Monsters Of Rock .Castle Donington 1991. (2023)

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Created Oct 2013.

Monsters Of Rock .Castle Donington 1991. (1)

So even though it was the beginning of a new decade ,unlike the Reading festival, which had moved in new directions there wasn't a great deal of change in the musical philosophy regarding lineups at Donington.

One of the main reasons that Donington continued to thrive by focussing on heavy rock, whilst Reading had foundered , was due to the fact that they featured the BIG acts, whereas reading had mostly booked more mid range acts . AC/DC vs Alice Cooper , Hawkwind vs Aerosmith etc. A one day festival was a better bet in this era, a big name act featured in a one day concert was more profitable than a clutch of middle ranking bands spread over three days.

Back to Donington 1991 .This lineup was strong and proven . It was third time round for both AC/DC and Metallica. The lads from the USA hadn't quite eclipsed Acca Dacca, but they had worked their way up the bill over the years and were on their way to headlining in their own right ( which they finally achieved in 1995 ).

The support bands were a mixed bag. The Black Crowes are a favourite of the Archive, a great live band with a charismatic Paul Rogers like frontman and a pair of gifted guitarists who can jam out with the best of them. They write their own songs, which are generally pretty good and they also play some good uns from other bands. Apparently they went down very well and won a lot of friends at Donington.

Motley Crue delivered a high energy , visually exciting if rather predictable set and were perfect fodder to support the major bands at stadium shows such as Donington. They might overstay their welcome if you went to see them play a two hour set but in this setting they were fine. Footage indicates that they also were a good choice as the fans were stoked by their performance.

Queensryche were a bit less of an obvious choice, standing out like a sore thumb in this lineup. Although they were at the height of their success at this time, their sound was more MOR , less hard rock than the other support bands . If we'd have been there and had been forced to throw something filled with urine at one of the bands , then this would have been the one we would have chosen on the day.........

Those of you who were hoping that there were still piss wars going on in the crowd would not have been disappointed. As one of our photos below shows, despite the organisers banning bottles and cans, objects were still ricocheting off the craniums of those unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of a 2 litre plastic water container filled with warm smelly urine.

Donington 1991 was my firstfestival. I was 17 and travelled up from Cardiffwith my girlfriend. We bought our ticket and coach combo from Spillers Records. I remember we almost missed the coach because my girlfriend's mum was giving us a lift into town and they both overslept!I remember being in awe of the festival site, especially theDunlop bridge (which is now

dismantledin Chris Evans' garage, did you know?!), after seeing it on TV for years in shows like 'More Bad News' and 'Arena: Heavy Metal'. I was there for Metallica but enjoyed all the acts. I had a few ofThe Black Crowes' singles so nodded along to them from a distance. The singer at one point said, "The Black Crowes are here to let you know that we aren't afraid to let our fuckin' hair down".

Queensryche were the only band on the day for which I hadn't heard any of their music, although I was aware of the success of their 'Operation: Mindcrime' album. I know they were good, although the only thing I remember clearly is them walking on and the guitarist looking up and acting surprised to see the crowd.

I loved Motley Crue's 'Dr Feelgood' album, and this set found them at the tail end of that tour, and prior to the release a few months later of 'Decade of Decadence 81-91'. Tommy Lee came on first, moshing across the stage before climbing behind his drumkit. They started with 'Kickstart My Heart' which was great. Their cover of 'Anarchy in the UK' was well received at the end.

I edged my way as close to the stage as possible for Metallica, and got to about 10 rows back. I think I spent their whole set wide-eyed and jaw on the floor. They were about to go into orbit following the success of 'The Black Album', which had only been released the previous Monday! They were just incredible. When they finished, James and (I think) Jason came back out and sat on the edge of the stage with beers, chatting and appreciating the warm evening and setting sun.

I was knackered by the time Angus Young doffed his cap to the crowdand started playing 'Thunderstruck'. We made our way towards the back where it wasn't so crushed and let AC/DC entertain us. I thought at the time they had been around forever. I certainly didn't think they'd still be filling stadiums 25 years later! Angus doing a striptease was really funny, and the props they had like the inflatable Rosie and the bell were good fun.

During 'Moneytalks' they poured loads of fake AC/DC dollars into the crowd from the stage and the sound rig. I remember thinking, "I should reallymake an effort to go down and get some of that", but I was too knackered to fight my way through the wall of metallers. Then at the end, the cannons going off for the finale of 'For Those About to Rock' was a great touch, really effective.

