Monsters of Rock 1988
1988 was the biggest ever Donington,107,000 turned up.
Given dry conditions that would not have been a problem, however, the festival was marred by bad weather in the week previous to the event which turned the front of stage area into a treacherous slime bowl, it was hard to keep ones footing and once lost, the unprecedented crush of the crowd made it almost impossible to get up again . There were several collapses when Guns N' Roses began to play, due to surges within the crowd and tragically, by the end of their set, two fans were dead, suffocated in the mud under the weight of other bodies that had collapsed (and in some cases, jumped) on top of them.
According to the head of security, the density of the crowd at the front was not considered serious, the problems were twofold.
One of the video screens had been blown down by high winds early in Helloween's set. People would not move from under the screen as it was still broadcasting images and was being partially held up by a fence. This distracted security during the band changeover and at the start of Guns N' Roses set as the debris was still not cleared when they took to the stage.
During the first Guns N' Roses numbers there were crowd surges that flowed across the front of the audience and which led to a collapse in the crowd affecting about 15 people, Guns N' Roses were asked to stop and did so immediately, but unfortunately they began playing again before the problem was dealt with. Once the band began playing, the audience once again erupted into serious movement which led to a worse crowd collapse, this time involving around 35 or so people.
Security attempted to clear the pile of bodies but were hampered by some people climbing onto their backs and jumping onto the pile of bodies apparently in an attempt to crowd surf closer to the band.More security people moved in, the band once again stopped playing, which allowed the area to be cordoned off and the situation was resolved, but not before two people had suffocated in the mud, which was four inches deep near the stage.
The police initially wanted to call the event off but it was decided that may have caused more problems than it solved . Things were relatively calm until later on in the day, when, during David Lee Roths act, a security member flipped on seeing a girl in the audience faint. He climbed onstage and pleaded with the singer to stop the show, however, Roth was not aware that's he was a security person and two of his bodyguards chucked the hapless guard back into the pit, which caused some anger in the crowd.
Of course there was more music, Megadeath and David Lee Roth went down well, as did Kiss, but it was Iron Maiden, (perhaps energised by the events earlier on in the day ), who stole the day by delivering one of their best ever shows, This was an interesting period for Maiden, perhaps their most fertile , as they attempted to break their stereotypical sound when they released their 1986 album "Somewhere in Time". Although not a concept album, most of the songs used the subject as their theme. More importantly, the band sound changed, as they introduced synthesized guitars in the mix .The new sound was generally accepted by fans and the album sold well.
The band followed this album in 1988 with "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son". This WAS a concept album featuring a story about a mythical child who possessed supernatural powers. Synths were used in this release. Much of the Donington set featured material from this and the previous album, accompanied by impressive projections that visualised the narrative of the songs.