Favourite Big Day Out memories

By Megan Gibb, Joanna Hunkin, Scott Kara, Alan Perrott, Rebecca Barry Hill, Russell Baillie

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Preparing for tomorrow's Big Day Out at Mt Smart Stadium, got us reminiscing. We cast our minds back to our favourite memories of Big Day Out's past:

Megan Gibb - Online entertainment editor

Where do I start? I have so many fantastic BDO memories, most of them relate to the kind of music that sends many fans covering their ears at the wailing guitars, thunderous bass and screaming/shouting of the (usually menacing) singers. Yep, I'm talking about the metal/hard rock/hardcore genre. But that's why I love the BDO, the organisers always throw a few gems in there for those of us who like our music a little harder.

So if I have to pick one, I'd have to say seeing Metallica entice a stadium full of attendees to throw their fists in the air at a packed BDO in 2004, was the moment I enjoyed the most. Enhanced by getting to meet singer James Hetfield (a hero of my younger years) earlier in the day, seeing them play a set full of oldies rounded out a highly enjoyable day.

Other highlights over the seven BDO's I've been to include Hatebreed's mosh inducing set (2005), Courtney Love's knicker-flashing set with Hole (1995), Rancid's little seen Boiler Room performance (1996), Jane's Addiction, who (despite purists saying they never should have re-formed) I absolutely loved (2003), String bean Iggy Pop writhing all over the stage (2006), Wolfmother's rocking performance on one of the smaller stages (2006) and Queens of the Stone Age's second appearance of the day on a smaller stage, after the sound went kaput on their earlier main-stage performance (2003).

Joanna Hunkin - Online entertainment reporter

It was the Big Day Out to end all Big Day Outs. The Strokes, Metallica, Kings of Leon, The Darkness, Mars Volta, Muse, The Dandy Warhols, Basement Jaxx... I still salivate just thinking about it. The crowds were huge but the vibe was good, everyone high on the rollicking rhythms emanating from every corner of Ericsson Stadium. While Julian Casablanca's drunkenly belligerent performance stole the show (and my heart), there wasn't a bad act to be seen anywhere. The stellar line up delivered a day of life-affirming, music magic that I, for one, will never forget.

Russell Baillie - Entertainment Editor

Having gone to all the Big Day Outs bar one, they have tended to blend into one in my increasingly unreliable memory banks.

Maybe it's because they are such ADD-friendly events - and because usually I've had one eye on my watch for looming review deadlines - but BDOs don't leave much of a lasting impression.

It's easy to be be wowed on the day. But because it's about so much more than one act, they rarely inspired the sort of emotional involvement which can lodge itself in that part of the brain where recollections of great gigs are stored. However, my most treasured memory of the Big Day Out was 2000, the year the late Joe Strummer played. The Clash were very big in my young life. I can almost recite the tracklisting of double album London's Calling and triple Sandinista and the price I paid for them in Woolworths in Whangarei.

With that hero worship came a certain amount of comedy - we had jacked up a phone interview with the man weeks out from the event. But my calls never found him. For weeks this went on, but a combination of time differences, Joe's tour commitments and I suspect a certain flakiness on his part meant he was never where he was meant to be when we did our London calling.

But one morning my and one late night his, there was Mr Strummer at home, happy to talk despite being interrupted from sorting through his reggae record collection for a BBC radio show he had that week. I wanted to jump the phone line and hug him. We talked for the best part of an hour and the story turned out okay too.

Then came the day of the Big Day Out and Strummer was playing the finale set on one of the smaller stages about the time I was meant to be filing the last review for the day.

I poked my head out the window of the media room at Mt Smart, heard London's Calling come blasting across the way, quickly noted this magnificent moment in rock history, filed the review, logged off, and sprinted to the stage and wondered why only a few hundred of us were there to pay our respects and generally adopt the we're-not-worthy position every time he and young backing band The Mescaleros cracked open another old Clash number. It was because the bloody Chemical Brothers were on in the tent at the same time. Well, dance music was big back then...

But Strummer was in fine form. Even the boys in blue thought so - I remember seeing a line-up of police at the back of the small throng tapping their hobnails to Police and Thieves.

Tired from the long day, I flopped down on the grass and cheered myself silly. He even did requests but was possibly confused by the heckle "track 4 side four of Sandnista please Joe" though I might be making that up. Otherwise, it was the perfect nostalgia righteously rock'n'roll end to another messy day.

And that Strummer went before his time just two years later makes the memory of his BDO performance that much more precious.

