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Rock n' America Day 1 Review

"If you missed the 80s, you missed out!" Great White frontman Jack Russell bellowed from the Rock n' America stage. Rock n' America officially opened Friday with a theme of all 80s metal and old fashioned heat.

Who played the first official day of Rock n' America? Lizzy Borden, The Sweet, Trixter, Great White and Twisted Sister. On the side stage, bands like Toxin, Axe, Bulletboys and Faster Pussycat rocked out.

The Zoo Amphitheater in Oklahoma City is old so the venue isn't necessarily modern but it is nice. The walk from the parking area to the gates is super long which is unfortunate, but it is what it is I guess. The Zoo Amp has good gradation - I think it's hard to find a bad seat in the house. You can see from pretty much everywhere! The side stage is just to the right of the main stage which is okay...except for the fact that the sound is being run through one PA so when the main stage is being swapped and instruments tuned, you can hear it a little.

The standout bands of the day? The Sweet, Faster Pussycat and Twisted Sister. Jack Russell and Great White sounded much better than previous reports and YouTube videos would indicate. Jack continues to mend from two back surgeries so the set is a little more subdued. He was standing on his own just fine but there's no wild jumping around - and that's to be expected. By the time Great White was finishing their set with "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" the crowd was more energized. The sun had finally let up and it wasn't oppressive anymore. People seemed to be dancing and generally the crowd was happy. The main mix for Great White wasn't great - a problem that plagued the entire set.

The Sweet seemed to really surprise people. Yes, there was a red cape and some hits. A lot of people kept walking by saying "I didn't know they played that song!" For many - like me - it was a first time seeing the band live. I was entertained.

Twisted Sister always rocks but the set was a little more subdued than the last time I saw them. I'm not sure why - it just was. But I liked the opening with the cries of "Twisted Sister, come out and play!" over and over. Yes, Twisted changed the order of their set which I like. I just wish they'd drop "The Price" and keep the entire set straight metal - people were into it. Dee Snider also mentioned his upcoming series on A&E that debuts next week and Jay Jay French went on his usual rant about how American Idol sucks. The band's encore included a very nice tribute to Ronnie James Dio.

The thing that is weird about Rock n' America is that there is a “no cursing from the stage” rule...but it's a rock show. So saying there's no cursing is insane. It just happens and must be some crazy rule from Oklahoma City or something. But apparently the bands are getting fined or something every time they drop an F-bomb. Just odd.

What else? Oh yeah, Faster Pussycat ("Goth Cat") was great -- even with Taime Downe's crazy potty mouth. He swore, bless him! "Bathroom Wall" rocks and I swear it had the biggest sing a long chorus of the day. The Bulletboys didn't play "Smooth Up in Ya" which is inexcusable in my book. I'm not sure if they were cut off or what, but the 20 minute long music jam at the beginning should have been shortened to accommodate the band's biggest hit.

I'm guessing attendance on Friday to be somewhere between 3,000 – 5,000.

I've got photos but I haven't had time to edit them - so check back.

Reader Comments (18)

Thanks for the review! Looking forward to the pics!
July 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
No "Smooth Up In Ya"? That's like KISS without "Rock 'n' Roll All Nite" or Motley without "Dr. Feelgood." It just ain't right!
July 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJT
no smooth up in ya???? wtf!!!!!!!
July 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdale
marq torien is one of the biggest jerk around. the dude is always lying about being on a big tour with whoever he thinks up. JERK !!!!!
July 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbumblefootboy
Torien lives in my town and the word is he's a first class J-O-I-K!

Not playing "Smooth Up In Ya" was the crime of the day, has to be, though I must say I wasn't there, regrettably.

Look, Torien, we know you have a lot of good songs, even great songs, but to not play the favorite to the crowd is just plain mean!

You're not a one-hit wonder by any means, but what's the problem?! Is it that people don't like your other stuff as much as "Smooth Up"?

Not playin' it makes them only more aware of the fact that it's better than your other stuff. It just makes the omission all that more glaring. So what! Play it, anyway!

