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Graspop Metal Meeting - Day One @ Dessel (BEL)

in Friday, 25 June 2010 at Kastelsedijk
by Maria Voutiriadou, Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

Day 1
DimK: The METAL TEMPLE report on the previous year’s edition of ‘Graspop Metal Meeting’ ended with the promise that we would definitely visit this festival in the following year. And so we did, taking also into consideration that ‘GMM’ was about to celebrate the 15 years of Metal serving to all the metalheads from Europe. So, two METAL TEMPLE editors were pumped and ready to enjoy the celebrating festivities on full scale!

MariaV: I was so excited when I found out that this year, the ‘GMM’ organization crew has included us in the press team, so, we were gonna have the opportunity to know better ‘what this is all about’ from the inside part/ backstage. And yes, I have to tell you that the same awesome organization excelled also behind the four stages. It’s really an unspeakable experience to observe and be part of a big European festival that accommodates each year since 1995 thousands of people and this year’s ‘Graspop Metal Meeting’ edition achieved to take an A+ in all sections. So, with our airport tickets in our hands, DimK and I were ready to be part of this 15 anniversary edition of ‘GMM’, meet so many people and, of course, enjoy ourselves. Nevertheless, another reason to visit Graspop is the Belgian beer…

DimK: The first day found us making our way to get the press accreditation and start working on the pretty full interview program we had ahead of us. Despite the fact that the festival was excellently arranged, we managed to lose one hour working on the arrangements and hence we entered Marquee II where the NWOBHM legends RAVEN were the festival openers.

DimK: Watching the Gallagher brothers storming the stage made me feel such a disappointment… and of course not because RAVEN could not met their reputation but because we managed to arrive at Marquee II during “On And On” that was one track before the end of the setlist. Blast!!! The British band literally brought tears into my eyes since RAVEN was the first band I ever watched live something more than 20 years ago. Alright, they had some additional pounds but damn they looked 100% solid! The good thing was that Marquee II was almost full despite that is was just afternoon with a killing beating sun up above! It seemed that “Walk Through Fire” did manage to reach many metalheads despite the minimal promotion. RAVEN’s athletic rock reached a climax during “Break The Chain” that also featured a break with two cover song excepts one from UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” and BLACK SABBATH’s “Symptom Of The Universe” sending additional shivers down my spine. This was a might start to ‘GMM’ and I knew that things could only go better!

RAVEN setlist:
  1. "Take Control"
  2. "Live At The Inferno"
  3. "All For One"
  4. "Breaking You Down"
  5. "Speed Of The Reflex"
  6. "Mind Over Metal"
  7. "On And On"
  8. "Break The Chain"
MariaV: When REVAMP stepped on the Main Stage as the first ‘big-name’ opener of this year’s ‘GMM’ edition and BLEEDING THROUGH were performing on the tiny stage of Metal Dome, we were waiting patiently for the SLAYER interview with Kerry King at the artists’ lounge till 15 minutes to two a.m. when the mighty ANVIL got prepared to capture Marquee II stage for 40 minutes; of course, we already knew that 40 minutes were not enough to enjoy this historic Thrash trio from Canada. Our only comfort was the thought that Steve, Robb and G5 will be waiting us two hour after to make a in-depth conversation about their plans. So, the 20 minutes that we had in our disposal we got a simple taste of what these Metal leviathans can still do on stage. The crowd was too many inside the Marquee II tent and the heat was totally unbearable, but the three smiling ANVIL faces when stepped on stage gave us the courage to handle all this heat and enjoy some of their all-time classics, like “666”, “School Love” and “Mothra”, while the newest “This Is Thirteen” aroused the whole Marquee II up, showing how big is the love of the ANVIL fans to them. The great leader, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow didn’t stop smiling and thanking all these people who came in and support ANVIL all these years and seemed that he had the greatest time of his life.

I really didn’t want to leave Marquee II because the whole atmosphere inside the hot tent was indefinable but I had to! The fans reciprocation, the perfect sound and the great atmosphere are some of the main ingredients of that ANVIL appearance that I took with me and I will doubtless try to watch them again in some of the ANVIL US shows, in the near future.

