Big Day Out 2004

First I will complain about the train. My brother and I got to the Mt Eden station and waited. I heard other people saying they’d been waiting for over an hour. After about half an hour the train showed up, but it was completely full so no one could get on. I said, “this is fucking bullshit, maaaan,” and felt really angry with society. We walked on into Queen Street and caught the bus.

This time ten years ago I was 19 years old and excitedly exploring the very first Auckland Big Day Out. Now I’m older and I think my gig-going stamina may be waning slightly. After last year’s BDO I felt really worn out. But I don’t want to be one of those elderly people who ends up only being able to survive the Big Day Out from the air conditioned comfort of a corporate box, enjoying cold beer. Yeah, it’s about being hardcore, man.

The Darkness
I’ve somehow managed to avoid hearing many of their songs, so I didn’t have much to cling to, but the big, fun rockness was really fun. I think this is what the Datsuns would like to be, but won’t because they also want to be taken more seriously.

Then were went off to get some food and ate that in front of the Lily Pad stage. There was a thing possibly called “Straight eye for a queer bloke” which seemed to involved dressing up a fellow from the audience as a typical Aussie bloke. I like how the Lily Pad provides entertainment for people eating their Hari Krishna vegetarian real meal deal plates.

Something for Kate
This was totally not on my schedule. We were checking out the Green and Essential stages. Zed was just finishing off their set, then Something For Kate were on. (Most people were off seeing the Black Eyed Peas, but they can kiss my arse. They had a ton of goodwill from “Where is the love” but they blew it with that terrible “Shut up” song. Maybe hearing “Weekend” would have make it ok, but it wasn’t appealing.). Paul from Something For Kate thanked the audience for choosing to be in front of that stage. They were surprisingly rockier than I had expected. They did a cool cover of REM’s “The one I love”, and they played “Three dimensions”, which is probably my favourite Something For Kate song.

Then it was time to get hot and sweaty in the techno tent with Peaches. It was pretty much the same as last night’s show, only with a whole lot more people. I noticed a few bogans craning their necks looking for rudie nudie girlie bits. The virtual duet with Iggy Pop seemed to work much better in the tent. Oh, it was only two years ago that I saw Peaches performing in front of a tiny audience on the Lily Pad stage.

Dandy Warhols
I was looking forward to seeing them, but somehow it just didn’t work out. Their coolness in recorded form was not quite coming across live. They didn’t suck, but they just didn’t engage me enough to please me.

The Datsuns
I don’t like the Datsuns music. It’s like there’s one kind of song they know how to write, and they just keep doing variations of that. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. They had a huge crowd and I realised that they pretty much had the position that Shihad normally have, the big, cool New Zealand rock band that everyone loves. Ye olde Shihad should note this.

By this stage I was getting a little disillusioned. I sent my brother away to get some food, and tried to find an angle to dig Muse’s set. They that That Song and The Other Song, which were both cool. And there was some nice keyboard stuff. But that was about it. Ok.

The Strokes
I was sitting down, starting on my curry and rice when The Strokes started played. Suddenly I realised that I there was no way I could sit through their set over on the other side of the stadium. I scoffed down the curry and quickly made my way over to the Strokes side. As well as having a pretty good view of the stage, there was also a giant video screen showing various scenes from the stage. Occasionally the video operators got overexcited and used cheesy video effects, and sometimes they mistakenly thought that the audience would rather see stuff like a guy in the audience with a Cat In The Hat hat instead of the Strokes, but most times they got it right.

The Strokes were brilliant. Everyone around me was dancing around and singing and being happy. The Strokes sounded like they do on their albums and they looked like they do in their videos. Julian claimed to be drunk, and he was charming and funny. He taunted the Metallica fans waiting over on the other stage, causing them to give him the finger en masse.

They played “Together Alone” which is my favourite Strokes tune. I felt very glad to have been in the audience for a such an enjoyable show. Finally, finally, the Big Day Out was picking up the pace.

I wasn’t planning on seeing Metallica, but then they started playing and they were so cool. There had been heaps of guys walking around all day with Metallica t-shirts on. They were all packed up the front of the stage, but the rest of the stadium was full of people who maybe weren’t Metallica fans, but were interested in these metal godz.

They worked through a number of songs from their older albums and new ones from “St Anger”. Lighters were waved during “Nothing else matters”. The grand finale involved massive fireworks, explosion and GIGANTIC FIREBALLS. And then they played “One” and it was good. But there was more. “Enter Sandman” was played, with a huge burst of fireworks when the loud bit kicks in at the start.

Metallica were so rockingly great that I have totally forgiven them for that Napster business a few years ago.

I got home expecting to be completely worn out, but oddly enough I feel about the same as I normally do at the end of the day. Could it be that I’m in much better shape than I was last year, and that I’m not so old and haggered?

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