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Rock n’ America Day 2 and 3 Review

It’s time to resume my account of Rock n’ America. The memories might be hazy. I ended up with a sinus infection. I’m pretty sure my Ohio sinus system doesn’t agree with Oklahoma red dirt. Anyway…

Saturday featured the Scorpions, Cinderella, Michael Schenker Group, Firehouse, Steelheart, LA Guns, Pretty Boy Floyd, John Corabi and Motochrist. This was, clearly, the strongest day of the festival and I’m guessing between 6500-8000 people turned out for the fun.

I arrived early with my group and we saw every band from every angle. My main reason for trekking to Oklahoma again in July was Michael Schenker and he didn’t disappoint. His solo set was cool – he did stuff from throughout his career, including “Armed and Ready,” “Lights Out” and “Doctor Doctor.” I loved seeing Michael play his legendary Flying-V. He didn’t say much – actually I don’t recall if he ever uttered a word – but he’s a legend and he can do what he wants. A lot of people moved down closer for MSG because it’s so rare to see him play in America. His set was a highlight for me. Carmine Appice played drums for him and Herman Rarebell popped out on stage for awhile too. Oh, and Herman was staying at my hotel and that was a funny encounter too. But that’s another story for another day…

Schenker rocked it later too when the Scorpions played. He came out with the band and did “Another Piece of Meat.” The Scorpions were better at Rock n’ America than M3. While singer Klaus Meine was still a little sick, he sounded better. Still, the band looked tired…but man, when Michael came out and all those guitars were on stage at one time – that was special. Herman came out at a different point with the Scorps too and Carmine played a little cow bell. Fun times. I like the videos for the Scorpions stage. James Kottak’s drum solo videos sort of scare me, but I guess that’s entertainment.

Cinderella changed their set opener for Rock n’ America and opened with “Somebody Save Me.” They usually open with “Push, Push” but moved that to the second song. Tom Keifer sounded great so it does seem like his voice is holding steady. There was a lot of dancing during Cinderella’s set which is always fun to watch.

But who was my favorite of the entire weekend? John Corabi. Yep, a side stage act beat ‘em all in my book. John sounded amazing – his backing band is rocking, too. Seems like he had a lot of last minute band changes, but no matter – drummer Troy Patrick Farrell did a good job and it was fun. “Uncle Jack” and “Hooligans Holiday” were awesome and I was sad when the set was over. John deserved more time. He doesn’t get to play much and he’s very underrated.

Sunday featured RATT, Dokken, Lita Ford, Slaughter, Warrant, Lynch Mob, Gilby Clarke, Lillian Axe, Texas Hippie Coalition and Dirty Penny.

Like Saturday, my group and I were in place for every band. It started raining right when it was time for Warrant. This meant Kari and I wore ponchos and headed down close to watch Robert Mason sing. The set was good because Robert’s voice is amazing but it wasn’t all that different from M3. I wonder what would happen if Warrant ever dropped “Cherry Pie” from the set? I should thank Warrant. When they did “I Saw Red” I was reminded to put on sunblock. True story.

So Vince Neil showed up with Slaughter and did some gang vocals on “Up All Night.” Poor Mark Slaughter. I love Slaughter’s music – I really do. But Mark’s voice is rough these days. “Fly to the Angels” is one of my favorite songs but it’s got a lot of high notes and it just wasn’t happening. The band did drop the tuning, but that didn’t even help. People were eating it up though and Mark crowd surfed so no one seemed to care much. Odd sound issues didn’t help, either. There was a lot of feedback during Slaughter’s set. I know this because my left ear is currently aching like no one’s business and the feedback was killing me.  

Lillian Axe only got 25 minutes and they sounded good. They sort of played an odd mix of songs like “Jesus Wept” and I’m not sure the crowd knew what to make of them. Guitarist Steve Blaze is a nice guy and he was very happy to play. He stuck around and watched the rest of the bands on the bill.

I’m pretty sure it was around this time that it started raining good and hard and then some lovely lightning moved in. It poured buckets during Gilby Clarke and therefore I have no recollection of what he played. It rained a lot during Lita Ford too. I didn’t pay much attention to that set either but I know she was having keyboard issues. She did do Sammy Hagar’s “One Way to Rock” and “Close My Eyes Forever.” She closed with “Kiss Me Deadly.”

