In 1998, the Big Day Out took a break, but in 1999 it was back with a vengeance, with 3 of the biggest acts of 1998 in tow. This years BDO was highlighted by the fact that we (as in me, my sister, and my ex-girlfriend) met Jon Bridges (who was hosting Ice TV at the time), and talked to him for a while, and also by the fact that I sat and talked to the singer of one of the bands for a while – I just can’t remember which band it was. Some of the musical highlights:

Powderfinger: My first experience with these guys – they were just a great band, very musical, and a great singer in Bernard Fanning. They were so good, in fact, that I kept on liking them, despite not having any of their CDs, for ages (to this day I still only own ‘Odyssey Number Five’)

Soulfly: After the disappointment of missing Sepultura at 1997’s BDO, I thought Max Cavalera’s new band might make up for it. It was really a double disappointment at the hands of Max, whose album featured many good songs, but whose live show did not.

(Actually, one thing always bothered me about Max Cavalera – with Sepultura, their last album with him was called ‘Roots’, and there was a heavy Brazilian influence (Brazil is Sepultura’s home country). When he split from Sepultura, his new band was called Soulfly, and their first album was heavily Brazilian influenced, with songs like ‘Umbabarauma’, ‘Quilombo’, and ‘Bumbklatt’ all featured. But despite all this, Max Cavalera hasn’t gone back to Brazil for any reason, other than one-off shows in Rio de Janeiro. As usual, I have no point)

(Additionally, towards the end of their set, Max brought out his son and held him up to the crowd, like the monkey does to the lion at the start of ‘The Lion King’ – yet, when Michael Jackson does it, its all over the news – I mean, what’s that all about?)

Ash: Although they were Irish, just like me, I felt absolutely no connection to these guys. They played a couple of classics from their debut album ‘1977’ (like ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Kung Fu’ and ‘Girl From Mars’), but the rest was made up of their gay songs from their later album ‘Nu Clear Sounds’. Another disappointment.

Shihad: Yes, they were back as well – and kicking some butt, with tunes from their new album ‘Shihad’ (self-titled) including the classics ‘La La Land’, ‘A Day Away’ and ‘Home Again’.

Korn: In 1998, Korn released the single best album of their career, ‘Follow The Leader’, and they were in fine form at the BDO, cracking out all their best tunes from that album, and their previous 2 efforts. Highlight tracks included ‘Freak on a Leash’, ‘Clown’, ‘Shoots and Ladders’ (which was part of a medley) and ‘Got The Life’ (which was possibly the Song of the Day).

(In fact, they were so good, that my ex-girlfriend (who is quite short) said it may as well have been a stereo on the stage, because she couldn’t see anything over the guys in front of us – too bad for her, I guess)

(Since this year, Korn have released 3 albums – ‘Issues’, ‘Untouchables’ and ‘Take a Look In The Mirror’ – all of which have failed miserably with audiences worldwide. I’m always stunned when a band can churn out one fantastic album and then have such a steep decline, musically, over the following couple of releases)

Marilyn Manson: At one time (yes, 1999) I actually got into Marilyn Manson’s music (even to this day I own 2 of his CDs). His live show was pretty tight, and it was fun from a novelty point-of-view. But nowadays, I just think he sucks – his message sucks, his music ain’t that good (except for his cover of Eurythmics classic ‘Sweet Dreams’ – and maybe his cover of Soft Cell’s ‘Tainted Love’) and he just has no taste.

(In fact, I’ll go one further and say this: he’s a show pony who has no place being mentioned alongside some of the better musicians of our generation)

(Although, I will mention this – while I was at the Big Day Out, I bought a Marilyn Manson t-shirt that had “God is Now Here” written on the front, and “God Is Nowhere” written on the back. Mum hated it and made me get rid of it – just quietly, the big argument with Mum over this shirt actually became one of the secret highlights of the day)

Hole: At the time that Hole headlined the Big Day Out, Courtney Love’s team had just released their latest album, ‘Celebrity Skin’, she was in the middle of a battle of words in the media with Marilyn Manson, had lost access to her daughter, Frances Bean, and was about 2 steps from going back to rehab. During the course of her show, she took off her shirt twice (luckily I was too far back to see anything) and then at the end she gave her guitar to some girl in the crowd. If only she could’ve done that at the start so I could’ve gone home.

(As we all know Courtney Love is a bit of a drama queen, and likes to stir up trouble. The worst thing she ever did? Blocked the release of a Nirvana Greatest Hits album, which was being organised by former Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic – at one point she took them to court over the whole deal. I’m not sure what her problem is, but I’m pretty sure some time in hospital would fix it … mental hospital, that is)