they have managed to convince me to buy their album. Highlights of the set were probably ?Our Town? and ?Dance To The Underground? and a special guest appearance from Har Mar Superstar to play Bongo?s on the last track although I?m not sure which one it was. 4/5
Then a bit of a gap between bands so back to the tent to drop off a couple of posters I had bought and pick up the others to go and see Longview on the Carling stage. As usual they are superb with tracks such as ?Further? and ?Will You Wait Here? really standing out. The sound quality almost ruined it but were sorted out during the last track leaving the band to put in another flawless performance. 4/5
The next few hours were spent relaxing on the grass outside the Radio 1 tent. First up were Grandaddy, who?s mellow rock sound was ideal for a bit of sunbathing. Playing star tracks like ?Crystal Lake? and ?El Caminos In The West? they
sounded brilliant and the ideal band to have on to chill you out whilst Rock day continues on the main stage. 4/5
Next were the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and as Dougie wanted to see them we headed towards the front whilst Rich and Pete sat outside. Well after about 3 tracks and someone trying to pick my pocket, Not succeeding I might add, I decided to retreat outside. Lead singer Karen O opened the set by banging her hear of the microphone. It went downhill from there. Nothing really sounded that god during their set, not a band I?ll be rushing to listen to. 1/5
The final act of the Weekend and In my opinion the best were Leeds band The Music. Having starred last year ramming the Carling stage full the Music headlined the Radio 1 stage at the same time as Metalica played the main. No contest over which band I would be seeing. The band are building a big reputation for themselves and really got the crowd going throughout the set with a stunning performance.
Really standing out were singles ?Take The Long Road And Walk It? and ? The People? but the whole album and a few new tracks got an airing as the Music won three new fans in my mates. I?d loved their album since I bought it last year and certainly wasn?t disappointed as they lived up to the reputation that precedes them. 5/5
And that brought to a close the weekend, the alcohol was almost all drunk and an exit about 4 in the morning saw us back in time to get about 5 hours sleep before getting up for Reading v Rotherham. All in all an excellent weekend that even though the Headliners didn?t grab me there were plenty of bands during the day that did. The only bad side to the festival is those bands that clash time slots making it hard to decide who to see. This was probably the best lower bill lineup I have seen at Reading even though the headliners weren?t really my type of thing.
So Role on next year. Would love to hear from anyone else who was at either Reading or Leeds and see
what they thought about it.
Ps. One thing I forgot to mention was the cost. My Weekend ticket cost me £105 so if you work that out its about £4.57 a band as we saw bits of 23 different ones over the weekend. Top value, cheers to Paul for reminding me I hadn't mentioned the cost, I'll plead the I was drunk card
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