You're not the Stones, with so many hits, it doesn't matter if you omit one or two of the crowd-pleasers. You have a limited catalog. Work with it!

"Smooth Up" is a killer song! One of the Top 10 Greatest Glam/Hair Metal tunes of all time, in my book!

Isn't that enough attention for ya, Torien? Sheeez!!! You think you would be proud of your greatest accomplishment!

It's one thing to be noted for putting on a great set rather than be noted for omitting your best song. Now when people reflect back on Rock'n'America 2010, when they think of Bulletboys, you'll forever be in the "Yeah, but..." category when people are talking about the different band performances.

What a way to make people not like you even more!

p.s. I am so jealous of everyone at this show! Talk about one-stop-shopping to see all your favorite bands!
July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Did The Sweet play Hell Raiser? Great song - not to mention that the main riff of "Kickstart My Heart" is basically the same as the beginning of Hell Raiser.
July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Rock n America was a flop. Sad to say but it's absolutely true. 3000 tops first day , 7500 for Sat and maybe 2000 for Sunday. Rocklahoma and M3 destroyed RnA. Oklahoma in July is not going to work for 80s fans. Another thing that killed friday and sunday was playing the same hack bands that always play. Try somebody NEW for a freakin change. I love my 80s Metal but RnA was a flop.
July 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous
The Bulletboys got cut off by the promoters. It wasn't Marq's fault...neccesarily. He went and fought (w/ words) to the promoter to let them play one more song but the promoter kept saying no, you're out of time. One of the Bulletboys said it was Trixter's fault (who were about to go on the main stage).
Now...the reason I say it wasn't neccesarily Marq's fault is because a guy kept telling the band, "You have one more song." And the band kept ignoring him.
The same thing happened to Faster Pussycat. After 30 or so minutes they were shut down.

My only complaint is how in the world does Trixter get the main stage (and play for 45 min - 60 min) and Faster Pussycat and The Bulletboys get the side stage?
But I still had a great time.
July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStranger
Well Trixter IS a better band than the other two. FP and BB have both played themselves to death and charge about $500-$1000 for a show. Let's see some REAL talent on the sidestages.
July 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous
I'm a guitar tech for Lillian Axe we played the side stage Sunday , I have to hand it to the fans it rained like he'll during our set and they stayed right there And sang all our songs, thanks, the highlight of my day was Dirty Penny , those boys had alot of energy and kicked ass, also Lynch Mob were fuckin great, Lita Ford, Dokken and Ratt were also great, warrant was just OK and Gilby Clark was also just OK, but it was a great event!
July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAncient Serpent
i loved this weekend. i have been to all rocklahomas, and i enjoyed this more. sucks bulletboys got cut off, but i thought they were awesome. i was out there watching lillian axe in the pouring rain and loved it. great set. i thought ratt brought their C-game. but everyone else really killed it. best of the weekend i would say were cinderella, twisted sister, pretty boy floyd, bulletboys, lillian axe, steelheart, glitter boys, and lizzy borden. but i really enjoyed everyone. i have no complaints. all around, i give my RnA experience a 9/10.
July 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbren
I am still reeling with JEALOUSY I missed Rock n' America.

So, naturally, I didn't see the Bulletboys performance at Rn'A, but Stranger's comments sound like an explanation as to why they didn't play "Smooth Up".

It stands to reason they were probably saving it for their last song or encore. And it makes sense they didn't have a chance to play it because they were most likely cut off, as everyone who witnessed their show seems to be saying here.

The fact that Stranger reports Torien arguing with officials after Bulletboys were shut down lends credence to this theory. They would have played "Smooth Up In Ya" as the grand finale.

I retract my rant on Torien being a horse's a*s and I declare myself one for being so ready to blast him even if the town gossip on him bears credence. Torien my be a bit of a jerk but not enough to intentionally deprive the crowd of their "piece de resistance".

