"So you've been here all weekend and seen a lot of good bands, and now there's us at the end of it. Controversial! It's controversial, I know. A lot of people have said 'yeah,' a lot of people have said 'fuck no!' But at the end of the day we're here!" Never one to beat about the bush, Lostprophets frontman Ian watkins summed up perfectly the feelings surrounding the decision for his band to close Download 2008 with a ‘deal with it’ attitude that seemed to suit the situation. For many Lostprophets just weren’t heavy enough to close, for some they weren’t even worthy of being on the bill but as Sunday came to a close it was left to the Welsh band to salvage what they could and for Watkins that meant just getting everyone to have fun regardless.
With two Welsh flags ironically either side of the only non Welsh member, drummer IIan Rubin, Lostprophets wasted no time with over the top entrances, instead diving straight into ‘We Still Kill The Old Way’. With Watkins and Jamie Oliver’s duel vocals commanding the song, the Welsh lads proceeded to unleash a set heavy with infectious tracks such as ‘New Transmission’, the dance inducing frenzy of ‘Can’t Catch Tomorrow’ and ‘Town Called Hypocrisy’ with Watkins relentlessly encouraging the crowd to sing along. But Watkins had his work cut out tonight with people anxiously looking over their shoulder to make sure it was safe to join in and sadly it was only after many shrieks from the Prophets frontman that people started to take notice of his remarks to enjoy the last few hours of the festival and the weekend, fully letting the Prophets show to start.
After the pyrotechnic extravaga of Kiss, anything put on by The Lostprophets was going to look like mere party poppers in comparison. But bravely the band refused to avoid them altogether and as ‘Rooftops’ was gently sung along to by the crowd, a shower of sparks fell down, matched only by a blaze of green lazers during ‘4AM Forever’.
Apologising before hand, Watkins later announced how they were going to air a new song, noting how boring it is for the crowd and so to liven things up he was going to teach everyone the chorus. “It's like being in school. Think of it as blind karaoke. Live!" Watkins joked as he proceeded to conduct the Donington crowd along to ‘End Of The World’ that made way for a rousing charge of ‘Everday Combat’.
With cheers springing up throughout the crowd it was left to a bemused Watkins to enquire what was going on. Stepping to the front of the stage and peering at the giant screens the singer finally worked out that someone had flashed their breasts, causing him to joke with Oliver about putting them away quick incase their mums saw before continung to joke with the crowd as chants of “Shinobi” whirled round the audience. Declaring that the song would be later, Watkins demanded that everyone had fun, that they jumped from the front to the back as ‘Last Summer’ kicked in, bursting with energtic beats that caused all to leap off the ground. With ‘Last Train Home’ managing to stir some circle pits, the time had finally come for ‘Dragon Vs Shinobi’ to be unleashed. Ripping through the crowd as circle pits swelled and feet stomped, nudged out of the way by set closer ‘Burn Burn’ with Watkins screaming that this was the last chance to go wild as fists pummeled the air, before this year’s controversal headliners left the stage.
Whether they should have been on the bill or not, Lostprophets did what they had to do and what’s more they made sure that those who stuck around to catch their set had a good time. Sure, they were a controversal choose, they may not have had the theatrics of Kiss or the punk punch of The Offspring but the Welsh band at the very least insured that they ended Download how they wanted and guarenteed that Download had one British headliner, a fact that can’t be said for a certain UK festival in August.