Scott Kara - Entertainment writer

My first favourite Big Day Out memory happened the night before the 1995 festival at the Powerstation in Mt Eden Rd when US industrial band Ministry played a warm up gig. My friend and I were fans from way back and showed our devotion by hanging off the balcony throwing incessant one-fingered salutes. Hey, I was young and reckless, and besides, big Al Jourgenson, the band's front man, was doing the same thing back to us. He was loving it and the gig was a great start to the day long party that is the Big Day Out.

Then, in 1999, I will always remember the heaving mass that Brazilian metal legend, Max Cavalera, and his band Soulfly created during their 2pm slot. With the opening war cry of "Welcome to the Third World" Cavalera and his cronies had us slamming. It surely must remain the biggest mosh pit that early in the day.

In 2003 Queens of the Stone Age had a shocker thanks to bad sound on the main stage in the afternoon but it all turned out for the best when they played a searingly loud, yet intimate set on the top stage to bring the BDO to a close. After that late night performance they became my favourite band for a couple of years.

And last but not least, Shihad are always a highlight, especially on that rare ocassion they play Screwtop from debut album Churn. They will be sadly missed this year. But get in there and go hard anyway.

Alan Perrott - Canvas writer

Big Day Out highlights you say?

It's hard to point a finger at the 'best' BDO, mashed line-ups representing all corners of the record store has meant each is a guaranteed case of hits and misses, so it's probably more a case of best moments.

Easily my most memorable was the day Jesus Lizard's angry racket enduced a deluge of Noah-like proportions. One minute they were shouting at a scowling crowd of leaping punters, the next they were looking out at an empty field rapidly sinking under a solid sheet of rain - that was our Glastonbury - well, that is until someone had a eureka moment, ripped up an advertising hoarding, lifted it high and marched back out to mosh. Within minutes every hoarding was in the air, creating an adhoc ceiling that'd've been the envy of any leaky building home owner. So the rain just went on doing what the rain does best until Nick Cave appeared and the sun returned. And damn right too.

Then there's the first BDO and the bliss that was Urge Overkill in dapper suits showing a post-Sweetwaters generation the joy of rock with the sun on it's back. Or walking away from the Chemical Brothers' electro-karaoke in a tent to hear the opening chords of London Calling, then dashing to catch dearly-departed Joe Strummer strut through a Clash best-of as the moon rose over the stage. Unbeatable. Or Kraftwerk...or Tism...or Straitjacket Fits last gig...or the Stooges...or Ministry...or, well, heaps of other bands I've forgotten. And to think I won't be there tomorrow. That just ain't right.

Shandelle Battersby - TimeOut sub-editor

Probably my stand-out Big Day Out experience was seeing Roni Size in 1999. I'd never really been into electronic music and got dragged into the smelly old Supertop by my flatmate. The feeing of a big, up-for-it crowd all surging and dancing to some really fun drum'n'bass was an eye-opener and had a definite impact on my musical tastes.

Other memorable moments include: Shonen Knife (1997), Jurassic 5 (2002), the Hives (2005), Wolfmother (2006), and the Magic Numbers (2006). Oh, and every Shihad appearance...

Rebecca Barry - Entertainment writer

I still remember my parents' shock when I told them I was off to the Big Day Out to see Porno for Pyros in '96. I can't remember much else but don't get the wrong idea. I was having a ball in the Prodigy mosh; it was heaving so hard my feet would leave the ground even though I wasn't jumping. Then a crowd-surfer fell heavily on me, I got concussed and I have no idea if the rest was good or not.

Thankfully I had another chance to see Perry Farrell when Jane's Addiction played in 2003, (before Dave Navarro revealed himself to be an idiot). They were brilliant.

The previous year I fell in love with a red-and-white-dressed duo called the White Stripes, who played on one of the smaller stages. Shame they never amounted to anything.

But if I had to choose a favourite Big Day Out it would be 2000, a scorcher weather-wise, which I attended with a group of great mates (and we didn't even have cellphones, kids). We didn't stop all day: Nine Inch Nails, Shihad, Goldie, the Chilis, then off to the Boiler Room for the Chemical Brothers. 2004 was another great line-up that made the day fly by and whaddya know, Perry's jumpsuit was reincarnated by the Darkness' Justin Hawkins. More good memories include Supergrass, ('97), Roni Size, ('99), Rammstein ('01), Peaches, ('04), and the Living End and the Greenhornes last year.

* Review the Big Day Out for us! On the day, send your pxts and reviews to 021 YRNEWS (021 976 397) or bdopix@nzherald.co.nz and we will run a selection of them online.

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