Can't wait to hear more about Rock n'America!...

p.s. Anonymous! What th...?! I seriously doubt Faster Pussycat or Bulletboys would play there for a mere thousand buxx. If that were the case, I think I'll have 'em play my backyard barbeque next Saturday. I saw Trixter at M3 and they may very well be more than competent musicians, but, man, are they BORING! So boring, as a matter of fact, I took the opportunity to use the VIP facilities during their set. Trixter is a Side Show act at best. How they keep getting main stage status is one of those strange phenomenons that occur in this country where certain sh*t inexplicably floats to the top. Mediocrity never ceases to appear front and center for no apparent reason when it comes to our culture. They wind up on the main stage all because of their ever boring "Hit", "Give It To Me Good". which has to be one of the dumbest Hair Metal songs ever recorded, and considering the genre, that is saying a lot. The most exciting moment for Trixter's bassist at M3 was watching Kix from the side of the stage as they proceeded to blow the curls right out of his hair. Torein gets a reprieve. Trixter gets shot out of a cannon. Hu-uh-lo-oh!
July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
RNA was a great show. TS really put on a damn good show. Sunday, Mark Slaughter got off the stage and walked through the crowd while singing. Steelheart rocked. I wish Cinderella had got more time. Their performance seemed rushed. I could have done without MSG. I used Trixters slot to hit the vendors so at least they served a purpose
Dokken was good but Don can't hit those highs like he used to. THC...Rocked!

To the two slightly intoxicated young women that tried to high five each other for 5 minutes without once making hand to hand contact...Thanks for the laugh.

To dancing grampa (anyone who sat on the west end of the stage saw him).... Rock on brother.

I hope they do it again next year but I hope they wait until its cooler outside.
July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEvil Earl
BB and FP are $500-$1000. Sometimes they'll get double that for fests. Great line-up (if somewhat tired) but unfortunately the attendance was disappointing at best. Considering the capacity is 9500 for the Zoo amp and Scorpions only drew 7500 , it was very disheartening - especially after the monster crowd for M3.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous
cinderella kicked butt. amazing tom kieffer sounds as good as ever.
firehouse was good. c.j. can still hit most of the high notes.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertgb
The attendance was a little low Friday and Sunday. Saturday was a nice crowd. Charging 4.00 for water was pathetic. People were passing out all over. Not being able to cuss and inviting rock bands to play - is pretty f'ing stupid. The long walk from the parking lot to the arena with virtually zero transportation was very poor planning. An air conditioned tent outside with bands playing at the same time was confusing and too far to walk, plus who wants to go thru security back and forth while they are patting you down and feeling up the women - literally. I say thuumbs up for the people that put this line-up togehter, but thumbs down on the zoo amphitheater. I knew this was going to be the case beforehand, but it was too good of a lineup to miss. Will someone please move Steelheart to a night slot, they were one of the best sounding and most entertaining acts of the entire show AGAIN! The Scorpions were worth the entire ticket price - awesome show. Lita Ford and Great White were much better than a few years ago at Rocklahoma! TS wasn't the same having to make a PG show, but SMO was halarious. FP as outrageous as they are actually sounded great and had the crowd going strong. Cinderella was fantastic - worth the wait..... Vince bring your friends next time and let's hear some MC!
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdavid
Rock N America was incredible!! I hope they have it next year. The Bulletboys were cut off 20 minutes into a 35 minute set. Marq had absolutely no control over it. He was going to close the set with Smooth Up. Trixter was not to blame, the promoters were keeping to a strict schedule, and the Bulletboys went on late. No conspiracy! As far as Marq Torien being a jerk... he is not at all! He is a quiet guy that likes his privacy. He is a sweetheart, I promise!
July 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
The BulletBoys were not cut short. The stage hand was right there telling the band how much time they had left starting at 10 min remaining. They just ignored it. From what I could tell from there disscussion afterwards (I was at the back of the side stage then), the band thought they had longer to play. The promoter should them the contract and the still argued about it,

The fest was overall pretty good! The size of the crowds was PATHETIC though! To say there wew 7,500 people there on Saturday is being VERY gracious. The venue holds 10,000. Friday was dead with maybe 3,000. Saturday was more like 6,00-6,500 and Sunday about 4,500.

People complain that ROK changed their music from 80s to newer rock but there is a reason why.
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHootie

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