This week we focus on those missed opportunities and those stupid decisions that we all regret as we run down our Top 5 Reading Regrets.
5. Not seeing Reel Big Fish in 2006 on the Lock Up stage
I wasn’t really into Reel Big Fish back in 2006 so didn’t go and see them perform, but considering how much I like them now, and the amount of bands I’ve seen on the Lock Up Stage over the years, I cant help but feel like I missed out on one of those sets that I would’ve remembered forever. I’ve Still yet to see them live as well.
4. Not going to Reading 2005
My first Reading was 2006 and I haven’t missed one since so that’s 5 in a row. I can’t help but look back to the line up the year before I started going, and I’m gutted I didn’t start a year earlier. Pixies are one of my favourite bands and top of my want to see list so seeing them at Reading Festival would be pretty special to me, on top that I’d have loved seeing Incubus who performed further down the bill. I then look at the headliners for the other two nights and its Iron Maiden and Foo Fighters. For me personally I don’t think there will ever be a better set of headliners.
3. Living on festival food all weekend
Cant remember exactly whether it was 08 or 09 but I made the mistake of not bringing any food with me and was too lazy to go down to the shop to pick anything up. This meant 5 days of eating pretty much nothing but food from the vans on site, which left me with a pretty nasty stomach for a few days after getting home from the festival. A mistake I would urge others not to repeat.
2. Watching Brand New at Reading 2009
Went to check out Brand New performing on the Main Stage in 2009 and although I’m not their biggest fan I quite enjoy a few of their songs. Not only did I have to endure one of the most boring sets I will ever see at the festival but they didn’t even play any of the 3 songs that I knew really well.
1. Missing NOFX secret set at Reading 2010
So back in 2010 along with their excellent Main Stage set NOFX played one of those secret sets that everybody knows about on the Lock Up Stage. Included in this set was a full-length version of “The Decline”. What’s the bad part? Well I completely forgot about it, not only that but I was back at camp killing time because I didn’t think there was anything on that I wanted to see.
Now, I know this sounds disgusting but let’s face it, not many people shower over the weekend. I guess we all get used to each other’s smell so it’s not so bad right? Wrong. The whole weekend, I’m walking around with smelly, greasy hair. I know it’s the wholepoint of camping and the relief of showers when you get home, but I realise it makes me conscious of how bad I really smell. Not to mention some festival goers unquestionable odour. From now on, I’m going to aim to have at least one shower over the weekend.
So at my first Reading (2009), one of the main stage bands was Deftones. Now, I try and give all bands a listen before I get to a festival to see if they’re worth checking out. I’ve never really been able to get into Deftones’ music so I gave them a miss.
I then watched them at Download ’10 not really knowing their stuff – all to get to the front for Rage Against the Machine as they were playing straight after. After being almost forced to watch them, I thought they were fantastic. It made me wonder what I missed in ’09 and I realised I’d made a huge mistake not seeing them when I had theopportunity to at Reading.
Rain, a lot of it last year. Not checking that the tent was waterproof was a bad idea. Okay so you’d expect a £65 tent to be spacious, stable and most importantly, waterproof. I’m pretty sure it was meant to be waterproof but at Reading last year we discovered that it really wasn’t.
It was brand new so there couldn’t possibly be anythingwrong with it… yeah. It leaked, quite a lot in fact. There was no escaping either as it was coming from the top, in the middle. So kids, please make you sure you buy a completely waterproof tent. You’d be crazy not to.
2. Plastic bags
So as we all know last year, the Reading and Leeds weekend was awful for weather the entire time (apart from the couple of hours of sunshine). When I arrived on the Wednesday, it was raining – no surprise. I really should’ve anticipated the weather and wrapped everything in my back pack in a plastic bag so the water couldn’t leak through and ruin everything in my bag – but I didn’t do that. I had wet clothes the entire weekend, including spare clothes made worse by the lack of sunshine. Oops.
