Day three and, as it’s our last one here, we finally decide to explore the site away from the music stages. Food wise there are some great options, unless you’re vegetarian when it’s same old same old for the whole weekend.. After finding shelter from the killer rays and re-applying the sun cream for the third time it was time to wander around the area which consisted of many clothes stalls, stands selling pictures printed on request and masseuses and osteopaths for those who may have over done it a little in the pit. About ten minutes walk from the arena is -the village’ area which features many food stands, a bar, an off licence, a twenty four hour supermarket and a camping shop that supplies everything from earplugs to a -Sheewee’ (A female urinating device). There are also two smaller stages, the -Bell Tent’ and, yes you’ve guessed it, the -End Tent’. When the main arena closes, shows are held here for the festival goers, including Crazy White Sean, who is best avoided if you have a weak stomach.
After a little shopping we headed back towards the main stage to watch Skin give their first live performance since 1998, give or take one or two warm up shows pre the festival. Obviously excited to be back on stage at such a huge festival they put on a cracking show playing their hits that sent the crowd wild with nostalgia. Hopefully they won’t leave it as long until we see them again. We stayed on to watch a little of Kentucky’s own Black Stone Cherry. The response was good and having seen these guys the previous year at Graspop, BSC are definitely a good time band.
Retreating out of the sun we could make out the unmistakeable tones of Journey bellowing from the main stage. Only knowing one song (that one) of theirs we were surprised by the amount of voices we could hear in the crowd singing along. Being kind we’d say that a lot of people watching them were into them the first time round. Of an even mature vintage were ZZ Top, who proved themselves capable of keeping a metal audience happy right until they finished up with a cover of -Jailhouse Rock’.
Buckcherry were one of the bands we were most looking forward to but their set was a little disappointing as the ego driven front man Josh Todd made us continuously throw our eyes to heaven. Finishing their set with their biggest hit -Crazy Bitch’, Todd continued in his vulgarity by declaring that they wrote this track about the greatest thing in the world – -fucking’. Classy. After this let down it was over to the Tubourg Tent for a little spark of home in the shape of Therapy?, who provided the icing on the cake to State’s Download weekend. Giving constant shout outs to the Irish contingent in the audience and mixing classics from across their career with tracks from the excellent new album. One of the acts of the day, roll on Oxegen.
All of which just left Def Leppard, here with recent touring partners Whitesnake. Tonight saw the band revisit the venue of their first ever show back after drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in 1984 and it was clear how much it meant to all of the band being back here as headliners, Allen in particular. Members of the old school they may be, but Def Leppard are part of Donnigton’s history and when the likes of -Pour Some Sugar On Me’ fill the night air, it’s hard to argue that they don’t belong here amongst the circle pits, the drum n’ bass and the mayhem. Then the lights go up, the security start shouting to get a move on and all of a sudden we’re just people standing in a massive littered field. Download is over for another year and we’ll be back in this field in 2010 for sure.