Rocklahoma 2009 is over. The final day brought performances by Vixen, Bonfire, Nelson, Great White, Skid Row and Twisted Sister.
I didn’t watch Vixen and only caught a small portion of Bonfire. The takeaway from that band was my astonishment at the lead singer: dude was wearing a denim jacket the entire set. It was over 100 degrees!
Nelson take a lot of crap, but I’ve never seen them perform live so I was interested. They did their hits (you know, “After the Rain” and “Can’t Live Without Your Love and Affection”) plus a couple of new tunes. The crowd was small, small, small on Sunday – but it was especially lean for Nelson. Shame because I thought they sounded better than half the other main stage acts at ROK 09.
Poor Jack Russell - the man limped out on stage, acting funny and sure enough he said he had a bunch of broken bones. He gets a pass because limping on stage in massive heat without the ability to move is very metal but there’s no point in denying that Great White sounded like crap. I mean, when you have broken ribs, you just can’t sing. It was also pretty clear Jack was on painkillers – I think the band should have cancelled. I’m sure that set was pure torture for him.
Skid Row was quite good but it felt like they played forever. They did all the songs you know and love – in basically the order you’d assume. I kept waiting for “Youth Gone Wild” because I was antsy for L.A. Guns to start in a side tent. A lot of people seemed to leave the end of Skid Row to get a good spot for L.A. Guns. That said, I’d say Skid Row had the biggest crowd of any band all weekend. I wasn’t worried about watching all their songs – I’m seeing them again on Shiprocked.
L.A. Guns played a side stage. A few weeks ago, Tracii Guns told me he didn’t want to play in the sun on the main stage. Sadly, playing at 9:30 pm in a tent doesn’t equal cool. Since the heat index was upwards of 115 degrees and L.A. Guns played in a tent packed with people, you can imagine how it felt. The band did the big hits and this show featured Jizzy Pearl on vocals. I had a hard time understanding Jizzy’s words – maybe it was the PA, maybe it was me, but I think I’ll stick with Marty Casey. Can’t knock Tracii though – man can shred and he sure looked happy.
Twisted Sister always deliver. Even if you’re not a giant Twisted fan, you can appreciate their live show because they give it their all. The band did all of Stay Hungry – in order – and it was great. The crowd seemed to love it and this seems like an appropriate album to play live, start to finish. That said, Twisted didn’t play very long. Their set seemed short – only a couple extra songs after Stay Hungry and the band called it a night. After that, my Rocklahoma experience was done.
Sunday attendance? I’d say 3500 - 4500.
The attendance was abysmal this year. The people behind Rocklahoma need to decide where they want the festival to go. It’s either becoming a 100% regional event, or it needs to be scaled back. Four days is probably too many if the format is to stay the same – there are only so many bands to go around. If ticket prices are reduced, that will help. Changing the event to two days with a killer lineup would be even better. I had fun this year – but the lineup really was weak, tickets expensive and the heat ridiculous. I can’t see many people renewing in advance when it’s pretty clear it’s o.k. to wait for the lineup and then decide to buy. The amount of empty seats really shocked me...and made me quite sad.
More photos later and tomorrow. I’m fried and just can’t edit them right now. Peace.