Vintage rockers and newbie punks came together last weekend to see in a new dawn of ass-kicking music at Knebworth House, the hallowed ground where the likes of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Watford’s own Elton John have played. Latterly, the venue hosted stadium-style gigs by Oasis – all 330,000 tickets sold out in nine hours and Robbie Williams, whose 2003 concert sold out in record-breaking time and proved to be the swansong for Knebworth as we knew it.

Six years on, the home of Henry Lytton Cobbold was put firmly back on the rock map as headline acts such as Californian sextet Linkin Park and LA mega-metalheads Metallica tore up the stage.

Frontman James Hetfield even chose to celebrate his birthday at Sonisphere coming into the crowd and singing with fans before, closing with the words: “Sonisphere baby – Metallica loves you”.

For me, the highlight of the opening night was seeing Thunder perform their last ever gig on the Bohemia stage, “Michael Jackson couldn’t make it, but we did,” cracked lead singer Danny Bowes before cooking up a blistering set featuring tracks such as Lowlife in High Places and Backstreet Symphony, before bowing out with a rapturous I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll.

“It’s been a great 20 years,” Danny told us and we roared in response. For us, the last night of that 20-year history was clearly the best. The Wildhearts kept things rocking on till 1am when the call of the dodgems, the silent disco (everyone wearing headphones and dancing to their own tune) and aftershow tent parties got the better us.

If you shipped up at Sonishpere expecting the grunge and grime of the Reading Festival you’d have been sorely disappointed – during the course of the weekend, which saw no less than 80,000 mainly black-clad souls enter through the gates, I saw no fights or bottles of suspect yellow liquid hurtling towards the stage, just some bare-chested young men headbanging happily to the likes of Feeder and screamo fans jumping about to Rolo Tomassi. Apart from a few dazed looking individuals, all were having a good time. A Saxon fan from Stevenage even let me sit at his table to rest my beer.

Being more of an indie babe, seeing pioneer industrialists Killing Joke perform Wardance and Love Like Blood was the highlight. We couldn’t resist heading backstage because my companion Pippa wanted to get her left breast signed by cigar chomping frontman Jaz Coleman. I opted for him to sign the setlist but got a kiss on the cheek and a cheery hug.

Killing Joke’s sound man, who we’d got chatting to a couple of months back on the ferry back from the Isle of Wight Festival, even commended us for looking like a “couple of total rock chicks”.

Sonisphere 2010 has already been announced, and I for one will be back for more.