“Are you ready to party like it’s 1999?”
Are we? Are we ever, Fred. It’s all we’ve been waiting to do all weekend. Now that we’re no longer actually in 1999, and therefore his band are no longer universal signifiers of late-’90s bro culture, it’s finally safe to appreciate Limp Bizkit without baggage as what they are: a genuinely great band of their era.
Hence why pretty much everyone on-site is here. As they break into it with ‘Rollin’, the dance sequence that defined the last MTV generation can be seen playing out right across the tent.
Old Man Durst’s beard may be more white than it was in his Britney-boffing days, and his cap may be blue instead of red, but he still isn’t giving up his frat boy ways any time soon. “Anybody out there – hey, put your hands up if you’re wearing a condom right now?” he grins, as they plough into a still furious ‘My Generation’.
‘My Way’, ‘Break Stuff’… they’re exactly that band who have twice as many hits as you remember. During ‘Living It Up’ Fred mounts the barricades to pump his thighs along to it. A shirtless man, propped up out of the crowd, opens two beers and pours them over his head, to much laughter from the tent.
“I feel like this is a lazy vibe,” Fred announces. “It’s not a concert anymore. It’s a party.”
For no real reason, DMX’s ‘Up In The Air’ starts playing, Fred continues to wiggle atop the crush barriers. Meanwhile, Wes Borland is wearing a sort of Mexican Day Of The Dead harlequin outfit. From the waist up. Past his underwear, though, he isn’t wearing anything else. Yep, it’s that kind of party.
They run through a dirty little knee-trembler of ‘Nookie’. Fred throws a bottle of water deep into the crowd: “Take one sip and pass it around. But don’t get your goddamn lips on it.”
They cover Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name Of’, and it sounds like their entire back-catalogue stuffed into a can-crusher. As a band who’ve played the biggest stages, the NME Tent is a doddle to them. Fred keeps on thanking the crowd for turning up, and what’s more, this ultimate ass-clown sounds humble and sincere about it. While Wes has been widely rumoured to be only here for a payday, Fred clearly still finds his purpose in connecting and living the golden days all over again. Limp Bizkit have been miniaturised by the passage of time, endlessly laughed at for their big-shorts dumbassery, but in 2015, it feels like they’re magnificently comfortable with their legacy, happy to knock out a springy greatest hits set of that brings as much pleasure to them as it does anyone else.
It ends, after a colossal MI:2 theme tune (‘Take A Look Around’), with Fred, Wes, Sam and John stood onstage, as ‘Stayin Alive’ plays, and the crowd start star-pointing to the Bee Gees. It’s an efficient summary of the whole show: ridiculous, camp, surreal, a place where good taste is suspended for long enough for the dead to dance. Exactly the party Fred promised us. They started off doing it all for the nookie, but they have kept doing it for the music, man.