Please believe when I say this was a long and bizarre day. It started out innocently enough, but it seemed like things just kept going downhill all day long.
Bands scheduled for the main stage included Pretty Boy Floyd, Every Mother's Nightmare, Tora Tora, Black n' Blue, Trixter, Lynch Mob, Kix, Lita Ford and Warrant. I was also very excited to see Lynam on the Blastzone stage -- in fact, they were one of the bands I cared about most on the 2008 lineup. They didn't get to play because of a severe storm - and their gear was either badly damaged or destroyed.
It was already unbearably hot during Pretty Boy Floyd. The crowd was sparse, but this set was fun for me because I watched with one of my new friends, thanks to this website. Pretty Boy Floyd performed "Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz," "Toast of the Town," "Rock n' Roll (Is Gonna Set the Night on Fire)," "Your Momma Won't Know," "Wanna Be With You," and "Rock n' Roll Outlaws."
Steve Summers and Kristy Majors seemed excited enough and the show was actually pretty good, especially for 11 a.m. Steve kept stopping the music to throw out Pretty Boy Floyd merch, but I have to give them credit: I don't remember other bands throwing stuff to fans. Pretty Boy Floyd gets mocked quite a lot, but the show was honestly good. The band kept pimping their meet and greet, but since I've met Steve before, I was good. I left the grounds to eat and buy more sunblock instead.
Since I left to actually eat I missed Every Mother's Nightmare. I've not talked to anyone that personally saw the band, so I can pass no fair judgement.
Tora Tora were amazingly
good great. They naturally ended their set with "Walkin' Shoes" and most other songs from the album Surprise Attack. Being a yankee, I always get a kick out of southern accents, so this was a definite plus. It's too bad the heat was so physically oppressive at this time - I didn't even write the set, I was seriously concentrating on not melting.
Last year, Jamie St. James played Rocklahoma with Warrant. This year, he played with his band Black n' Blue. "Wicked Bitch" and "Hold on to 18" were the highlights of their show. Toward the very end of the set, Jamie St. James had to stall because the band's bassist needed oxygen from paramedics. Please believe when I say it was dangerously hot and basically all out miserable to sit outside. My travel partners and I started leaving sets early to visit the air conditioned tent. Right after Black n' Blue's set, radio DJ and Rocklahoma host Eddie Trunk came onto the main stage and warned everyone to drink lots of water, calm down on the beer consumption and to try and get some shade. I thought at the time this meant something bad had happened and I was right. Apparently, a woman died right around when Every Mother's Nightmare was performing. She had pre-existing medical conditions and the paramedics couldn't save her. I can only imagine the heat didn't help matters.
After Eddie Trunk's warning, Trixter took the stage. When their set began at 5 p.m. the sun was beating down and basically awful. A few songs in and dark clouds rolled in...and it was clear all hell was about to break loose. To be fair to Trixter, I was only half paying attention to their set by this time. I was too busy digging through my bag, hunting down ponchos and passing them to my husband and traveling friend. When the lightning got close and nasty, we left for the tent. We were lucky to get seats before the sky opened up and created havoc.
I'm from Ohio, so I know that weather can change on a dime. I will be the first person to say that Rocklahoma officials had no control over the storm. Just because you can't control the weather doesn't mean you shouldn't have a plan of attack if things get nasty. Last night was nasty.
Rocklahoma, along with Country Fever and Bikelahoma use a "flag system" to warn concert attendees about dangerous weather. I noticed the flag on the sound booth was changed to yellow - but no one knows what that means. If you are going to go with a color coded system, then people need some sort of explanation as to what the colors mean, and what to do if the system is rolled into action. One tiny flag for ten thousand people isn't going to cut it when the going gets rough. Security guards were checking for wrist bands at the VIP tent - that's fine on any given day and time, but what about when people desperately need some shelter? People without VIP passes were wandering around outside, looking for unstable tents - most of which blew over - and running for cars. Meanwhile, lightning is striking close to the ground, there is metal and electric lines everywhere at a music fest...and no one from Rocklahoma is saying anything to brief the crowd.