ANVIL setlist:
  1. "666"
  2. "School Love"
  3. "Winged Assassins"
  4. "This Is Thirteen"
  5. "Mothra"
  6. "White Rhino"
  7. "Metal On Metal"
DimK: Ok, I had second thoughts when I saw that SLAYER were about to play under the Belgian beating sun (!) in the afternoon since Thrash and heat do not mix well. And if you add that the US band had to perform without the intense light show then you will get my ‘second thought’ issue. Nevertheless, after the nice talk with Kerry King we found a nice spot among the rest of the frying metalheads to watch SLAYER on stage during their break from the Big Four dates. Without a fancy intro or cheesy speech SLAYER took over the main festival stage with the brand new “World Painted Blood”. As always the band looked solid and brutal without compromising something from their reputation. Tom Araya looked extremely well and managed not to headbang spending his not-singing time interacting with the crowd having a big smile on his face. I tell you, the rumors about SLAYER are about to quit are simply nonsense. Of course, the setlist comprised of all the hits and keeping short the in-between-songs breaks just made things more violent. The ‘GMM’ crowd was not bothered by the tormenting heat and gave SLAYER the response they wanted by forming mosh-pits in the two sides of the stage. After all, the band took fully advantage of the one hour given and made everyone look satisfied and definitely sweaty to the bone…

SLAYER setlist:
  1. "World Painted Blood"
  2. "Jihad"
  3. "War Ensemble"
  4. "Hate Worldwide"
  5. "Seasons In The Abyss"
  6. "Angel Of Death"
  7. "Beauty Through Order"
  8. "Disciple"
  9. "Mandatory Suicide"
  10. "Chemical Warfare"
  11. "South Of Heaven"
  12. "Raining Blood"
MariaV: U.D.O. or THERION? THERION or U.D.O.? This kind of dilemma we had to face with a solution because both bands had taken their positions at Marquee II and I, respectively, and the 55 minutes that were being programmed in the bands’ timetables were not enough to be split up in the middle. So, we preferred to watch Udo and his boys for once more and step aside Christofer Johnsson’s renovated ‘therion’, since I was quite curious about THERION’s bondage on stage. Let it be; U.D.O. is a guarantee for every loyal heavy metalhead and five minutes before the show get started, we managed to find a good place, in the heart of the action. The lights were out and the melodies of “Dominator” filled up the place. I can’t name a special moment of this show or a recommended highlight, even though the ACCEPT songs seem to be the most popular among every other U.D.O. track. But I got surely thrills when the “Princess of The Dawn” solid intro reached in my ears and the crowd responded to this very warmly with non stop rhythm applause and screaming Udo’s name. The all-time-classic hymn “Metal Heart” was the chosen one to close this hourly set (this again brought the crowd together as one to chant along with guitarist Stefan Kaufman's interpretation of Beethoven’s “Für Elise” in the solo section) before the short encore and “Balls To The Wall” brought back on stage U.D.O. team for the final goodbye. The U.D.O. show was full of everything: pure Heavy Metal tunes, pulse, touching moments, a lot of singing but first of all, the absolute giant of Metal himself, Udo Dirkschneider.

MariaV: To be honest with you I was never a VELVET REVOLVER fan or a Weiland fan either. So, I watched STONE TEMPLE PILOTS for academic reasons, most of all and for curiosity regarding of their singer’s physical situation. Mr. Weiland and his band stepped on the Main Stage at 18:30 and for one hour tried to shock, touch and draw our attention without the minimal success. “Vasoline”, “Wicked Garden”, “Crackerman” and “Between The Lines” were the first chosen tracks for the STP show and left indifferent the standing crowd that had not chosen SEPULTURA for that passing hour at the hottest Metal Dome. Weiland’s loudspeaker proved to be a disaster since his voice could not be heard and the whole sonic total was a mess, while their stage set was uninspiring and completely boring; at that point, the crowd began to leave the Main Stage massively for a couple of breaths and bottles of water/ beer that would gave them strength and power for the rest of the ‘GMM’ ‘blow-minding’ first day and STONE TEMPLE PILOTS performed in front of a handful of people that began to wonder what would be the chosen lady to watch between Tarja Turunen and Doro Pesch that were coming up next. So, we did, going to the VIP’s tent for some rest and watching the rest of the indifferent show of STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, waiting the time to pass by, so, to kneel before the one and only Metal queen at the Marquee II.

  1. "Vasoline"
  2. "Wicked Garden"
  3. "Crackerman"
  4. "Between The Lines"
  5. "Hickory Dichotomy"
  6. "Big Empty"
  7. "Plush"
  8. "Interstate Love Song"
  9. "Huckleberry Crumble"
  10. "Tumble In The Rough"
  11. "Lounge Fly"
  12. "Sex Type Thing"
  13. "Dead And Bloated"
  14. "Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart"
DimK: The first ‘GMM’ date was literally on-fire featuring bands that we love giving excellent live performances. So, having the ultimate Metal Queen on the billing was simply the icing on the cake. Doro and her band showed right on time upon the Marquee II stage and faced a really packed tent. DORO is a German band and hence is a guaranty for all live performances. So, the lights went out, the crowd started screaming and the Metal Queen showed up as always in an excellent looking fit singing the first lyrics of “Earthshaker Rock”. The German based band had just one hour in its disposal so many “WARLOCK” songs were added to the setlist. Doro apart from her looks sounded in a very good mood despite the cold that made her move to the back to blow her nose. Nevertheless, “I Rule The Ruins” and the latest “Running From The Devil” where some of the songs that raise the inside temperature even more. I really like the fact that Doro does not attract only the male metalheads; her honest attitude has managed to form a dedicated fan circle with many female members that love her music.

