Three days of sun-baked metal madness saw 127 bands showcasing their various brands of hard rock’n’roll. Friday featured Lauren Harris looking lithe, as she belted out tracks new and old. Lacuna Coil were eagerly anticipated, but Cristina Scabbia’s voice was lost in the mix for the first few numbers. However, the band produced a wall of sound and ultimately triumphed. Opeth provided an enlightened mix of light and brutal shade, moving deftly from prog to extreme metal within the space of eight bars. Motley Crue promptly took Download by the scruff of the neck and proceeded to wring it for all its worth with 70 minutes of non-stop classic rock: Wild Side, She Got The Looks That Kill, Girls Girls Girls and Dr. Feelgood proving that the Crue want to party. Headliners on the main stage, Faith No More, were making their comeback of comebacks. Their set was full of classics, with storming renditions of Midlife Crisis and From Out Of Nowhere, which left the crowd in a state of heightened ecstasy to round off the first day’s proceedings on a massive high. Saturday saw Dragonforce steal the show by making a blinding, indelible impression with virtuoso performances. Pendulum brought their own take on the dancerock dream and got Donington jigging. Thunder’s penultimate festival performance was met with a rapturous reception. The boys gave their all to the final track and will be sadly missed. Marilyn Manson took the main stage and was lacklustre to begin with, but he can deliver visceral vocals on the likes of Revolution and conjures up catchy rock tunes. Prodigy put on a massively energetic performance with kick-ass bass throughout and an irrepressible sense of urgency. Headliners Slipknot were one for the littler kids. The masked ones bowed with a massive assault of sound led by Joey Jordison’s manic, ear-splitting double bass patterns. Like them or loathe them, a force to be reckoned with and, while melody may be lacking, brute force wins the day. Sunday saw Donington return to its roots with Skin making a welcome return, and going down a storm. Black Stone Cherry were in barnstorming mode and impressed mightily. Journey, in particular Arnel Pineda, served up a breathtaking display of pitch-perfect vocal pyrotechnics. He nailed everything from opener Separate Ways through Wheel In The Sky, to Faithfully, Don’t Stop Believing and Anyway You Want It. Dream Theater showcased the crunching riffs and fretboard runs of one of the world’s best guitarists, John Petrucci. ZZ Top followed with plenty of low-down, dirty blues. The hook-laden Legs, Gimme All Your Lovin’, Sharp Dressed Man and La Grange got everyone boogying. A bronzed Mr. Coverdale and Whitesnake showed their fangs with a thunderous Bad Boys, Love Ain’t No Stranger, Guilty Of Love and crowd-pleaser Is This Love. And everyone went beserk for Here I Go Again and a raucous Still Of The Night. The main attraction, Def Leppard, proceeded to rock Donington daft, with classics Rocket, Action, the emotive Too Late For Love and gut-wrenching Bringin’ On The Heartbreak. The hits kept comin’ with the likes of Hysteria, Animal, Photograph and Pour Some Sugar On More. Then a balls to the wall Let’s Get Rocked fittingly ended a fantastic Download weekend.