The Big Day Out top 10 moments

By Russell Baillie, Scott Kara

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Shihad's Jon Toogood at the Big Day Out in 2005. File photo / Richard Robinson
Shihad's Jon Toogood at the Big Day Out in 2005. File photo / Richard Robinson

Tonight, the final curtain will fall on the last Big Day Out. Herald entertainment team Scott Kara and Russell Baillie, who have attended all of the festivals between them, recall their top 10 moments

1. Shihad

It's impossible to pick one BDO performance by Shihad because they have played so many. Though 2003 was notable for them turning up with post 9/11 moniker Pacifier - to which the crowd chanted "Shihad, Shihad" - and Jon Toogood set the standard for meet'n'greets with the front row with his crowd-surfing antics.

2. Rage Against the Machine

As mass mosh sessions go, they didn't come bigger than US political rap-rockers Rage Against the Machine performing Killing in the Name in 1996 with the line "F*** you, I won't do what you tell me" a popular singalong. When they reunited and returned to the BDO in 2008, it was like they had never been away. Honourable mention for inspiring repeat moshpit madness should also go to The Prodigy.

3. Queens of the Stone Age

Due to technical gremlins, Queens of the Stone Age's set on the main stage in 2003 was a disaster. But never fear, because word got around that Josh Homme and band would play last on the top field later that night. It ended up being the feelgood hit of the festival.

4. Dizzee Rascal

When the lippy Londoner rapper took to the main stage in 2010, the crowd went absolutely bonkers. All around the arena bodies were bouncing and heads banging to his hip-hop-meets-dancefloor set, which ended with his hit Bonkers.

5. Marilyn Manson

Back in 1999, when he still shocked the living daylights out of parents, Marilyn Manson came on stage looking like a giant glam vulture in a featured bodystocking, tore pages from Bibles and croaked some songs - like his amusing hit I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me) as his lightshow flashed up the word "Drugs!" behind him. And to think he very nearly didn't make it when the Rev Graham Capill mounted a campaign to get him banned. Ah, those were the days ...

6. Flaming Lips

Easily the cutest and fluffiest BDO moment ever was Oklahoma psychedelic pop veterans the Flaming Lips' glorious set on the top field in 2004, for which they had invited guests dancing around the stage in cuddly animal suits. The number of people who claim to have been inside the big purple rabbit has grown over the years.

7. Scribe

Not many dudes rolled like Scribe in 2005. After his breakthrough of 2004, he was the first hip-hop star - domestic or imported - to play the main stage and his biggest hits, Not Many and Stand Up, showed that, yes, he could rock a show like this.

8. Straitjacket Fits

The first Auckland Big Day Out in 1994 marked the end for Straitjacket Fits. The country's leading alternative rock guitar band of the preceding years had chanced their arm overseas but found it hard to get themselves heard in a tidal wave of American grunge. They were given a post-Soundgarden closing slot on the main stage and went out in ferocious style.

9. Joe Strummer

The former frontman of The Clash came to the BDO in his solo-with-band guise in 2000 to play the closing slot on the top field, competing with the electro throb of Chemical Brothers in the Boiler Room nearby. But he opened with London Calling, pulled a few more Clash classics out of his songbook, and generally made believers of those who had grown up on the albums of his old band, all over again. Sadly, Strummer died two years later.

10. Neil Young

Neil Young might have been playing rock festivals since Woodstock 40 years earlier, but he still proved the highlight of 2009, showing up many of the younger acts that preceded him with a searing greatest-hits set which ended the day with a brilliant reworking of the Beatles' A Day in the Life. Yes, having a 64-year-old playing a 42-year-old song as a high point may have been a prophetic sign that the festival had outlived its market. But it was just one of many guess-you-had-to-be-there moments the BDOs delivered in abundance.

- NZ Herald

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