Monsters Of Rock 1983 festival program, August 20th 1983
The Monsters Of Rock festival program has two pages about Dio. The front cover shows three skulls and a snake. The festival was held in Castle Donington, UK. Has a merchandise insert on the center fold.
The book features Whitesnake (Whitesnake headlined, with a ‘Whitenake Commandos’ theme), Meat Loaf, ZZ Top, Twisted Sister, Dio and Diamond Head. 32 pages, 24.5cm*33.5cm.
Tommy Vance (DJ)
Castle Donington Raceway, Derbyshire .UK. August 20th 1983.
The fourth Monsters of Rock festival featured a variable lineup with a solid bedrock of hard rock and heavy blues – represented by Whitesnake and ZZ Top respectively . Twisted Sister, Meat Loaf, Ronnie James Dio’s ( ex Sabbath and Rainbow vocalist ) modestly self named outfit”Dio” and Diamond Head featured some quality players amongst their lineups , as did headliners Whitesnake, who featured ex Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord , skin thumper extraordinaire Cozy Powell and ace bassist Colin Hodgkinson from the semi legendary UK band Back Door. ZZ Top could of course always thoroughly entertain any crowd with their catchy blues/pop and were to be Donington headliners by 1985 on the back of their huge hit album Eliminator.
Twisted Sister were quite entertaining. Singer Dee Snider kept making references to ‘Rock N’ Roll’. ZZ Top were enjoying a bit of a comeback with their new album ‘Eliminator’ and in particular the singles ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’ and sharp Dressed Man’ with their memorable videos.
Mr Loaf was in good voice and still milking the phenomenon that was ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ now five years old and probably still in the charts somewhere. His backing band were competent but largely anonymous, and getting bombarded by anything that the audience could pick up and throw, which was very visibly pissing them off. One memorable moment was when one of the backing singers was hit by a plastic bottle upsetting her sexy stance’. She turned to the direction the projectile came from, shouted some abuse and flicked a finger before returning to the sexy stance’ and carrying on, what a professional…!!
Whitesnake did what was expected of them and with a slightly changed line up from their excellent 1981 appearance including drummer Cozy Powell playing at his second Donington. It was a crowd pleasing set (Love Hunter, Mistreated, Fool For Your Loving etc..) with Powells solo this year including low-flying helicopters as well as Tchaikovsky.
Twisted Sister arrived on stage with the announcement, “This ain’t no muthafuckin’ Tube tv show!”. Dee Snider, looked like a Mae West caricature in neon pink and black. A six foot drag queen, he had the audience in the palm of his hand from the get-go. He had them chanting, with relish, “I’m a sick muthafucka!” and, as tired as it sounds now, it worked a treat at that moment. They put on a great show and sounded really good, The Kids Are Back got everybody involved and I Am, I’m Me was another rapturous moment.
ZZ Top came on stage demurely, dressed in white with Billy Gibbons sporting a rather large stetson and Dusty Hill in a beret. As always, Frank Beard was not bearded nor did he have a big hat but he was wearing shades. All in all though, the group were somewhat understated. They played an absolutely faultless set with no gimmicks and no fuss. The songs were played so well that it could have been the LP played through Donnington’s PA.
From what had been a relatively disappointing year (1982), we now came to a year that I still recall as one of the best days ever topped off by a magnificent version of Mistreated by Whitesnake when Coverdale announced that this would probably be the last time he would ever play this song you just knew it was gonna be something special. In fact the overall Whitesnake performance is still my favourite of all the headlining acts over the years. Here I go again was also brilliant, especially Coverdale’s singing at the start.
Visually the highlight was Cozy Powell’s drum solo, which now incorporated the 633-squadron music as well as the 1812 overture. During the 633-squadron section the festival site was dive-bombed by light aircraft (helicopters I think). There was over £50,000 worth of pyrotechnics used during the Whitesnake set. Magnificent.
But Whitesnake were not the only band on form on the day.
Twisted Sisters Dee Snider probably gave the best introduction to a song ever at Donington This next songs a bit slow for Twisted Sister but its f*****g mean. The song in question was Destroyer from their Under The Blade album.
