The venue for Sonisphere Madrid is a concrete amphitheatre, about 1 hours metro ride outside the city in the middle of dust, mountains and quite frankly nothing. The gig itself seems scarcely attended until the evening when they bands play into the early hours. How anyone gets home after the metro stops at 2am is beyond me.
Voodoo Six have the honour of opening the day, and are well recieved by the crowd. Their brand of Essex Geezer Metal is a well visited path for a country rescued from Napoleonic slavery by their forebares in Wellingtons Peninsular War. On drums, a certain Maiden mans cousin pounds away, keeping it in the family with rampacious energy and technique.
Next up October File plyes a hardcore thrash trail well but were frustrated with equipment problems. They're a long way from home, and certainly very angry about it - or is it that these types of bands are expected to be angry these days.
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Red Fang carried on in a similar vein to Voodoo Six to good effect. These young men from Portland, Oregon complimented the audiences hairyness. In a town known for staying wierd, these young chaps provided a back drop of stoner metal polished from becoming a staple on the alt metal circuit. I fully expect to see them pop up at Wacken and Download.
Local heros Tierro Santos, a spanish melodic powermetal gets the crowd in the mood in the afternoon sun, and are rewarded by muchos applause and clapping. Great to see a band first seen at Metalway working their way up the bill. And a break from the shoutier American fair earlier in the bill. It's a great set with excellent stage presence that doesn't need to break our language barrier to know, these spaniards know how to rock!
Newsted are slow to start but a much welcome creeping death shows much love for the old school and kicks things into gear. He seems right at home giving us an aggressive showcase of his new solo material. 'As The Crow Flies' stands out for me for sheer aggression. It's nice he nods to the old Metallica fans with Creeping Deth becoming an outro to Kings of the Underdogs, which he follows up at break neck speed with Whiplash. Metallica fans everywhere could expect no more.
On to Ghost. The satanic overlords have been praised much by the global press with plaudits galore. certainly they have a well practiced striking set, and its a good act.. but.. it just doesn't do it for me, not in bright sunshine. I can see the attraction, amongst the doody goth set but you know right now, I'm yearning for the bands to play on, as we're sat in the sun..(whoa oh oh). I'll save checking Ghost out properly for a dimly lit stage in Soho, or at least tonight, as 2 other name bands play in the dark, after Maiden, they coulda set the world alight then. Maybe that was past Satans bed time!
And finally, its Maiden time. Tonight, with their travelling 88 set of icebergs, 6 Eddies, and pyro galore, the boys are on fire. It's non stop History hits, that I wish maiden would play or write more of.
From the crashing of the icebergs, to Patrick Mcgoohan running across the beaches of Portmerion, to the roar of the rolls royce engines for the encore of Aces High, the production values for all the shows on this tour are immense. The crowd has by now grown to a respectable festival level, and the hits carry on. The audiences reaction to tonight's show is respectful and passionate. To these metal heads "Dave Mooray", "Brooce" and Harris are legends, and tonight, they are getting a legendary show. Having seen this show last year in the US, I'm very glad they have decided to share the spectacle with the rest of the World. In recession hit Spain, merchandise doesn't seem to be the top priority for young Spaniards. Actually, one wonders how the US cavalry man translates. For this show, or the Lisbon show, there is no unique event merchandise, a trademark of many big shows.. For the mad Latin fans, the pockets must be really hit hard.
How do you follow Maiden, well the answer is, you can't. Maiden have proved themselves the market leader and masters on this tour at least! It's up to Joey Belladonna and Scott Ian to step up to the plate. What a warm up band guys. Still, the boys go for it with another greatest hits set of 'Among', 'Indians', 'Caught In A Mosh'...and even a note perfect version of AC/DC's 'T.N.T'. Dredd raises his ugly head for 'I Am The Law' finishing with an 'I'm the Man', 'Raining Blood' fusion and 'Antisocial'. Im half expecting Nicko to come on for the Trust cover, but I guess he's getting sooty out of the space suit! How do you follow the mighty Maiden? Play your hits and party, and get off..that's all we want really..
So, on to Megadeth, and its a tired crowd by now, but the spanish keep going well into the morning. Dave Mustaine, is more David Coverdale these days with his outfits and spotlights focussed on him. Opening up with Trust, is quite an odd statement, but who knows these days with Mustaine. Its not long before 'Hanger 18' kicks in and wakes us tired metal heads up. With 'Sweating Bullets' and 'Syphony Of Destruction' being highlights for me. For the remainder of the set, and as if gazing in awe at Mr Mustaines Daz door step challenge white shirt, we wend our way back to the last metro home.
Sadly Mr Edguys Avantasia will have to wait for a review at Bloodstock as we have a long journey home!
Its an interesting idea, having main bands after the headliner. One that Im sure needs plenty of training for! Wine and Coke are the perfect wake up drink for the hardenened spanish metal heads! Its nice to see Metal holding its head up high in a land where 23 percent are supposed to be unemployed! At least they had Sonisphere, couldn't manage it in the UK could they, and it certainly wouldnt have had this metal a bill!