1. Guns N’ Roses
Anyone who went to Reading last year would know that these guys turned up 90 minutes late. What a way for an opening headliner to make an appearance right? This band are notorious for turning up late, yet like a naïve fool, I waited. And waited. And waited… Even when they showed up on stage, they were nothing special.
Axl Rose’s voice was croaky, he didn’t look like he wasn’t enjoying it and I felt like he wasn’t even trying. He never even apologised for making eager fans wait an hour and a half. In fact, his ‘backing band’ were better than him.
5. Missing The Raconteurs to see Justice.
I don’t even like Justice, never have, never will. The only logical reason I can think of for being in that NME tent during their set is because I watched Foals before hand, otherwise I literally have no idea. I don’t even like them; I missed Jack White for Justice. Was it raining?
Honestly this really digs a whole in my head. It picks at me, year out and year in.
4. Helping out a drunk man
Never help out drunk man, its a ploy to get you and your female friends to go take him ‘home’ when in fact it was more of a ‘plan to get laid’ he brought us back to his ‘Virginal like almost nerdy friends’. For someone so drunk, unable to move he sure got up fast, when we said ‘we will take you back your tent’ after a very uncomfortable amount of time with his friends (who clearly have never been in the company of girls before) we ran away.
Maybe I should regret being naïve in situations like this. I was young, if that happened now, actually that would not happen; I would show them London screw face, move away.
3. Getting peed on
I don’t actually mean I got peed on, but someone had decided in 2009, to walk through Yellow with his penis out weeing on peoples tent, mine included in the very early morning.
If you are thinking why is this regret? I wish I hit the tent back in his drunken face instead I laid there, giggling to myself, completely out of it, I regret not telling this lousy drunk man to shoot his penis in another direction.
When I woke up, it seemed he had decided to walk and wee throughout a few tents. Nice.
Can I just point out; this was the dry year of Reading, dust everywhere. That smell of wee was not the best of smells; it was horrific in that dry atmosphere.
Did I take the tent home? No, the tent was not even mine.
Did he take it home? No.
Oh this is the same year, I was left by the tents by myself, when a group of lads decided to try steal my friends camping chairs because ‘she’s fucked, take them’.
Well I soon showed them my bony finger.
2009 seemed to be the year people gave no care to others around them. My friend also had wellies stolen from him while he slept, would have been hilarious but they where stolen from the tent. Who steals wellies? Can I blame this group of thieves on KOL and La Roux playing that year?
2. Watching Kings Of Leon 2009
Let me just get this clear, when I saw KOL play Reading in 2007, I was amazed. I knew there and then that KOL would be big, huge even. I never realized how big.
I would actually put that performance as one of my Reading favourites.
Fast forward 2 years, after headlining Glastonbury festival with that deadly Sex song, KOL didn’t impress me. I just went along to laugh and scream ‘your wife is for hire’ much to the annoyance of the crowd around me, who just waited for that song, then moved on. I did enjoy hearing older songs like ‘Bucket’ and ‘Red Light…’ it’s shame, all we could hear was “play a song we know” what? “Sex On Fire” and “Use Somebody”?
Its a shame, I really thought KOL where going to stay as a big underground band like Arcade Fire, who have the record sales to back up how big The Suburbs was; Brits and Grammy award came their way, yet no one really knows, who they are.
1. Watching Metallica over The Kills.
Looking back to 2008, I was a fool. Why the hell would I missed one my favourite bands to watch Metallica? I never even liked them. Only recently have I steadied myself to listen to them.
From where I was standing (left stage of the stage, right by the speakers) I could have gone deaf, they where loud and mean. Not a single person around me was moshing, I saw no pits, no mad men jumping on innocent people shouting ‘METALZ’. At least if I had something to look at I may have enjoyed it, instead I got a little girl in a flowered tea dress, faking to her boyfriend perhaps that she was well into the loud noise coming from the stage, her body language said otherwise.
