Day one of Rock the Bayou is in the history books. Before I say anything else - let me make this point: I have never endured heat like this in my life. I thought Rocklahoma was bad for heat. I was wrong. I knew it would be hot in Houston in August...but yesterday's temperatures were so extreme, I could barely take it. My glam, I'm a yankee! I endure snow and crisp, fall air. I don't know how to survive 15 hours in 98 degree heat. Let me further say that Eric and I typically take a Caribbean vacation each August. It's hot there to be sure, but maybe I never noticed the oppressive temperatures because I didn't stand outside all day long in it. Whatever the case, kudos to the native Houstonians who acted like it was about 65 degrees.
Yesterday, I saw Jetboy, Gilby Clarke, Lynch Mob, Y&T, Skid Row, Ratt and Queensryche. Faster Pussycat were also scheduled for the main stage, but a flight delay kept them from making their slot so I watched them on a very tiny side stage. Their set was short, too. I also watched a little of Dirty Penny's set on a side stage. More on that in a moment.
Now, let's talk about the crowds. I got to the festival early. I had to claim my media credentials and get situated. I also like to learn the lay of the land and explore options for merchandise, food, beer and other activities. I don't expect a capacity crowd at 11 a.m. Still, I was getting concerned by 3 when only a few hundred people were milling around. By the time Skid Row performed, the festival was starting to fill up but when I went back to my seat during RATT after watching some other bands, I was stunned at how empty the seats were. A lot of people were watching from the lawn, but I wouldn't put the total crowd past five thousand people.
Jetboy sounded good, but it was clear they were stalling. I was just thinking their set seemed awfully long for an opening band when Mickey Finn announced that "Faster Pussycat forgot to show up." Later on we learned of the travel mess. This travel glitch just meant Jetboy went on a little later, but this also got the schedule about 30 minutes behind. This, in turn, meant that there was more overlap between headline acts and side stage bands.
It's been awhile since I've seen a recent photo of Gilby Clarke. I was taken aback at how much he sort of looks like a hippie these days. I always think of him as he was in the "November Rain" video. To that end, Gilby and his band played some Guns N' Roses tunes, as well as his solo work.
I went to the barrier for Lynch Mob. This was a band I missed at Rocklahoma because they played during the massive rainstorm and I was reporting for this website at the time. Anyway, I really wanted to see Lynch Mob and they did deliver the goods. The small - but rowdy crowd - sang along to "Wicked Sensation." This was probably the highlight of the set for me. I could have gotten a guitar pick if I didn't have to leave the front because of heat.
I was in the media tent for much of Y&T, but I did hear a few songs, including "Summertime Girls." There was one man who stood at the barrier between the general admission side and media credentials-only area for hours. I walked past him a lot and noticed he was holding a classic "Yesterday and Today" photo. I'm sure he was trying to get it autographed. I hope it worked out for him. I wanted to attend the band's press conference, but it was running behind and I didn't want to miss Skid Row.
Johnny Solinger is a native Texan and he had the crowd whipped up pretty good. By this time it was about 147 degrees. It's always amusing to watch very drunk people in extreme heat. They peter out pretty quickly. True to form, the annoying man that was elbowing me all through Skid Row was passed out during Queensryche. When I walked beside him, I laughed out loud. You have to pace yourself at festivals - especially multi-day events. You have to drink water during the heat of the day and get into some air conditioning when possible. If you don't take precautions, you'll end up missing most of the fun.
Anyway, Skid Row performed everything you would expect, like "Youth Gone Wild" and "18 and Life." The band did "I Remember You" mainly acoustic and played an extended jam version of "Monkey Business." All in all, a good set.
So, after this it was time to truck through tall grass and uneven ground to see Faster Pussycat. I expected Taime Downe to be a little upset but he seemed jolly and actually apologized for not being on the main stage. I'm not so sure why he apologized because the flight delays were not his fault, but it is what it is I guess. Faster Pussycat played "Porn Star," "House of Pain" and "Bathroom Wall." With that I beat it across the field to see Dirty Penny.
Now, this is when the schedule got bonkers: Dirty Penny and RATT ended up playing at the same time, so I tried to see both. This isn't the easiest thing to accomplish in the world. So, after I heard DP play a couple songs including "Sleaze Disease" I went back to my seats for RATT. I felt a little bad for Dirty Penny: they were expecting a decent crowd and the way things happened, only about 30 people got to seem them. That's a shame since they are making good, modern Glam.
By the time I got to RATT, the band was on "Sweet Cheater." The set was long and included "Lay It Down," "Tell the World," "Nobody Rides for Free" "You're In Love" and, of course, "Round and Round." Stephen Pearcy sounded pretty good last night and new guitarist Carlos Cavazo seemed to fit right in.
Queensryche were doing a best-of set last night. They performed their most famous songs including "Bridge," "Jet City Woman" and "I Don't Believe In Love." Geoff Tate sounded pretty good last night, but his theatrical facial expressions were distracting me. I expected the facial expressions when the band did Operation: Mindcrime at Rocklahoma, but for a regular, fun rock show...I just want spontaneity. Hell, maybe Geoff has to make those facial expressions to hit those notes. After all, he does have one of the best voices in rock.
I hope the sound is fixed for the rest of the festival. At all side stages, the sound is way over modulated and it sounds pretty wacky from the main stage, too. Also, I've got to criticize now: the VIP seating is folding chairs, which is fine. The issue is that the seats are on a wood platform...and someone decided to paint that platform black. Eric's shoes actually melted to the platform, so the rest of the day he was shuffling his feet around a lot to make sure he didn't get stuck. The black platform made it feel 10 degrees hotter than the actual temperature. One more thing: the security guards were originally telling people they couldn't take drinks to their seats. You need water when it is so hot. This eventually got situated and we were allowed to take drinks to the seats - but for a few hours, this was miserable - and potentially dangerous.