Headlined by The Prodigy, Metallica and Black Sabbath. I also saw Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Chase & Status, Fear Factory, Machine Head, NOFX, Corey Taylor, Fozzy, Ginger Wildheart, Halestorm, Steel Panther, Sylosis, Tenacious D, Trivium, Turbonegro, Anthrax, Black Label Society, DevilDriver, Kyuss Lives, Lamb of God, Megadeth, Soundgarden.
It was nicknamed ‘Drownload’ for a reason. Download 2012 might have been promoted extensively as the monumental tenth anniversary for the festival (this the logo was designed to say DOWN10AD), but it is best remembered for its atrocious weather. On the Thursday, there was a spectacular downpour. It only lasted for a few minutes, but was heavy enough that despite it not raining again for most of the weekend and the tens of thousands of people treading the ground down, that the site was total sludge for the entire event.
When the rain started in the afternoon, I was in the village. The group that I was with ran its separate ways to get under a shop tent. We found each other back at our camp and chatted about where we had hidden when (as campmate described it) “it cunted it down with rain”.
Metallica performed The Black Album in its entirety, albeit in reverse order. I was unfamiliar enough with the album that I didn’t know that this was the case when they actually started performing it. Corey Taylor performed a great solo acoustic set full of covers, Stone Sour and Slipknot songs. Lzzy Hale of Halestorm made an appearance to sing AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’, Corey got the crowd to “hop on one leg” instead of “jump the fuck up” during ‘Spit it Out’, and there was a brilliant singalong of U2’s ‘With Or Without You’. He debuted a new Stone Sour song, and dedicated a performance of Snuff to the late Paul Gray. There was an emotional ending when Andy Copping came out to present a tearful Taylor with a well-deserved award for Slipknot’s 2009 performance, calling it the greatest performance in Download’s first ten years.
Black Sabbath’s performance had been hyped up (as if it needed to be. It’s SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH!) as the long-awaited reunion of the classic line-up. However, there had been several panics in the run-up to the show, and for a change, it wasn’t just Ozzy’s health. A reunion tour had been announced, only to be cancelled again… except their Download performance. Also, less than a month before the performance, drummer Bill Ward stated that he wouldn’t be participating.
In the end though, the show was fantastic from the opening bells of ‘Black Sabbath’ to the iconic fast-pasted riff of ‘Paranoid’.