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Rocklahoma 2008 - Thursday

DSC_0391.JPGAfter a *very* early flight, I finally landed in Tulsa, Oklahoma for Rocklahoma 2008. It's odd how you can look forward to something for so long, and then when the moment/event/experience finally happens, you don't quite know what to think.

This year, Rocklahoma organizers added a couple bands before the Thursday pre-party because the Rock n' Roll Fantasy Camp stopped in Pryor. I wasn't at the pre-pre party because of work, but literally everyone I've talked to has said both RATT and Faster Pussycat were very good, especially when compared to their respective performances of last year.

On Thursday, these artists performed:

Jet Boy, House of Lords, Vain, Enuff Z' Nuff, LA Guns, Dokken, Sebastian Bach and Bret Michaels. In all irony, this pre-day bill actually shaped up to be about my favorite of the entire festival line-up, save maybe for the bands slated to perform on Saturday.

Just about the second I landed in Tulsa, Oklahoma it started raining. It started raining really hard. I mean, it was bad. It had rained on Wednesday too, so I knew the grounds were already flooded - but I was not prepared for what I saw when I finally made it inside the festival gate.

Rocklahoma 2008 is a true swamp. It's July in Oklahoma, so it was already hot but standing water and rain complicated issues. Festivals are typically drawn out across large parts of open fields - Rocklahoma is no different. To get to the restrooms port a potties, you have to literally wade across acres of land. Trust me when I say this is no easy task. By the end of the night, I had mud in places I can't tell you about, my demin mini- was covered...and it took a 25 minute shower just to hose down.

The show must go on, and it did. Since I had to check-in to the media area, I missed some of the earliest performances in their entirety. Of what I heard of Vain, I was semi-impressed. Davy Vain sounded fairly decent, but was having a hard time getting the crowd whipped up because of the rain and mud. In fact, I'd say there were not more than 500 people watching Vain, which is sort of sad. I'm also told there were even less for Jet Boy. I missed them myself because of a hotel crisis, but that's neither here nor there.

Enuff Z' Nuff with Donnie Vie sounded really good! I'll be the first to admit I'm not a major Enuff Z' Nuff fan, but I was impressed with what I heard. Of course, they played "Fly High Michelle" and were also joined by Steven Adler for a cover of "Come Together" and then Joe Leste of Bang Tango for "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Both covers got the crowd pretty pumped and I have to admit Steven Adler looked both happy and together behind the drum kit. Later in the night I saw Chip Z' Nuff riding around the festival grounds in a golf cart. Perhaps I should have jumped on and avoided the mud...



I was most interested in LA Guns. Marty Casey just joined the band and I couldn't wait to hear his voice. The LA Guns press conference was pretty darn anticlimactic, with Tracii saying something along the lines of "This is the real LA Guns." The band also said their new CD would be out sometime in 2009. I have to admit that when LA Guns took the main stage, they tore it up. Here's the set list:

No Mercy
Sex Action
Fire It Up
One More Reason
Wish You Were Here (cover dedicated to the troops)
Ballad of Jayne
Shut the Fuck Up (performed by Jeremy Guns)
Electric Gypsy
Never Enough
Rip and Tear

I can't express just how much Marty Casey impressed me during his performance. Tracii's version of LA Guns always put forth a really energetic show, and yesterday was no different. New guitarist Alec Bauer really meshes well with Tracii and this extra instrument really pushed the sound envelope for the band. After Jeremy Guns performed "Shut the Fuck Up" he blew his bass rig and then it was never really back to par after that but it didn't seem to matter. I know some people have problems with the LA Guns feud, but it is what it is, and if you like the band or the music, you might as well embrace the situation. I will say right here, right now that LA Guns gave the best performance of the day. Argue with me if you want, but I stand by that declaration.

When it came time for the National Anthem, a 12 year old kid named "Jack the Ripper" handled the duties. Obviously the kid can play if he was tasked with such an honor. The fans were very receptive to him as well, and that's one thing I'll give to everyone in attendance at Rocklahoma: the vibe is so happy and laid back, everyone feels welcome. I feel confident that Jack the Ripper has a long career in music ahead of him. His long hair is only an added bonus.

DSC_0203.JPGDokken was up next. Don Dokken seemed cheerful enough and kept referencing last year's Rocklahoma, so maybe the fest made an impact on his life. By this time, the crowd was really starting to fill up and it was pretty hilarious watching a man one aisle from me air guitar his way through the entire set. I mean, the man never rested! Back on stage, Dokken performed:

Kiss of Death
Into the Fire
The Hunter
Dream Warriors
Unchain the Night
Just Got Lucky
Alone Again
Breakin' The Chains
It's Not Love
Tooth and Nail
In My Dreams

At about the mid-point of the show, Don Dokken stopped and said "Rock n' roll is a spiritual thing - sing along and we become one." Well, of course everyone in the place sang alone to "Alone Again." It's a phenomenon really: watching thousands of strangers, sing and sway to the same song. Don's quote is a little cheesy but 100% accurate.

DSC_0287.JPGDokken and Sebastian Bach are on tour with Poison this summer. By the time the set changed and Bach was on stage, the VIP area of seating at Rocklahoma was darn full. I don't have Bach's entire set because I had to use the facilities muddy port-a-potty, but here's some of the songs: "Back in the Saddle," "Slave to the Grind," "18 and Life," "American Metalhead," "Love is a Bitchslap," "By Your Side," "Monkey Business," "You Don't Understand," "I Remember You," "Youth Gone Wild," and more. Now, something that has always fascinated me about Bach is the way he performs.All the way back to the beginning of Skid Row, Bach would clench the mic, turn sideways and scream. All these years later, this is still his signature stance. I have to give Bach credit, even with some sound issues, he sounded good. He can clearly still hit those high notes and sustain his famous scream. He was whipping his head all over the place and sweating up a storm. In fact, my husband received a sweat bath while he watching from the photo pit.