I was sitting in the VIP when the winds really picked up and the tent flaps were blown apart. Portions of the giant tent buckled under the massive amount of rain, allowing water to flood the tent. The power kept flickering, so the logical option would be to cut the lights and choose safety over electricity. At one point, a festival worker walked around and said the power was being cut. Everyone waited and went to a seat, but nothing happened. For the most part, everyone at Rocklahoma is an adult - so we've all been through storms before. Still, people were on edge because a tent isn't the best place to be when you're stuck in tornado alley. Again, I place no blame on Rocklahoma for the weather -- I do, however, blame them for not telling fans what to do, how to stay safe, or if the show would continue.
At one point, my friend Christian and I went to take a peek at the collapsed side stages from the main entrance of the VIP tent. I was expecting to be told I couldn't leave -- instead, a security guard said "Unblock the entrance, either you're in or you're out." I'm in or I'm out? What about "I'm safe?" That statement alone proved that every fan was on their own safety-wise. Not good.
When the weather cleared, I took shots of the storm damage and went back to my hotel to post online. I had friends still at the show that texted me when it resumed. I tried desperately to get an answer as to whether the show would continue last night, and I was either ignored or heard "media are not allowed here now!" 25 security guards milling about the main stage, not a one knew what was going on.
Since I was updating Bring Back Glam! with storm damage information, I missed Lynch Mob. I did, however, make it back for the best band of the day -- Kix!
Kix blew everyone else out of the water (pun intended). During their set, it was a torrential downpour. It was hard to walk and see, it was raining so hard, but faithful rock fans threw on a poncho and braved the storm. Thanks to the terrible rain, I don't have any pictures of the Kix set, and that's a shame. No other band - all weekend - had the energy to match Kix. The band played "Hot Wire," "Sex," "Yeah,Yeah,Yeah," "Cold Shower, "Don't Close Your Eyes" and more. I couldn't keep a set because it was raining so hard. You know a band is damn good when they can excite fans, even in terrible conditions. During Kix, it was pretty clear no one seemed to care it was pouring. I didn't -- in fact, I didn't notice so much that I was soaked to the bone because I was entertained. Steve Whiteman is a mad man on stage. The band has some choreography -- they know what the hell is going on. No worthless stage banter, no long breaks between songs, they just wailed. Exactly as it should be at a festival - especially in inclement weather. As I write this, it is early Sunday, but I will venture to say that Kix will win the award as the best band at Rocklahoma 2008. They should have headlined.
Did I mention it was raining? Glam goodness, I was shivering at this point. I went from feeling sick from the heat, to feeling sick from cold. Between sets, I went back to the VIP tent to get a little dry. Turns out, that's not easy while wearing a soaked poncho.
Lita Ford was one of the most hyped acts at Rocklahoma 2008. Her set had some pyro and she certainly looked beautiful. The storm was causing power problems and her microphone didn't work for a few bars of her first song. She sang "Hungry" and I found it odd that her kids were watching just off stage since the lyrics are pretty raunchy. I missed when Lita sang her big hits like "Kiss Me Deadly" and "Close My Eyes Forever" because I had to go back into the tent. My husband is sick, and he was feeling miserable by this point.
So, we sat and watched wet people drink. After what felt like an eternity, Warrant finally took the stage. They played "I Saw Red," "32 Pennies," "Uncle Tom's Cabin," "Down Boys," "Big Talk," "Heaven" and yes - "Cherry Pie." This isn't the order or a complete set because I didn't have a notebook thanks to the weather. The good news is that the weather calmed down toward the beginning of Warrant, so everything was just damp. Jani Lane sounded good enough singing, but his odd stange banter made the show drag. I think if the stage banter was eliminated or condensed, the show would have been a lot tighter. Still, I was excited to see Warrant with Jani -- and push come to shove, the Cherry Pie Guy really can still sing.