Just another standard day at the Big Day Out – this year I went along with my sister, and my buddy Nate again. Not too much transpired – except for when my wallet got lost with $200 cash inside it. I was pretty hungry and thirsty for the rest of the day. Oh – and it rained, which sucked.
Blindspott: The first time I had ever seen these guys live, and they are now one of my favourite NZ bands. I even remember saying to my buddy Nate that they were gonna be huge (he didn’t believe me then … but who’s laughing now, huh?! HUH!?). They opened up the festival on the mainstage, and they were absolutely awesome – songs like ‘Room To Breathe’, ‘Nil By Mouth’ and ‘SUIT’ were just out of this world.
Amen: 2002’s “Token Psycho Heavy Metal Guys” weren’t actually very good. The sole highlights of their set were 1) when the singer got out a blade and started cutting his hand on the stage, 2) when the singer got up on top of the side-of-stage speakers (which are about 2 meters high) and jumped off them, nearly breaking his leg in the process, and 3) when they trashed the drumkit at the end. That was awesome!
Alien Ant Farm: While they might be jazz trained, and pretty good musically, I probably would’ve seen more of these guys, except I was wandering around pointlessly trying to find my wallet at the time – I realised just before these guys started that I had lost it, so I spent their entire set walking around to different places I had been and looking, in hopes it had been dropped, and was still around. I’m pretty sure it was stolen from me though – this one guy, during Amen’s set, was just a little too close to me.
System of a Down: By the time SOAD started I was pretty calm again, and was able to relax and enjoy the show. But then it started raining. And then they started having trouble with the crowd, and had to stop 4 songs into their set. But it has to be said, if they had stopped completely after 4 songs, I would’ve been satisfied – SOAD are easily the best band to ever play the Big Day Out – musically brilliant, talented, awesome heavy songs and a clear message to boot. Easily the number one band on my Top Ten Best Ever Bands at BDO list. Then the barrier at the front collapsed, and they had to stop, so …
Shihad: The good old boys of New Zealand music were back, and cleaning up after the problem System had. Not only that, but Shihad were armed with new music from ‘The General Electric’ and a great show – one of the better acts of the day. After they were done …
System of a Down: … came back on to finish what they started. Again, I can’t say enough good things about these guys. Highlight tracks: ‘Toxicity’, ‘Prison Song’, ‘Aerials’, ‘Suggestions’, ‘War’.
Garbage: After System finished, Garbage had to set up on the same stage. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of Garbage, but they certainly gave me a bit of a jolt when they got up – another of the best sets of the day. Shirley Manson (the nice Manson) is a fantastic singer, and she showed it on songs like ‘Vow’, ‘Androgyny’ and ‘I Think I’m Paranoid’. Just a great set overall, solid, tight musically, and entertaining. What more could you want?
Silverchair: Silverchair have never been among the best bands around, in my book, but they gave me good reason to rethink, with this blistering set. The BDO was shortly after the release of their ‘best of’ album, so they got up and did an hour of the best songs they ever wrote – including ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Freak’, ‘Pure Massacre’, ‘Anthem for the Year 2000’ and ‘Ana’s Song’. Good stuff from these Aussies!
The Prodigy: In 1997, The Prodigy were at the apex of their career – about to release the best techno album of the 90s, and performing at a staggeringly high level. In 2002 they were about as low as it gets. They didn’t play any of the songs that could be considered classics. Their singers, Maxim Reality and Keith Flint, did nothing but say a few words here and there and swear constantly. At one point, Keith Flint even urinated into the large drum of water at the front that people were getting their drinking water from, forcing the security guards to tip the whole thing out. Just the lowest of the low. Unbelievably bad. (As far as their show goes, all I can remember wondering is if this was the same Prodigy that played in 1997 – I was in a state of confusion because I didn’t recognise any songs, and they weren’t good. I got scared and freaked out …)