Jason Newsted needs no introduction. After his well documented split from Metallica he went though various largely unsuccessful musical incarnations. I was largely unaware of his presence at Download but it soon became clear in camp this would be a performance not to miss.
Getting to the Pepsi Max early was a must as we (correctly) predicted the tent would be overflowing with people eager to get a taste of the metal legend. Atmosphere ramped up as we waited for him and the crowd exploded as he and the rest of the band appeared onstage launching straight into the songs from their new EP. What sweet sound it was too, refreshingly old school thrash metal, booming vocals, perfect mix and what was probably the best sounding band of the weekend. After each song he paused and took time to look out on the crowd at the people who was grown up and known his music for years, appearing genuinely moved at the reaction he received and several times chants of 'Jason' were thrown at him.
Whilst the original material was fantastic, particularly ‘Skyscraper’, it was the build up and then the realisation they were playing the 'Die' section of Metallica's Creeping Death that sent the crowd absolutely bonkers. Cue singalong. The groups versatility also shone through as guitarist Jessie Farnsworth and Jason swapped bass and guitar duties with each other without upsetting the rhythm. Truly impressive.
The highlight was saved for the end though, the four piece absolutely nailing a cover of 'Whiplash', Jason claimed they 'Were breathing new life into a classic', and he was spot on. Circle pits in a small tent are certainly a sight to behold and I'd have been right in there with them if I was just a bit younger!
Following the final song of the fantastic half an hour set; chants of 'Thank you Jason' surged though the tent, and with a beaming smile after surveying the scene in front of him stopped and said, 'No matter how happy you are to see me, I'm a million times more happy to see you. So no, thank you'. You're welcome Jason. Come again soon please. (10)