When we eventually found our coach just before it left at 11:30pm, it took over an hour justto get out of the coach park! I alsowent to Donington in '94 and '95, but '91 felt like I just got in beforethe classic era of metal came to an end.

Ryan Heeger

Monsters Of Rock .Castle Donington 1991. (2)

This was sent to us many moons ago before we had a page on this show, but to whoever it was who sent it , we offer thanks !

Monsters Of Rock .Castle Donington 1991. (3)

worked for ACDC and Metallica at this show. I took the backstage set list home with me 30 years ago. I’m pretty sure this is the only one left in existence.

Carl Gibbs

Not only my first Donington but my first concert. I was 17 and had gone down on the coach from Lancashire with 4 mates. The day was nice and sunny and we settled near the front early while everyone was sat on the grass. Before the Black Cowes came on, two of my mates had decided to fight their way to the front, the other two had started a game of bopping Hell's Angels with empty beer bottles then ducking into the crowd. For self preservation, I decided to go my own way. Not a bad idea as everyone I talked to were really friendly. Amazing people all around.

The Black Cowes were mediocre except for Hard to Handle. 72000 people singing that in unison was awesome!

Queensryche nailed it. Geoff Tate's vocals were amazing and Best I Can was a highlight for me. Then came Motley Crue. Played OK but Vince Niel prancing up and down the stage saying shit like "I can't believe we're playing f##king Donington man" really got on my nerves. I used to like some of their stuff but I can't remember what they played.

Metallica were the band I was there for. They were spot on. Started their set with the recently released Enter Sandman and played an awesome set including my highlights of For Whom the Bell Tolls and Am I Evil. Finally, twighlight fell and a cloud of smoke had a strobe light flashing through it to emulate thunder. AC/DC arrived on stage playing Thunderstruck. Amazing show. Things that stuck out for me were the 20ft inflatable Rosie, Heatseeker, the whole crowd bouncing to Hell Aint a Bad Place to Be, and the 21 gun salute from the canons atop the stage scaffolding.

During the day, I had become a little concerned that in my excitement to get into my first ever crowd, I hadn't really paid much attention to where the coach was. My mates would know anyway. Ah, crap! I said a prayer but after 10 hours of throwing devil horns, thought that would be pushing my luck too. Miraculously, as I sat on the track wall at the tail end of AC/DC's set, I spotted my Biker bopping idiot mates. And that completed my perfect introduction to live metal...

Barry Grimes

was stationed at RAF Bentwaters from 1990-1992 and this was my first music festival. I had been a fan of Metallica since 1986 so seeing my Rock God's in the flesh was a beautiful nightmare. I had a great time!

Kaci Frantella

This was my second Donington (I went the year before as well) and the line-up was amazing, with Metallica and Motley Crue being my favourite acts (yes, I loved both trashy glam rock and thrash!). My recollection of Metallica was slightly hampered by the fact that I had consumed the best part of a box of wine by the time they came on stage, but I do remember the bottles flying through the air during their set (thankfully I was too drunk to care what was inside them). Sadly, I have no photos of that day—although it’s probably a good job I didn’t take a camera… it would have got broken or lost in the mosh.

Brett Harrison

couple of memories for you from a few lads who came down from Sheffield Uni for the day.

Someone inside was giving out free vinyl of some new act. Once the piss started flying the records also started flying and you’d rather take a plastic of piss to the head than a 12” lodged in your head !

During AC/DC they blew AC/DC dollar notes out of the canons over the crowd. A great souvenir and they also put them in the live double CD

Steve Jackson

Recordings and setlists.

The whole show was probably pro recorded but only AC/DC's set was released officially, audience recordings , either video or audio exist of all the sets, (no less than five separate sources for Metallica for instance ) but we have yet to come across the Black Crowes on video . The stiil below is taken from the free concert in Moscow from the same tour.

Can we get a witness ?

We need more info on this and the other Donington festivals, most especially more photos and personal recollections so c'mon head bangers, get yer photos out and fire up what's left of the aging brain cells .Send your recollections and scans to us NOW ! !! Contact us

Monsters Of Rock .Castle Donington 1991. (4)

















Watch this space for more Monsters of Rock pages to be added in the next month or two - we will eventually go up till 1996, meanwhile if you have material from any years up to 1996 , send it along and we will add it as we build the pages.

Free festivals of the 70s and 80s

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