There’s a wee Oxfam charity shop near me that does a good line in second-hand music magazines for 50p. It’s always worth a rummage. The other weekend I was especially pleased to find this beauty! Future Publishing’s one-off Monsters of Rock special. I didn’t know about this issue so I was well chuffed to pick it for small change!
It covers all the legendary Monsters of Rock festivals that took place at Castle Donington between 1980 and 1996. It also covers the attempted revival in 2006 (at Milton Keynes) and some of the other Monsters of Rock shows that have taken place elsewhere (the big Moscow one, the 1988 US Tour etc…). It’s full of reviews, recollections, photos and nostalgia for the golden age of the Rock festival. Just 6 or 7 of that year’s hottest bands clashing on a single stage could bring the best and worst out of them and there have been many careers made and broken at the event. It makes for fascinating reading.
Unfortunately, I only ever made it to one (the KISS headliner in ’96 by which point they had been adding more bands and an extra stage) but the festival always seemed to be recorded for broadcast on UK radio and TV so I was usually able to enjoy the festival, even when I wasn’t there. Many of the recordings made for broadcast have since been released as albums or used as bonus tracks. AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Dio, Anthrax, Whitesnake and more have all released albums and/or videos of their performances.
And talking of official releases… I’ve thrown in the LP of the Monsters of Rock compilation released by Polydor to celebrate the first Donington festival in 1980. This gets a full-page feature in the mag so I thought I’d include my copy here. It’s got two epic Rainbow performances, Stargazer and All Night Long, which are slightly marred by Graham Bonnet’s gruff warble but worth hearing for Ritchie Blackmore’s awesome playing (check out the nifty blues coda in All Night Long). The Scorpions tracks are great but could have done with being a bit beefier and Touch’s melodic AOR is out of place in such heavy company. Riot and Saxon steal the album with their gritty, bloodthirsty performances. The biggest let-down of the album is the absence of anything from Judas Priest’s set from the day. But still, this is a great listen and a fun item from the HMO vault!
[Riot – Road Racin‘ Live at Monsters of Rock 1980]