Monsters Of Rock, Donnington Park.

Who could you have to top the bill with such guests as W.A.S.P.m Anthrax, Metallica and Dio?

Admittedly Bon Jovi probably doesn’t spring to mind as the most likely candidate given such a line-up, but back in 1987 that’s exactly what we got for the Monsters Of Rock bash! Most likely because Bon Jovi were big that year. Very big. Enormously big, riding on the worldwide success of their Slippery When Wet album. And to be completely honest, Bon Jovi were the sole reason I went to Donnington, not really having heard much of the other bands previously (despite some of my friends being in to them in a big way).

Living several hundred miles away from the gig, we found a local company organising a bus trip there and back, so headed off with 40 or 50 others for the day (well, weekend really when you factor in all the travel there and back).

And once we got the Donnington and got it, it rained. Quite a lot in parts. Ah, the joys of the British outdoor music festival!

First up were Cinderella, who I’d never heard of and haven’t heard of since. I can’t remember anything, good or bad, about their set.

Next were W.A.S.P.. Now, I had heard a few snippets of their stuff before but when they came on stage I was pretty immediately converted. Anyone who knows their stuff nows what to expect. We didn’t, and so didn’t realise about the stage show – damn! Still, the songs were good and I subsequently located their entire catalogue and still listen to them today (and did go see them on their own tour once).

Next up, Anthrax. Not especially my cup of tea, although I did love “I Am The Man” which I’d never heard before.

Then came Metallica. Now, I’m slightly ashamed, yet slightly proud, to say that I slept through pretty much their entire set – I put that down to being tired ‘cos of the overnight bus trip, there being long gaps between the acts as they reset the stage, being miffed ‘cos of the rain, and having found a relatively comfy spot to lie down during the breaks between acts (leaning against the track wall). Oh well!

On to Dio with a longer set, and another pretty good one. I did become a fan for a while, but unfortunately his music was not enough to keep me anything other than a casual fan these days. All good stuff though.

During the final gap while Dio’s stuff was removed and Bon Jovi’s set up, the usual general music was blaring over the PA to keep people entertained, when on came Queen’s We Will Rock You, and something happened; pretty much the entire park joined in complete with full handclaps! Bon Jovi obviously saw this and asked the DJ to play it again a short while later, most likely while they scribbled down the words and worked out the “tune”, because when they did a version of We Will Rock You during their own set, encouraging the crowd to join in (alas without the famous drum rhythm!). The rest of their set was as you’d expect, concentrating on Slippery but with a smattering of their other stuff. Oh, and some green lasers fanning out and shining up and down sweeping the crowd – pretty commonplace these days but still fairly novel back in 1987.

They finished up by bringing a few guests on stage including Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden and Dee Snider from Twisted Sister for a final couple of songs, then it was all over bar the very long trek back to the bus and the several hundred mile bus trip home.

A great second gig, albeit with completely different weather!

Setlists –
Bon Jovi Pink Flamingos, Raise Your Hands, I’d Die For You, Tokyo Road, You Give Love A Bad Name, Wild In The Streets, Not Fade Away, Never Say Goodbye, Livin’ On A Prayer, Let It Rock, Get Ready, Runaway, Wanted Dead Or Alive, Drift Away, Travelin’ Band, We’re An American Band

Dio Stand Up And Shout, Dream Evil, Neon Knights, Naked In The Rain, Rock ‘N’ Roll Children, Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll, Rock ‘N’ Roll Children, The Last In Line, Holy Diver, Drum solo, Heaven And Hell, Man On The Silver Mountain, All The Fools Sailed Away, The Last In Line, Sunset Superman, Rainbow In The Dark, We Rock.

Metallica Ecstacy of Gold, Creeping Death, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Fade to Black, Leper Messiah, Phantom Lord, Fade to Black, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), Seek & Destroy, Master of Puppets, Run to the Hills (jam), Last Caress, Am I Evil?, Damage Inc., Battery

Anthrax Among The Living, Caught In A Mosh, Madhouse, I Am The Law, Medusa, Indians, God Save The Queen, A.I.R., I’m The Man

W.A.S.P. On your knees, LOVE Machine, Wild Child, I fuck like a beast, I wanna be somebody, Harder Faster, Blind in Texas.

Cinderella In From The Outside, Save Me, Night Songs, Push Push, Back Home Again, Gypsy Road, Shake Me.