I’m knackered, but musically satisfied. Four days is just too long for a festival. Especially if there are only two decent acts on the last day of the (otherwise excellent) bill. But I really wanted to see Metallica so leaving earlier wasn’t an option. And the festival opened with Eagles of Death Metal, Lily Allen and the Dave Matthews Band, so arriving later would have been a shame as well. In that regard it was a good thing that we didn’t check the route before we left, because while we took the long way around Leuven after missing the exit, the long row of cars that did follow the right route would take four or five hours to reach Werchter. In that time we set up our tent, inflated our beds and queued for a long time to get our wristbands. Eagles of Death Metal had already started playing when we entered the festival site, but we were just in time for their small hit ‘Wannabe in LA’.
The rock in Rock Werchter has significantly lost value over the years. Sure, with bands like Metallica, Mastodon, Mars Volta and Nine Inch Nails there were a plethora of amplifiers that could go to 11, but the line-up also featured many pop artists like Lily Allen, Katy Perry, Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga. The headliners are somewhere in between of those categories on the musical spectrum: Coldplay, Oasis, Kings of Leon and The Killers. Fans of dance music also had lots to cheer about, with The Prodigy, Tiga, Boyz Noise and 2ManyDJ’s amongst others. And the young people could easily bring their folks, because there were also some old favorites on stage, like Grace Jones and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
My own favorites were Elbow, Mogwai, Nick Cave, Nine Inch Nails and Metallica. It was also nice to see the Dave Matthews Band, but a festival isn’t the right setting for them. Kings of Leon, Placebo and The Killers were a lot better than the last time I saw them. Especially Placebo was rather disappointing a couple of years ago, but this time they played with much more energy and also included more old songs in the set list. Kings of Leon was also a lot more convincing, their recent success has obviously lifted their self-esteem. Biggest disappointment was Limp Bizkit. Not that I had high expectations, but I have to admit I quite like some of their songs and they failed to deliver those live with the vigour I’d expected. Just like me, they’re probably getting too old for this shit. :)