Welcome to the Dust Bowl. Melbourne is under Stage Four water restrictions due to drought. The drought here is even worse than the one back home in Raleigh. The show site is basically a giant dust bowl. As soon as Rage hit the stage, the moshing created a blinding cloud of dust and dirt that didn't let up until well after the show. I had to leave the stage after the second or third song because I couldn't breathe. How those guys finished the show I'll never know. The singer, Zack, must have been choking on that stuff.
Also, when the band started playing, the entire stage started shaking violently. I was standing next to Spragoo, the monitor engineer, at his console on stage left. It was unbelievable how much movement there was – it was like an earthquake. Spragoo told me to go find the 100 dumbasses who were jumping in unison somewhere onstage and make them stop. The problem was, no one on any part of the stage was jumping at all. It was the tens of thousands of fans out front who were literally making the earth move. I kept wondering when the stage was gonna collapse.
The kids had also climbed every available structure they could to get a better sightline of the stage. The trees out front had as many kids as could be held. They also climbed, en masse, all over the delay towers (PA towers located away from the stage to help project sound to the rear of the crowd). It was dangerous as hell, and it took event security some time to clear them from the towers. Across the way, there were about 40 punters (kids) on a CANVAS-roofed structure. I can't believe it didn't give way. Kids on rooftops across the way, too.
Attendance today was 47,295 and it seems they were all jumping. I got a couple of shots, but you can't really appreciate how thick the air was with the dust.
Here's a couple of shots of Tom Morello, Rage's guitarist, taken from stage left. These pictures would normally be crystal clear, but the dust was horrible when I took them. Gives them an eerie quality.
Back to the hotel after the show. A big gang of us went to the Elephant & Wheelbarrow, but we got there just as they were closing. Spleen was still closed for the holiday weekend. Spragoo, me and 3 of our "Large Black Men" (or LBM's, security guys) walked a couple of blocks to the official Big Day Out aftershow party. It totally sucked (as did the last one I went to). You're supposed to need your all-access laminate in order to get in, but I guaran-fucking-tee you that not one out of ten idiots in there were laminate-holders from the tour.
Our LBM's stayed, but me and Spragoo couldn't take it. Free drinks, sure, but not worth putting up with the bad music and overcrowding. We headed back to the hotel's lobby bar, where everyone else from the Rage crew camp was hanging out. That was fun for a few rounds, then off to bed for me.
Tomorrow's Clean Underoo Day (laundry)…