Apart from Whitesnake, my other favourite band of the day were DIO. The band were playing their very first ever live show (apart from a couple of warm-ups). The soon to be classic album Holy Diver had just been released. Their set included a mixture of songs from this album plus various Rainbow and Black Sabbath classics including Stargazer, Heaven and Hell etc.
On paper an outstanding one day line up. In actuality a bit hit and miss. Hits ZZ Top and Dio. More about Meatloaf later. Diamond Head sounded good from the brief bit of them I saw. The Snakes were too indulgent for me.
I had no idea what to expect from Dio or the ZZ Top, apart from perennial compilation album track tush. They were both excellent. Holy Diver was a brilliant first album and they did it full justice and with a choice selection from his back catalogue Dio were instant premier league. The ZZ Top were just chilled. Turned up, plugged in and off they went into a land all their own. And we were the better for sharing it. The start of a 25 year love affair with the little old band from Texas.
The one “major detail” that your contributors missed was that Whitesnake had two large towers of speakers in the middle of the crowd with lights on them. At one point Jon Lord goes into the Close Encounter of the Third Kind bit and a helicopter moved overhead which was suspending an identical light array. The sound and lights where going around in circles just like in the Close Encounters movie. To this day I say that was the coolest stunt ever performed at a Rock Concert. No doubt about it this was Whitesnake at their peak!
Whitesnakes set was filmed for official release as the bands first ever live video, although it features only a portion of their set.. However, its not likely that any other bands were filmed as no releases , official or boot have emerged that we know of. The BBC seem to have broadcast portions of some sets on FM.
Sean Harris vocals
Brian Tatler guitar
Merv Goldsworthy bass
Josh Phillips-Gorse keyboards
Robbie France drums
Am I Evil?
In The Heat Of The Light
Don’t You Ever Leave Me
Sucking My Love’
Play It Loud’
Stand Up And Shout
Straight Through The Heart
Children Of The Sea
Rainbow In The Dark
Heaven And Hell
Man On The Silver Mountain/Run With The Wolf
Ronnie James Dio vocals
Vivian Campbell guitar
Jimmy Bain bass
Claude Schnell – keyboards
Vinny Appice drums
Bat Out Of Hell
I’m Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us
All Revved Up With No Place To Go
Midnight At The Lost and Found
Two Out Of Three Aint Bad
1. What You Don’t Know
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Shoot ‘Em Down
5. Like A Knife In The Back
6. Ride To Live Live To Ride
7. We’re Gonna Make It
8. You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll
9. I Am I’m Me
10. Its Only Rock N’ Roll
Dee Snider vocals
JJ French guitar
AJ Pero – guitar
Eddie Ojeda bass
Mark Mendoza drums
Twisted Sister quote
” Well, there was that time we were performing at Donnington. I think I dodged an apple or something! That place is known for people just chucking stuff at the bands. They throw stuff at everybody! They threw stuff at Meatloaf, they threw stuff at ZZ Top… anyone who got onstage. There are 40,000 people in the audience and at any given time, 10,000 of them don’t like the band. So they bring extra fruit!”
1) Got Me Under Pressure
2) I’ve Got The Six
3) Gimme All Your Lovin’
4) Waitin’ For The Bus
5) Jesus Just Left Chicago
6) I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
7) Sharp Dressed Man
8) Ten Foot Pole
9) Manic Mechanic
10) Heard It On The X
11) Pearl Necklace
12) Cheap Sunglasses
13) Arrested For Driving While Blind / Hit It Quit It Medley
14) Party On The Patio
15) Tube Steak Boogie
16) La Grange
18) Gimme All Your Lovin’
19) Waitin’ For The Bus
20) Jesus Just Left Chicago
21) Sharp Dressed Man
22) Party On The Patio
23) Tube Steak Boogie
Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues
Rough An’ Ready
Ready An’ Willing
Guilty Of Love
Here I Go Again
Lovehunter – Micky Moody Solo
Mistreated – Soldier Of Fortune
Jon Lord Solo
Cozy Powell Solo
Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
Fool For Your Loving
Thank You Blues
Don’t Break My Heart Again
Wine, Women An’ Song
David Coverdale (Vocals)
Micky Moody (Guitar)
Mel Galley (Guitar)
Colin Hodgkinson (Bass)
Cozy Powell (Drums)
Jon Lord (Keyboards)
Whitesnake Monsters of Rock festival Donington 20th August 1983
Line-up: Whitesnake, Meat Loaf, Z Z Top, Twisted Sister, Dio, Diamond Head. DJ: Tommy Vance.