So the big hope was that George Lynch would play a song with Dokken. It didn’t happen. Dokken did "Dream Warriors,” "Into The Fire," "Alone Again" and more. Don Dokken is sort of in Mark Slaughter’s club these days – “Dream Warriors” wasn’t in the original tuning, but he admitted he has trouble singing it, so there you go. The crowd helped him along and there were a ton of Dokken shirts in the crowd. Even rhinestone Dokken shirts which I’ve never seen before. I tend to gravitate toward anything with rhinestones.

I was surprised RATT moved “Round and Round” up in the set and closed off with “Eat Me Up Alive” and “Walkin’ the Dog.” I thought that was a nice change. They did my favorite “I Want a Woman” and “Best of Me.” Stephen Pearcy’s daughter was celebrating a birthday so he brought her out on stage. Toward the end of the set Warren DeMartini fell. It was so fast, I missed it but I did see him switch out his guitar.

I’d say attendance on Sunday was right around 3000-5000, sort of in line with Friday’s numbers. Of course, those are my guesses so there you go.

Here’s a Spinal Tap moment. Remember in the Day 1 review when I said the walk from the parking lot to the venue was brutal? So on Sunday my group of rock warriors decided to try the shuttle. It was a giant limo. You know, the SUV kind. Anyway, we left our cars in the lot, climbed in this SUV…and went around the block. I’m not kidding. So, the shuttle took people 50 yards (give or take). Everyone just sort of looked at each other. All in all, I had a great time except for the heat and the sinus infection. I loved seeing old friends and meeting new ones and hanging out in the Shiprocked tent. We went to the after party on Saturday night when Dirty Penny played and that was entertaining – lots of people watching and musicians trying to pick up women. That’s all I better say about that!

I heard the promoters want to do it again next year. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Reader Comments (15)

I'm really excited to see Michael Schenker, in August, at House of Blues, in Cleveland. I'm more of a Lynch Mob fan, so I'm really looking forward to them, but having never seen Schenker before, it should be a real treat.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGEO II
You all got to witness Rock n' Roll History at Rock n' America!

Scorpions signing off with the Schenker Brothers together on stage doing "Another Piece of Meat"? Killer!

And Herman Rarebell on drums for a spell, to boot? Too cool.

Most don't know he wrote the bulk of the Scorp's hits.

I am so jealous!

I'd like to say, "Maybe next year", but it will be tuff to top the Scorpions reunion you all were so fortunate to witness.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
2500 tops for Sunday Night. RnA had to have lost their ass this weekend. Damn shame.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous
Hey Allyson, you didn't review Pretty Boy Floyd. How was their set?
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter48hrs2rock
This is what Rocklahoma should be... or was.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdamnp78
Great review! I saw Dokken right before they were suppose to do this show and it was pretty much like you described. He kept saying to the audience that his voice wasn't up to par, so I don't know if he had a cold or something else was wrong.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTara
Good reviews, Allyson. I thought Saturday was definitely the best lineup. Cinderella and Scorpions were AWESOME. And - we love Steelheart. I thought Sunday was pretty weak (JMO), although fun in the rain. I love Ratt, but thought they sounded awful for several reasons. All in all a great music weekend!
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCindy
Sounds like a great time for an 80s rock fan. But as others pointed out, the attendance sounds wretched. These multi-day festivals just won't last at those numbers. I don't have the money to travel for these things, and I'm sure others are in the same boat as me. As much as I would love to go, I just can't justify it.

The 1-day festival like M3 seems to be the way to go. And I would like to see one closer to me than Baltimore (I'm not holding my breath for Cincinnati though). Maybe Indianapolis?
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJT
Wow! How the hell did the Texas Hippie coalition end up in that lineup? Don't get me wrong, THC is bad ass, but they're about five times heavier than any other band on the bill. That's just odd.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBob
THC definately brought it. There music is definately much harder, but they had a S%$T load of fans.

RATT did sound a little awful at times, but the plowed through it!

