The Rockshield Festival, Burton-on-Trent, UK, 22nd September 2001
Mark L. Potts, Sep 26 2001
Infamy, infamy - they've all got it in for me! Stabbed in the back by the fruit of mine own loins! Infamy, treachery! Oh bugger it. I'll just refuse to be a taxi service for a week or two, that'll show the little ingrate. Back to the Bass Museum Rockfest...
Oh Sparky, what can one say about the wonderful day out at the Rockshield Festival, on Saturday?
Oh, I'm sure you'll think of something, Your Colossus...
Too right, my little PORG!
First and foremost, in spite of the attempts of the local council officials, organiser Sam, did a superb job to actually make the event happen, so a big cheer for Sam!
The whole event was conducted in a very pleasant setting, and all of the security and event staff were absolutely fantastic. There was none of the heavy-handed behaviour that you can often get at such a gathering and the crowd was just there to have a drink, a smoke, and a bloody good day of fantastic bands and music.
I have to admit that we only caught a glimpse of the first band, but they didn't sound too bad, albeit their dress sense was rather unorthodox, and one of them appeared to be wearing Ray's hat!
After a technical delay, Demon, finally appeared on stage about 6:45 and immediately people began pouring in to the marquee. I would say that there were no more than a dozen Demon fans in the audience at the beginning of their set, and several hundred some 45 minutes later! Quite simply, Demon rocked Burton, and caused earth tremors in the immediate area. Indeed, a friend of mine, in Lichfield, some miles away, thought they were brilliant. I'm not saying it was loud, but poor old Sparky still hasn't returned to normal yet.
Their shortened set kicked off with a storming rendition of "The Plague" and even though both Ray and Andy had blown their amps by the third number of the evening and Dave's microphone made its bid for freedom, the band were on fire. Nothing could stop them and they were duly rewarded with a fine reception, from a truly appreciative audience.
Speaking to the chaps afterwards, they felt that the performance had been troubled with technical gremlins and had not been perfect. From where I was standing, they came across as consummate professionals, delivering an absolutely outstanding performance.
Following a stunning rendition of "Spaced Out Monkey", the plan was to treat the gathered masses to another new number, "Streetwise Cowboy" but, because of time limitations the shortened set had to be further truncated and came to an end with a marvellous version of "Don't Break The Micstand". And that was that. The crowd howled, screamed, stomped and chanted for more, but the organisers, frantically pointing to watches, said an emphatic "No!"
Dave, however, had other ideas, pulled rank and overruled everyone. The band came back on stage to frenzied applause and enjoyed a marquee-melting rendition of "Night of the Demon". With the exception of headliners, Wishbone Ash, Demon was the only other band to play an encore.
I have now seen Demon, up close and personal, on numerous occasions. I have seen them play technically perfect gigs, and I have seen them play great gigs. I have also seen them play as badly as can be imagined. Saturday was by far the best performance I have yet witnessed. They were electrifying. The energy level was off the scale and the emotional input from all of the band members was unbelievable. Their commitment was total and the performance stunning. They received a richly deserved round of applause and chants of "MORE" even after it was clear that they weren't going to return. What is more, at the end of the evening, our MC for the day, the inimitable Krusher, demanded applause for all the day's bands. Demon received by far, one of the biggest cheers.
Well, you certainly seemed to have a good time, didn't you, Your Superciliousness? I still don't know why I couldn't go...
Shut up Sparky!
Mark L. Potts
The God of Thunder