FOR 10 years Hard Rock Hell has capitalised on being different; by the fans, for the fans - an ethos and aesthetic that resonates with artists and audiences. That it has lasted for a decade is not just a tribute to the organisers, but also to the fact that this type of music still has a place in the 21st Century.
To mark its 10th Birthday Hard Rock Hell set out a plan for a proper party. Kicking off proceedings - King Kong, scantily clad dancers and fire...lots of fire.
And that was before the first amplified note resonated in the main arena.
Six of the best, however, did open Hard Rock Hell X, with The Texas Flood bringing blues infused rock and a sense that they needed to play full-on for those that journeyed from near and far. The sense of groove that was imparted from start to finish.
Hard working, hard playing The Amorettes have garnered a reputation for no-nonsense rock 'n' roll, delivered with panache and passion. Coming on stage in front of a packed main arena there was no sense that they were intimidated, but then again they have opened for the likes Europe and Black Star Riders meant there were no nerves, no sense that they were doing anything other what they are best at, entertaining.
Maybe it was the age range there, but NWOBHM act Praying Mantis drew a healthy, noisy welcome. From the days of the Friday Rock Show when people stayed up listening late, underneath the covers wishing they were old enough to get out and rock out.
That sensibility of sheer pleasure of music and memories played out in full with purity.
Northern Ireland band Sweet Savage harken from the same era. Best know for Metallica covering 'Killing Time' they, however, have a range of songs that are relatively new, and Raymie is a commanding frontman.
'Regenerator' is the stand-out song of a set that was balanced, blasted out with bombast and brilliance.
Still focussed on the 80s, an era when metal still had the attention of the mainstream Dio carved a path post his Sabbath days. While the relationship with his band and Vivian Campbell in particular soured the music of the first three albums had, still does, capture a period in time.
Last in Line as a band have newer songs, but the HRH audience were in ecstasy when it came to the likes of 'Don't Talk to Strangers' and, of course, Holy Diver'.
What is remarkable is that Last in Line is not a tribute act. Campbell has always been emphatic that as the authors of much of the songs they have as much right to play them as anyone else. Andy Freeman does not imitate RJD, but rather uses the tonality and range of his voice to add the right touches to the live performance.
The songs are as memorable today as they were when débuted, they conjur memories, conjur a sense of abandonment, and a sense that the audience is bonded with the band and the song.
There is no sense that "we wanna getaway" from Last In Line.
And, as the evening drew to a close there was no other way to conclude the first night's partying with Hayseed Dixie and their unique take on the music adored by generations. Whether it was hillbilly 'Ace of Spades' or 'We're Not Gonna Take It' the audience knew and loved every piece of the Dixie take on the tunes.
The bedraggled and bemused audience, beaming from ear-to-ear announced their pleasure with toasts and roars that HRH X was well and truly underway.