By this time the crowd is good and excited. During Bach's set I had to check on Bret's press conference...which was cancelled. I wonder if that is because of the pay meet and greet? Anyway, Bret's set change was the longest. Pretty soon Pete Evick and the rest of the Bret Michaels Band came out - on their own - and performed "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love." I think people were generally confused, but this was a decent enough stall tactic. After this, Bret's roadies popped in Appetite for Destruction and the crowd was treated to "Welcome to the Jungle." Too bad the CD kept skipping... 

Finally, Bret took the stage and performed:

Talk Dirty To Me
Look What the Cat Dragged In
Sweet Home Alabama
Something to Believe In
Unskinny Bop
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
What I Like About You
Your Mama Don't Dance
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Fallen Angel
Nothin' But A Good Time (with Crooked X)

Bret sounded really hoarse last night, but he got the job done. As an added bonus, Bret had on a literal ton of eye liner. I guess he figured he needed an extra coat because of the heat.  I'm not really sure the need for four cover tunes, though. I would think people would genuinely rather hear Bret's solo songs as opposed to cover tunes - especially the ones he hasn't recorded with Poison! Naturally, just about everyone at the show was singing along as the set was rounding into  home. The Bret Michaels Band seemed to match Bret's enthusiasm which is good at a festival show. After people have stood in the heat for eight hours, it takes a lot to keep people entertained.

I left after Bret because I'd been awake for 24 straight hours at that point. Today, I hope to catch more of the side stage long as the standing water is gone. My hope is that Catch the Fever trucked in some straw or sawdust overnight to absorb the muck. More later. 












































































Reader Comments (23)

Hope you got a good nights sleep Allyson, and that the weather today cooperates and dries up the slop from yesterday.Here's also hoping that you get to Rock your ass off today in better conditions!
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGary
Your pictures are great! I hope you are having a good time.
Great pics. If you can post more from the ENUFF Z NUFF performance, that would be awesome.

July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTito
GREAT pics! See that jean jacket Jeremy Guns is wearing? I made it. Well, ok...I didn't actually make it, but my company did. haha

I'm SO glad they were awesome. I can't wait to see them when they come through town!
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVicky
Fantastic article, I really enjoyed it! It sounds like it's going very well for the most part...(except for the rain)...haha....Keep up the great work Allyson, and keep on rockin'!
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
Great coverage! You are doing a great job reporting for the front lines!
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Price
Sounds great so far.Hope the waters gone today.
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercarl
Cool review, Allyson. I look forward to running into you again this year. What a MUDFEST, though. I agree that L.A. GUNS totally kicked ass. I was blown away. Were you near the artist's trailers when Donnie and Chip from Enuff Z'Nuff had their fight. Oh my god. Chip called Donnie a worthless junkie and then Donnie pulled Chip's hat off and threw it. I had no fucking idea that the top of Chip's head is totally bald. It looks like he has hair extensions, but only on the back and the sides. Fucking weird, man. I hope someone got some pics of that shit!!
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Penrod
Great update couldnt wait all day to read. I new the rain was bad but not how bad. I live less than 100 miles away and we have been drenched. Keep up the great work. Economics keeps me from being there so i have to live vicaiously through others. THANK YOU!!!!
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShawn
Donnie and Chip got into a fight...are you serious??
Can anyone confirm this???
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
Great article Allyson...Thanks for the pics too...Glad to hear you are having a great time =)
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
Sounds awesome. I agree with you on Bret's set...he should have played more. I can't stand it when they play only the band's hits on a solo tour. Vince Neil does that...almost an entirely Motley set, and only cover songs on the solo stuff. Regardless, I wish I could be in Pryor.
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJT
Im so fucking jealous... Seriously.
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
The more I read about the reviews on the web, the more jealous I am. It's almost worth getting mud in all of your orifices.
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVicky
awesome pictures! and a great blog, too.I can't believe there are parents out there who let their 12-year-old rename himself Jack the Ripper. Thats pretty funny, I have to admit. I wish I had been there to see Bas, too, I know what you mean about the "signature stance"! my favorite is when he hold his hair back with his right hand, and then twists to the left and screams into the mike. haha.

Can't wait to read more!

July 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterr0ck0n!
Thank you have a good time. Do make sure you check out UFO. THEY WILL PROBABLY BE THE BEST BAND.Bret's a fraud.
July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterScott
I am really impressed with both the article and pictures, given the conditions you guys are working in out there. I wish I was there with you again!
I hope you manage to have some fun dispite the heat, mud, and general chaos of it all. The mud sounds awful.. but hey.. at least you have a working shower this year!
July 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
bret michaels is a fraud. Whatsa goin on queerbait?
July 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertully
On wednesday despite pouring rain 13 year old Joey Doherty of Legacy Uprising opened the event with the Star Spangled Bannner for the Tri Lable Group South Stage then went into his blistering solos. Joey aka Kid Lightning became the youngest performer to open Rocklahoma.
July 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
La Guns are THE Rockband to watch for. Marty Casey should have won that lead singer position for the inxs band but it was said they had already ade up their minds on fortune and just had the show to get the coverage. Marty really is the true rockstar not the Elvis impersonator. Now it worked out great because he rules the stage with the great band LA Guns.
July 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdanny

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