I wish I saw The Kills, they would have been quiet, charming and sexual. It would have been the perfect end to Reading Festival 2009, I wouldn’t have gone home crying ear rape otherwise.
My Biggest Reading regret.
5. Not Getting A Saturday Ticket for Reading 2004
2004 was my first Reading and it took me and my friends the best part of two months to decide that we wanted to go (huh remember when the festival didn’t sell out instantly, that’ll never happ…oh). Anyway, by the time we decided the Saturday had sold out and we settled for Friday and Sunday tickets. We had a great time but I missed Morrissey’s legendary return, The White Stripes headlining, the epic Libertines-minus Pete performance, Franz Ferdinand one of my favourite acts ascent to dominance, to name but a few big regrets. I can’t complain, I wouldn’t have gone by myself back then, but it’s still a huge regret.
4. Not going prior to 2004
This was a big blow, I’d tried twice to get tickets in 2000 and 2002 but I was so unaware of how Reading and the big festivals worked that I didn’t realized that these things actually sold out so quickly. So that meant I never got to see The Strokes and Pulp back to back (hang on a minute!) or System and Metallica and Blur and The White Stripes conquering the main stage. Silly me.
3. Watching Marilyn Manson instead of M.I.A
This was a terrible decision for two reasons. Firstly Manson was awful. He wasn’t at his lowest ebb yet but the wheels were clearly starting to come loose. It was sunny and his shock rock just look cringe inducing, but that could be overcome by a good performance but this was anything but. Manson decided to let fans sing along with every other syllable, in a weird ritual that involved him randomly pulling the microphone away from his mouth: “we’re …posa… ..eeens… ‘re…dis….ble….eens” oh yeah great thanks.
The other big regret is that I missed M.I.A. starting a streak of near misses, where something somehow gets in the way of me seeing her. This was the most frustrating however, as I consciously chose not to watch her, and this was at her absolutely zenith as a live act. A raw, grimey, computer punk, snotty and all over the place, she’s go on to write brilliant albums and bigger tunes but the madcap energy, and that sense of adventure at seeing something genuinely new that existed in 2005 simply cannot be replicated.
2. Not going to see Radiohead in 2009
Let me make one thing clear, I do not regret skipping 2009. This isn’t a knock on the bands, in fact I really liked the look of that year’s line up, I was simply fed up of Reading. 2007 and 2008 were overwhelming with a series of dickheads, bad festival management and a horribly layout leaving me and my friends sick, frustrated and in need of a break.
I felt too old for the festival, but not too old for Radiohead. They are one of my all time favourite bands, one of my family’s too in fact. So while I ground my teeth at the prospect of missing out on what was a truly mesmeric performance, I went to visit my mum and watched their fantastic performance on BBC Three with the family. I’d love to have been there in person, so I do regret not seeing Radiohead, but I don’t regret taking that year off, I needed it, and now I’m back.
1. Not Seeing LCD Soundsystem in favour of Guns And Roses and Incubus
This is by far and away my biggest regret. I love LCD Soundsystem, they are my favourite band of all time, and I chose to humour my friend (a G’n’R fanatic) and missed one of their final ever performances. This pains me so much, not because I regret seeing Guns (I wanted to see them) but because in the hour and a half I waited for Axl I could have watched almost all of LCD and snuck back into the crowd to see Guns. It was a stupid decision that I hugely regret, moreso than not flying to NYC to see their farewell shows, because I was actually at this show, I had the tickets and I chose not to go…argh.
Seeing Incubus instead is less of a regret, my friends wanted to see Incubus and even though I’m not a fan, it is nice to compromise and have fun with your friends sometimes. The regret part, is more that I never got to see LCD on their first album run, when they were raw and still finding their feet as a touring entity. It would have been a unique and intriguing experience.
Still at least I got to say my final goodbye to LCD and James Murphy at Alexandra Palace last year at a truly magnificent gig.