Sonisphere 2014 review: Metallica’s amazing finale to Knebworth festival
Metallica brought Sonisphere 2014 to an amazing finale on Sunday night with a stunning – and very loud – headline performance at Knebworth Park.
"We’re already working hard on lining up headliners for 2015 and will make further announcements in due course."
A week after the American metal legends had silenced their Glastonbury critics, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo were on more familiar festival ground at Sonisphere.
French heavyweights Gojira had earlier ushered in the third and final day of the UK’s best rock weekender with the obligatory crowd surfer on an inflatable, while Mastodon wowed the crowds with an incredible main stage performance.
Dream Theater delivered a masterclass in prog rock on the Saturn Stage and worked the crowd into a frenzy in anticipation of the final headliners of the weekend, Metallica.
Fresh from their recent Pyramid Stage performance at Glastonbury, Metallica brought the house down at Knebworth with a set that was almost entirely picked by fans.
Metallica ‘By Request’ invited everyone who had bought a ticket to vote for which songs from the band’s massive catalogue they would like to hear on the night.
Unsurprisingly, the set list featured classic Metallica tracks such as Creeping Death, One, Sad But True, Master of Puppets, Seek & Destroy, Nothing Else Matters and the band’s global smash hit Enter Sandman.
It also included a UK debut performance of the band’s new record Lords of Summer.
More than 50,000 rock and heavy metal fans descended on Knebworth House for the three-day festival, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of music at the legendary outdoor venue.
Friday’s main stage, Apollo, opened in riotous fashion with a slimmed down performance from London metallers The Defiled.
On Sonisphere’s third stage, Bohemia, digital hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot nearly took the roof off with arguably one of the loudest performances of the weekend before Anthrax played to a capacity crowd in the first of two scheduled sets for the band over the weekend.
The legendary New York thrash metal band played their critically acclaimed third album, Among The Living, in full, to a rapturous audience.
Main stage support Limp Bizkit opened their show in style when they invited The Lounge Kittens to join them for opener Rollin’ after the trio impressed Fred Durst with an exclusive performance of their version of the track in Rock Royalty earlier in the day.
The main stage was closed by British crossover heroes The Prodigy, who delighted fans with a set that included all of their biggest hits, including Breathe and Firestarter.
Saturday boasted some exclusive appearances and experiences, including the very first UK performance by Japanese phenomenon Babymetal, with their truly unique style of heavy metal.
Anthrax moved onto Apollo, Sonisphere’s main stage, for their second performance of the weekend, while UK rockers Hundred Reasons played their breakthrough debut album Ideas Above Our Station in full on the Saturn Stage.
As anticipation built for the main attraction, Iron Maiden, the pioneering UK heavy metal band’s lead singer Bruce Dickinson took to the skies in a Fokker Dr1 Triplane as part of a World War One dogfight.
Bruce, along with other pilots from The Great War Display Team, recreated some classic dogfight formations in an awe-inspiring aerial display.
Later that night Iron Maiden brought their epic Maiden England tour to a close with a colossal two-hour headline performance, which saw them power through hits including Can I Play Madness, Run To The Hills and Fear Of The Dark.
Metallica then stole the show on Sunday night.
To see pictures of all three days at Sonisphere 2014, click on the links below.
* For the latest festival news, visit the Welwyn Hatfield Times’ Sonisphere Festival section here.