Live Review: Stone Music Festival: Day One - ANZ Stadium (20.04.13)

The first day of Stone Music Festival was such a mixed bag, that's it hard to even now where to start the review. It didn't feel like it all happened in one day, and it never flowed like a music festival. There was only one main stage that was often left bare for 30-50 minutes while the next band set up, and the independent music stage was in the middle of nowhere and left with no crowd at all. But alas, this is about the music, so let's begin...

The Superjesus opened the show to an almost empty arena after a scheduling screw up knocked them off the time table completely. But Sarah and the band still delivered like they were playing to warm full house instead of the freezing barren stadium they found themselves in. Richie Ramone delivered exactly what I expected, which was imperfect, but fun pop/punk, which thankfully got the cold bodies moving a bit more and the heat starting to flow through the frozen stadium.

Buckcherry were up next, with one of the weirdest spots of the day. These guys are a big heavy rock band who can tear down almost any arena. But even the magic of Josh Todd can't turn a tiny comatose and frozen rock festival crowd in to a giant rock army at 1.45pm in the afternoon, but he did get pretty close.

Having to follow Buckcherry certainly had an impact on Noiseworks, who lost a lot of their younger crowd to the bar and smoking area's. While the older part of the crowd started working their way to what should have been a mosh pit but ended up just being a bunch of people standing around trying not to bump in to each other.

The Living End pulled out the kind of killer set they are known for, playing all their classics, including "Prisoner of Society" to get the crowd rocking and people starting to file back in again.

The super group to end all super groups, Kings of Chaos, were up next, and the fact most of the people there didn't realise who they were says a lot about the publicity for this event. We got half of Guns n Roses on stage with Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, Joe Elliot of Def Leppard, Glen Hughes (of fucking everybody) and Stevie Stevens from Billy Idol's band, for what was simply one of the best shows of the day. From the moment they opened with "Welcome to the Jungle" and explained who they were, they had the crowd in their hand, and there we stayed for the entire set, as we watched the three vocalists tackle songs like "pour some sugar on me" and "Rebel Yell" before finishing with a rendition of Paradise City that got the whole crowd screaming.

Another scheduling screw up saw Jimmy Barnes take to the stage after Kings of Chaos and as great as he is, his show just didn't have the same intensity as the Kings. And by the time he got on to the Cold Chisel songs that everyone actually wanted to hear he'd already lost most of his crowd.

Next up was a massive break on the main stage as the set up for Aerosmith began, but holy fucking hell was it worth waiting for. Every movement and every song Aerosmith played was mind blowing, to the point that you never wanted it to end. Even the set list was perfect with "Love in an Elevator", "Jaded", "Crying", "Livin' on the Edge", "Rag Doll", "I don't want to miss a thing", "Walk this way" and "Dude (looks like a lady)" all getting played. Along with "Oh Yeah" which the band dedicated to the people affected by the Boston Bombing and an encore performance of "Dream On" and "Sweet Emotion", with Tyler on the piano complete with Perry on top.

The entire show was performed with such intensity and perfection that you could be one meter or one hundred meters away and still have the same kind of experience. Showing Steven Tyler to be the ultimate performer, with every single move he makes oozing cool and sex appeal and every sound he makes sending shivers down the spine.

The next break was even longer and lacked the same results, with Van Halen (pictured above) just not living up to the hype. The bass was so loud you could barley hear the rest of the band and Roth's vocals sounded like that strangled cat you always hear about. It was like watching a group of guys all standing in their own little world playing different versions of the same song.

There were weird Latin techno beats that just didn't belong anywhere near their music, a cover of "Pretty Woman" that made the previously mentioned cat sound great and a cover of "You Really Got Me" which brought even more strangled cats in to the equation. They played some classics, but a constant stream of people leaving not just their mosh pit but the entire festival can give you an indication of how well they went down. Sure the guitar and drum solos were as amazing as expected, but they just weren't worth the pain you had to go through to get there.

There are a million more things I could say, but what Stone Festival has gone to prove is that there is an awful lot more to organising a festival than producing a great lineup.