Hard rock comes home to Knebworth
Andrew Trendell

10:10 7th July 2014

Hard rock was celebrated this weekend with Sonisphere seeing huge headline sets from Metallica and Iron Maiden.

The opening Friday night saw opening sets by the likes of Limp Bizkit and The Prodigy, but things really came to a head on Saturday Anthrax, Frank Turner and Deftones took to the stage with blistering sets - capped off by an almighty headline slot from metal icons Iron Maiden. 

Maiden's set followed a fly-by a 1917 Fokker triplane, as part of a First World War memorial - before Dickinson stepped out on to the stage, squaring up to the vast crowd as a 'loud and rowdy and thirsty bunch'. What followed was an epic and career-spanning masterclass in classic metal. 

"Tonight is the last night of a three-year tour, its all been building to this," said Dickinson, geeing up the crowd. "If we don't get it right tonight then we never will."

Iron Maiden played:
'Can I Play With Madness'
'The Prisoner'
'2 Minutes To Midnight'
'The Trooper'
'Number Of The Beast'
'Phantom Of The Opera'
'Run To The Hills'
'Wasted Years'
'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son'
'Fear Of The Dark'
'Iron Maiden'
'Aces High'
'The Evil That Men Do'

Watch Iron Maiden playing 'The Number Of The Beast' below

Then, Sunday saw the festival brought to a fittingly explosive close with sets by the likes of Gallows, Mastodon, No Ninghem, Alice In Chains and Airborne - the latter paying tribute to the late, great Rik Mayall with frontman Joel O'Keefe telling the crowd: "I want you to put a cup or fist in the air. Thank you Rik Mayall. May he make us laugh forever."

The day ended of course, with a career-spanning 'By Request' set by Metallica - with a show comprising of songs voted for by fans. As a result, it was a pretty predictable setlist of singles and fan favourites - picking up where they left off with their victorious Glastonbury set and delivering another glorious outing for true lovers at hard rock. 

At one point the band invited 'family members' on stage to introduce tracks, before the audience started booing one of them for over-egging his walk to the mic - before James Hetfield asked: "Why are you booing your family."

Earlier in the day at a press conference, Sonisphere organiser Stuart Galbraith said that they were 'working hard' on next year's festival, with the hope of making announcements soon. 

Metallica played:
'Master Of Puppets'
'Welcome Home (Sanitarium)'
'Ride The Lightning'
'The Unforgiven'
'Lords Of Summer'
'Sad But True'
'Fade To Black'
'Creeping Death'
'For Whom The Bell Tolls'
'Nothing Else Matters'
'Enter Sandman'
'Whiskey In The Jar'
'…And Justice For All'
'Seek & Destroy'

Photo: Splash