Aah! The Monsters of Rock festivals. Up early, on with the denim jacket, into the car, pick up my mates, and down the A1 and M1 we went. Three hours or so, and 165 miles (according to AA route planner), later and we joined the metal hordes in the Donington Park Race Circuit. We knew we were there when we saw the Dunlop tyre bridge.
Its funny what I find when I’m constructing these posts. “Chris Evans has bought Donington Park race track’s famous Dunlop bridge. The 30-year-old structure was sold during a racing memorabilia auction, for about £300, in aid of a Leicestershire charity. On his show, Evans said the bridge was a national landmark and appealed for help getting it from the track. Evans joked he was going to put up the bridge, which is over 70 metres (230 ft) in length, in his garden over the top of his neighbour’s house.” [Wonder if he did that 🙂 ] (from BBC News site).
Back to rock. First up in 1983 were Diamond Head. We listened to them while we had a little wander around the site. I will have bought my programme, we’ll have consumed our first burger of the day, and made our first visit to the beer tent [as designated driver, I would be limited to one pint early on in the day 😦 ]. Next was Dio, his operatic vocals drifting over the crowd, and the smell of burgers and beer, and lifting the mood on classics such as “Holy Diver”, “Stargazer”, “Heaven And Hell” and “Man On The Silver Mountain”. Classic.
It was probably about this time that the can fights would start. You had to watch out for them; a can on the back of your head could do some serious damage. Twisted Sister were next. Dee Snider and Co captured the crazy metal mood of the event perfectly and went down well. Dee understood metal and its antics and lapped up crowd reaction, both positive and negative; a few cans or bottles thrown on stage didn’t bother him. After all “You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll”. Next up was Meat Loaf, who didn’t take kindly to the sea of bottles and cans which were thrown at him throughout his set. Nonetheless he played on and treated us to “Bat Out Of Hell”, “I’m Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us”, “All Revved Up With No Place To Go”, “Midnight At The Lost and Found” and “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”. Great stuff. Back to the beer tent, another burger, and a walk around the tyre to stretch our legs, and then meander and squeeze our way as close to the stage as we could safely get. Things were about to get even better.
This was our first exposure to Z Z Top, their beards, and that relentless, often tongue in cheek, Texan rock’n’roll boogie: “Gimme All Your Lovin’”, “Sharp Dressed Man”, “Pearl Necklace”, “Arrested For Driving While Blind”, and set closer “Tush”. Amazing. Two years later they were back as headliners; and rightly so. Another burger, avoid a few more cans and bottles, final visit to the beer tent, and back down front.
The day belonged to Whitesnake. The deserved it, and didn’t let us down one little bit. Whitesnake’s set was recorded; you can find it on YouTube. Mistreated is here (and is a simply awesome performance by Coverdale): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BZprpxhyMk
Coverdale opens the song thus: “We’ve got an old song for you. I think this may be the last time we’ll ever play it [it wasn’t]. Please enjoy it. It features my good friend Mel Galley on guitar”.
Whitesnake setlist: Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues; Rough An’ Ready; Ready An’ Willing; Guilty Of Love; Here I Go Again; Lovehunter; Mistreated; Soldier Of Fortune; Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City; Fool For Your Loving; Thank You Blues; Don’t Break My Heart Again; Wine, Women An’ Song.
In 1983 the ‘Snake were: David Coverdale (lead vocals and 110% rock godliness); Micky Moody (blues guitar); Jon Lord (swirling Hammond); Mel Galley (rock guitar); Colin Hodgkinson (thumping bass); and Cozy Powell (powerhouse drums).
Back in the car. An hour or two to get out of the car park. My mates would fall asleep and snore. I would drive back up a lonely and empty M1 and then the A1. Back home in the early hours. Denim jacket hung up again. Happy happy days