Rock Am Ring, Day Five: A somewhat Limp Biscuit

On day five, the wear and tear of the extended weekend was really starting to show on us. We were in good spirits, but we were cold, dirty, probably smelly and just generally looking a little worse for wear. When we rendez-vouz’ed outside our little camp to get some breakfast, we all sorta agreed that we’d seen better days, especially those of us sporting ages on or around the 30 year marker. Still, as tradition demanded, we had cheeseburgers to eat, beers to drink and jägermeisters to chase said beers with, so our group of five wandered off to our by now pretty frequented bar, ordered a round of burgers, a round of beer and a round of jäger..

Something I immediately regretted doing as said diet didn’t go over well with my stomach at all, but I soldiered on (in an incredibly whining manner and managed to put down both my jäger, beer and about half of my burger, after which I was more than a little happy to learn that we’d be heading back to camp to weather some of the rain (that had, surprise, surprise, started again), drink a few beers and just plain chill before heading off to some late afternoon/early evening shows.. Which apparently turned out to be the perfect cure for what ailed me as I was soon feeling not only a lot brighter and happier, but also a lot better. Apparently what bothered me wasn’t anything that a few beers in good company couldn’t handle.

So when we finally did decide to brave the weather and head on our by now familiar way to the festival grounds, I was actually feeling pretty nice and chippy despite bad weather, cold and what have you which was good because the show we were heading to see were one of those, I’d looked most forward to for all of the weekend; namely the reunion show of a couple German rock legends from my youth, Guano Apes! Said bat-dropping apes naturally played Center Stage, and naturally quite a few people had shown up to see them. We watched the show from pretty far back as Lars Bo really wanted to see Chris Cornell who was playing on Alternastage right afterwards, but still I found it to be a really good show. They played all the crowd-pleasers I’d expected, including “Open Your Eyes”, “Big In Japan” and “Lords Of The Board”.. And they looked generally happy to be back on stage after so many years. Hell, lead singer Sandra Nasic was even seen giggling like a school girl at the crowd reactions to seeing them back 😀

After what can only be described as a way too short set (says the fanboy), we rushed off towards Alternastage to catch whatever we could of Chris Cornell, who delivered a pretty solid set given the odds (crappy weather, small crowd and what sounded like a cold on his behalf). I wasn’t really planning on seeing him in the first place, but in the end I was quite happy I did, not only because Tina once again decided to be a sweetie and buy me beer, but also because he delivered some of my favorite songs of his from throughout his career, namely “Like A Stone” and “Show Me How To Live” (my absolute favorite Audioslave song).. Oh, and did I mention the inevitable encore of Soundgarden’s immortal “Black Hole Sun” which sent worse shivers through me than even the wind could manage.. Like, in a good way! Throw in strange rants about a rainbow that suddenly showed up over one of the sound towers, and you had a pretty good show right there!

And from then on, things got weirder.. At least for me. We headed back to Center Stage to catch the headlining act of the evening, Limp Bizkit, and in the process of lining up got treated to most of the show of emo rock band Billy Talent, a band that I have simply no understanding for and find ridiculously boring and unjustified.. The Germans sure seemed to like them, though, as they’d turned up in hordes to see the show.. And they pretty much stuck around once Billy Talent finally left the stage after performing “Fallen Leaves”.. By this time in the show, it was getting clear that things weren’t quite right on the technical front because the sound that was supposed to be coming from the PA while Bizkit’s roadies scrambled to get set up.. Well, it just wasn’t there.. Which we took as a bit of a sign of possible bad things to come. Even more so when Bizkit’s time slot began and nothing happened.. At all.. For like 15-20 minutes or so..

Right as we were about to lose hope, though, some admittedly funky-sounding intro rang out as Bizkit took stage, hit a single chord or two, and then all fucking hell broke lose as they tore into “My Generation” and the crowd just exploded.. Like, really.. It was nuts! Pits everywhere, moshing in every direction, jumping in unison, thousands of people strong and me stuck in the middle, going “Eh? What?” Now, granted, I shouldn’t be the one to review a Bizkit show in any way as I’m heavily biased by my strong dislike for the band. But know what, just watching the crowd pretty much made it all worth it. The sound was absolutely shitty (again, I really think they blew out parts of the PA), I knew all of four songs or so (one of which, Behind Blue Eyes, I’ve gone on record as calling the worst insult to music history, but that’s another story) and most of the time had no idea what was up or down.. But the crowd, for most of the show, were an absolute riot to watch. You had circle pits breaking out on either side of you every seventh odd second or so, Tina and I even managed to pull a scared, little girl out of one before all hell broke lose, and I almost managed to get shoved into another on another occasion.. Crowd surfers were more frequent than I’ve ever seen, what with the record being five passing over us within a minute, one of them wearing a squirrel suit! It was a surreal experience, and even I had to give in and jump along and clap along a little on the last encore.. Too bad about the sound, though, I felt really bad for the rest of the guys because they’d really been looking forward to the show, but I think all things considered they made the best of it. If nothing else, we got to jump, mosh and move around a lot. By the time the lights came on and we started moving towards the exits, we actually discovered that just within the first song or two, we’d moved something like 20 meters backwards and at least a couple to the side.. Crazy!

For us, Bizkit was the definitively last band of the festival and as Tina, Dunkel and I were heading out rather early the next morning, we decided to call it an early night and head back to our tent for one last beer with our new friends before saying goodnight, see ya and all that jazz. Of course, things weren’t all that simple. First and foremost there was the matter of getting back to our base camp which we knew from the days before would be somewhat of a struggle. A struggle that wasn’t made easier seeing as our new friends, who were both smokers, had run out of smokes and needed to find some before we could get down to business – i.e. get beers, have a drink and pass out.

Finding smokes in Germany after midnight on a Sunday night is hard enough as it is, it’s not made any easier by the fact that you need a valid German ID to purchase them.. But with the cunning use of our diplomatic skills, some drunk Germans and a lot of good will, we eventually succeeded and decided to celebrate by buying a couple of canned beers each which we ended up taking back to our tent where we chilled for a while, talking, going over our experiences and evaluating a bit on the whole thing. Of course, we never really made it to bed early. As a matter of fact, I don’t think we said our goodbyes until shortly before 3 AM which left Tina, Dunkel and i all of three hours to sleep in before getting up at 6 AM to catch a bus back to civilization and start our long journey home.

’twas all good, though. We’d made some cool new friends and I was all in favor of saying our proper goodbyes (or see you laters as it were) with them before going our separate ways. Sleeping, as on all other nights of the festival, would have to come later.. Or in my case, much later.. As I’m reasonably sure I didn’t manage to catch any of said sleep before well after 5 AM..


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