From Daphne and Celeste surviving a bottling to New Order making rock fans dance, here are our most memorable moments. But what are yours?
This weekend sees the summer stagger to a close with the annual parade of power chords, hog roasts and token dance acts that is the Reading festival and its boisterous twin, Leeds. As the rock world braces itself for yet another headline slot from Muse, we've chosen 10 memorable moments from the festival's history. If you think we've missed anything, let us know and we can bottle each other below the line ?
Kurt Cobain's entrance in a wheelchair has been analysed for years as some kind of grand statement about, you know, the media and stuff. Truth was he was probably just having a laugh, but Nirvana in 92 smelt so seminal that meaning even gets ascribed to the FX pedals they used. Still, this was Nirvana at their volatile peak before fate and In Utero led them to their doom. It's rightly regarded as one of the most heroic performances in festival history.
Thin Lizzy (1983)
The Lizzy were synonymous with forging the legend of Reading in its early days ? although in 1979 the band failed to show for their Saturday night headline slot (the Scorpions filled in). They returned in 1983, however, for what would be their final show on the site.
Guns N' Roses (2010)
Turning up an hour late could be considered punctual by Axl Rose's standards, but things soon deteriorated into one of the most painful performances ever ? slanging matches, an unedifying sit-in and the misapprehension that this was the night for piano solos. And even that would have been fine if they'd just opened with Welcome to the Jungle like everyone wanted.
The White Stripes (2004)
At the peak of their post-Elephant powers, Jack and Meg proved that two tin-pot lo-fi country folk could make more noise than most of the hoary metallers of Reading legend combined. And even they would never feel quite so essential again.
Daphne and Celeste (2000)
Aside from being the makers of a handful of bubblegum punky tunes that have endured with surprising genius, Daphne and Celeste earn a place in history as the victims of Reading's most notorious bottling. Putting the manga Brides of Chucky on the rock day bill was somebody's idea of a wheeze. In the event, they bore the burden of bottles of urine like punk-rock heroes.
New Order (1989)
The turning point at which Reading opened up from simply a rock party into something altogether bigger ? here's New Order at their Technique-period peak, stirring up one of the most euphoric disco moments in Rivermead history.
Kevin Rowland (1999)
Clad in stockings and a white mini-dress, the former Dexys hero gamefully promoted his bizarre covers album My Beauty with wobbly renditions of The Greatest Love of All and I Can't Tell the Bottom from the Top. Looking at once a man on the edge and an utterly compelling show of courage, the quality of the music barely came into it; dignity proved itself a strange and unpredictable quantity.
Arctic Monkeys (2005)
"Doing a Monkeys" has now become the accepted festival term for any mid-afternoon, small-tent performance that ends up being all anyone remembers. This was the case in 2005 when Arctic Monkeys, thanks to their Beneath the Boardwalk bootlegs, finally realised their game of hiding was up. It was an incendiary show that legends are built on.
My Chemical Romance (2006)
The emo wars raged in 2006 as the Daily Mail went up against a generation of disaffected teens in an epic battle for music's soul. Revealing their new alter egos the Black Parade, My Chemical Romance distanced themselves from a "bullshit war" but survived an initial torrent of bottles to emerge victorious. Singer Gerard Way swore they would only return as headliners, which they do this weekend.
Because you can't make any Reading-related list without mentioning Metallica. You just can't.