Nevertheless, Doro performed “Fur Immer” with her expressional voice and to top things off dedicated RAIBOW’s “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” to the recently departed Dio making everyone singing on top of their lungs the trademark chorus lines. “All We Are” marked the end of this high-standard performance and I am sure there was not a single complaint for all the metalheads who watched that show from the ultimate female Metal voice.

DORO setlist:
  1. "Earthshaker Rock"
  2. "I Rule The Ruins"
  3. "Running From The Devil"
  4. "Burning The Witches"
  5. "Fight"
  6. "The Night Of The Warlock"
  7. "Metal Racer"
  8. "True As Steel"
  9. "Fur Immer"
  10. "Egypt (The Chains Are On)"
  11. "All We Are"
MariaV: I consider myself a huge MOTORHEAD fan since 1992 and I’ve watched this mighty band in every concert they gave in Athens, Greece since then, plus the last year’s appearance at Apollo Theater, in Manchester, England. So, I can surely tell that I’ve seen MOTORHEAD in good and in bad times (if there were any bad ones). But this one, in ‘GMM’ definitely belongs to the bad times. I was quite disappointed when I saw Lemmy Kilmister on stage in a bad mood, without his ordinary jokes with the fans or his incomparable teasing with the rest of the band. Lemmy was standing in the right side of the stage with his tall mic in front of him, without moving an inch or even make a little chat with the front lines of the crowd; he was standing still, just doing his ‘job’ and that was disappointing!

The Lemmy’s bad performance (his voice is getting worse and worse) and in this producing gap came Phil Campbell to fill with his extremely mobility (!), since he walked all over the Mainstage for 70 minutes without stopping for a single moment. Mikkey seemed to be in a great shape for once again and the loudest Rock ‘n’ Roll trio in the world (AIRBOURNE’s appearance was the next day!) gave us a set with the most favorite ‘all-time classic’ songs, plus a couple from the latest “Motorizer” album.

Nevertheless, the negative thing of the MOTORHEAD set was the chosen setlist for ‘GMM’ that was exactly the same (exempting three songs) to that one in Manchester, 8 months ago. There are so many MOTORHEAD hits that fans are thirsty to hear but Lemmy and his team keep playing the same tracks in the whole tour without surprises or additions. I can understand that is hard to change setlists and settings on stage, especially after 35 years, as much as touring so hard and changing countries every two days because of the heavy program tour; but if you are not able to do this, it’s better for all of us (including you) to stay at home and feed your cat maybe. In so many interviews I keep reading that Lemmy is sick of “Ace Of Spades” etc but I don’t see any marks of improvement for this. MOTORHEAD are not a full time job guys, MOTORHEAD are Rock ‘n’ Roll for God’s sake! So, I consider that this appearance belongs to the exception of their awesome performances that confirm the rule: MOTORHEAD are made to kick ass!

MOTORHEAD setlist:
  1. "Iron Fist"
  2. "Stay Clean"
  3. "Be My Baby"
  4. "Rock Out"
  5. "Metropolis"
  6. "Over The Top"
  7. "One Night Stand"/ solo Phil Campbell
  8. "The Thousand Names Of God"
  9. "Cradle To The Grave"
  10. "In The Name Of Tragedy"/ solo Mikkey Dee/ "In The Name Of Tragedy" Reprise
  11. "Just 'Cos You Got The Power"
  12. "Going To Brazil"
  13. "Killed By Death"
  14. "Ace Of Spades"
  15. "Overkill"
DimK: So, MOTORHEAD managed to give us a glorious ‘turn off’ (read MariaV’s report above) but walking in a fast pace towards Marque II to catch SAXON was sure a reward. Reaching the tent I realized how wrong the promoters were in booking the British band in that spot and in that place. The place looked totally packed and many metalheads were ‘forced’ to watch the concert from way to the back to avoid suffocating and sweating like pigs. “Heavy Metal Thunder” was the first tune that guided us near the stage implementing all the squeezing-our-way-in techniques we knew. “Dogs Of War” was next and SAXON looked solid and tight as always. I have watched them live many times and every time I can impressed with their on-stage energetic performance that can move even the most ‘difficult’ members of the crowd. Biff was in constant motion communicating with the SAXON fans at ease delivering the vocals with impressive precision. But as time went by things were getting pretty rough inside the packed tent; not only we had to face the rising humidity and heat but also the artificial smoke that after a while made breathing a difficult thing to do. Fortunately, the inside conditions did not stop the British band who hit us hard with “Motorcycle Man”, “And The Bands Played On” and “Demon Sweeney Todd” where Biff nailed the vocals to the maximum. The winner of the Riff King concert joined the band during “Live To Rock” enhancing the party atmosphere making us to partially forget all the indoor difficulties. “Denim And Leather” close this highly energetic performance a song that was dedicated to Dio giving an additional reasons to all of us present to sing with the chorus lines over our heads. SAXON just underlined the promoters error not include them in one of the headlining spots or at least give them the main stage to perform. In that way many metalheads would have the chance to learn ‘who is the best live band’ in the Metal scene.

