BDO Memories: Nothing tops RATM.

ImageTomorrow is somewhat of a milestone day for my festival-going habits.  I’ll be attending my fifth Big Day Out in seven years – and this year also marks the festival’s 20th anniversary.

The BDO has become a part of Australian cultural folklore – it’s almost a rite of passage to go to the event at least once in your life.  Sure, it has changed a fair bit, the ticket prices have increased heaps and there has been increasing competition with all sorts of new festivals popping up over the years.

But the BDO has always brought some of the world’s best acts to our shores, and it has also introduced thousands of new festival-goers to the awesomeness of live music and mosh pits.  And for that, Ken West deserves a massive pat on the back (especially with all the dramas he’s encountered behind the scenes this year).

I’ve seen many memorable performances at the five Big Day Outs I’ve been to. There was Iggy and The Stooges’ wild set at my first BDO in 2006, Tool’s lasers and eye-popping visuals in 2007, Muse’s knockout displays in 2007 and 2010, The Killers’ coming of age in 2007 – and the anthemic, joy-filled sets from some our country’s best acts past and present like Powderfinger, Silverchair, Wolfmother, The Vines, The Living End and Hilltop Hoods.

But hands down – the best set that I have seen at Big Day Out – let alone any festival that I’ve been to in my life – is from Rage Against The Machine who headlined in 2008.  The atmosphere in the mosh pit then was like no other gig that I have been to – just thousands of people all bouncing around and rockin’ out together like a cult army.  Whether it was Testify, Bulls On Parade, Guerilla Radio, Freedom, Wake Up, Bullet In The Head or Killing In The Name – each track was met with such a passionate response and led to dust clouds filling the air en masse due to all the jumping up and down.  

It was just vintage stuff, and at some stages, being in a RATM mosh pit felt like a battle to hang in there and make it through!  It’s going to take something incredibly special to match the atmosphere, energy and passion of that performance.

But having said that, I am very much looking forward to seeing Kanye, Soundgarden, The Living End, Hilltop Hoods, Parkway Drive, Boy & Bear, Stonefield and Calling All Cars all in action tomorrow – and I’m sure they will deliver great performances of their own!  I’m also going to be doing some reviews of the festival for Music Feeds – so keep an eye out for them on Monday.




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