SAXON setlist:
  1. "Heavy Metal Thunder"
  2. "Dogs Of War"
  3. "To Hell And Back Again"
  4. "Live To Rock"
  5. "Motorcycle Man"
  6. "And The Bands Played On"
  7. "Demon Sweeney Todd"
  8. "The Eagle Has Landed"
  9. "20,000 Feet"
  10. "Wheels Of Steel"
  11. "Princess Of The Night"
  12. "Crusader"
  13. "Denim And Leather"
MariaV: The time clocked 30 minutes before midnight and the ‘bad boys from Boston’ had already delayed 15 minutes to took their places on stage (according to the time table), when the trademark sound of “Love In An Elevator” smashed our heads and the big black curtain with the red AEROSMITH logo fell down, under the screams of Mr. Tyler. Joe Perry and the boys rejoiced themselves, while the 45000 of people were standing in front of the Main Stage screamed and clapped without stopping, trying to watch them more clearly because of the crowded scene in the first lines. So did I, but suddenly, all the enthusiasm and my agony to watch America’s greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll band has gone with the wind. I couldn’t recognize the heroes of my teens behind those masks, I couldn’t accept that it took so many years to stand across them and see what I saw: a well-wound Rock ‘n’ Roll machine that its only purpose is to entertain and nothing more. “Back In The Saddle” and “Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)” were the two songs that followed and I realized that many people around me had the same impression with me about AEROSMITH. Ok, the sound was a little bit fuzzy in the beginning and the five rock veterans seemed to be numb or something, but after a while (3-4 songs), the landscape became clearer and the first impression was almost a state: AEROSMITH were only their show and nothing more than that, no soul, no willing to have fun.

“Living On The Edge” was one of the enough highlights for me, as “Rag Doll”; the sound was quite better, Steven Tyler had gained the majority of the crowd going up and down on the big corridor that had set in the middle of the Main Stage and being more loose than the start and Joe Perry was trying to get some of the Tyler’s glint with his poses in the stage’s center. Sadly, “Cryin’” was the boring intermission for me, till “Sweet Emotion” came on and changed my mood a little bit. “Baby, Please Don’t Go” was a big surprise to me and the people began to dance and scream and go crazy, when “Draw The Line” dropped the curtains for five minutes and the necessary breaths for Tyler and the boys back stage, preparing us for the predictable encore.

After five minutes, the lights were on again and the emotional melody of “Dream On” flooded the whole ‘GMM’ area, making us to unite our voices and sing with Tyler. Here, I have to say that I am tired of this song in the past but in this case, I adored it and I definitely I changed my mind; Steven’s reading was awesome and the guitar solos were solid and clear just as in the album. I loved it! “Walk This Way” reminded us the RUN DMC’s choreography and the AEROSMITH party finally ended a few minutes after one o’ clock with “Toys In The Attic” when Perry put his guitar inside a fan turbines and left the stage.

Well, AEROSMITH are so much for the American music industry and their name has carved with golden letters in the universal music history, since 1969 till today; so, they don’t have to prove a thing. The sad part is what has left from AEROSMITH; I mean, I liked a lot the Tyler’s setting on stage with his colorful scarves on his mic and his fancy clothes, Perry’s well-played themes and solos and all the glory that this band carries on its back. They are professionals, first of all. Nevertheless, only these things have left on stage and the rest of it is just a dusty ghost, lost in time. So, I was a little disappointed of what I watched from AEROSMITH that night; the truth is that some bands must been watched in real time and when they are at the peak of their career.

AEROSMITH setlist:
  1. "Love In An Elevator"
  2. "Back In The Saddle"
  3. "Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)"
  4. "Eat The Rich"
  5. "Livin' On The Edge"
  6. "What It Takes"
  7. "Rag Doll"
  8. "Cryin'"
  9. "Mama Kin"
  10. "Stop Messin' Around" (FLEETWOOD MAC cover)
  11. "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing"
  12. "Sweet Emotion"
  13. "Baby, Please Don't Go" (Big Joe Williams cover)
  14. "Draw The Line"
  15. "Dream On"
  16. "Walk This Way"
  17. "Toys In The Attic"

Ticket Price: 75€ (day), 145 (three day)


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Edited 15 August 2020

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Yiannis Mitsakos

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