I am a huge Scorpions fan, but the long drum solo and guitar solo kinda pissed me off, because of the limited time they had to play.

Pretty Boy Floyd definately kicked some major ass...They just bring it everytime. Next time hopefully they get the main stage.

Lita Ford was AWESOME!!! And she is still HOT!!!

Angel Eyes brought goosbumps to me and I even shed a tear during Warrant.

The food and beer was way too expensive and the fact that you had to keep your ticket stub for the entire three days was stupid, since they issued new wrist bands each day.

Hopefully because it is labled Rock N America the concert (if held again) can be sent to another venue in another state. The curfew and profanity laws were stupid. But overhall I had the time of my life!!! C ya next year!
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKurt
All Hail Glitterboys and Dirty Penny. It is so awesome they played at Rock n' America. I wish I had been there, as well. Dammit!!!
July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Well, I am glad I did not make a second trip to Oklahoma this summer, after attending Rocklahoma. This lineup was basically the best of ROK's first 3 years, and the attendance figures sound pitiful. I don't think this festival theme has a future, unless perhaps they do it in New York and LA, where you have a much bigger base to pull from. I am thrilled that Baltimore has been putting on the best glam lineup the past 2 years [since I live here] and I hope they continue to keep it solid from year to year.

Sounds like the Scorpions set was the only thing special about the entire weekend. After the past 4 years, I have already done oppressive heat, rain during Lita Ford, Ratt disinterested, Lynch Mob amazing, Steelheart incredible and still not getting their deserved timeslot [hello, ShipRocked, Steelheart continues to get the best reviews of any band over the past 4 years, hint, hint], short sets from one hit wonders, high-priced food and bev, lots of walking, bands playing at the same time, and poor attendance.

So really, the only thing I missed was a very special Scorpions set. Glad I chose to go to Long Island to see the best concert I will ever see - 3 full hours of RUSH with 3 of my friends from kindergarten.
July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenternirVrana
FYI - I've already seen Cinderella twice on this tour, including their very first show back in Denver - and both shows they opened up with "Second Wind."
July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKen
I attended Sunday, so can only speak to that. Attendance was disappointing, food was expensive, the rain was ridiculous and I don't understand the profanity ban either. However, I'm very glad that I went and had a great time. I also got to take my 13 year old son to see what some true musicianship is, and he loved it as well.

About the bands. Missed Dirty Penny. Enjoyed Warrant - have always been a Robert Mason fan. He doesn't get the respect he should, but check out his work singing for Lynch Mob and Cry of Love, which is phenomenal. Big Cock is an outstanding band as well.

I thought Slaughter was weak and their sound was terrible. I'm not sure I've ever heard that much feedback at a concert. I've never really been much of a fan anyway, however I did enjoy their drummer - he's a maniac!

THC sound like Pantera wannabes. Their sound definitely didn't fit with the rest of the bands in the line-up, and while I enjoy some Pantera, they just seemed out of place.

Lita Ford was about what I expected. I'm sorry, but she really can't sing and never has. Very, very weak. Wasn't impressed with her band, and again, she's just a terrible singer. The best thing she did was cover Hagar's tune (There's Only One Way to Rock), and she screwed up the lyrics to that. I don't know how she rated a 50 minute set on the main stage given some of the other great bands that were there playing shorter sets on the side stage (Lynch Mob comes to mind).

Lillian Axe - decent band, but was cowering next to one of the drink stands as it was raining cats and dogs.

I was really disappointed to see EnuffZNuff drop off of the bill. Have liked them for years and was looking forward to them. Gilby Clarke stepped in, and I'm just not that familiar with his solo stuff. Also had ridiculous rain during his set, so hats off to everyone that stayed out there and got soaked.

I've seen Dokken many time throughout their career beginning with their opening for Dio back in '84 (think that's the right year). Don Dokken is one of the best singers I've had the pleasure to listen to, so it breaks my heart to see him in his current state. I'm fairly convinced that he will never be anywhere near the singer that he once was, and I'm not sure why that is, but I've seen enough of him live over the last couple of years to be sure that his lack of vocal range is not just a temporary problem. I very much respect the fact that he soldiers on and continues to perform, and I think he is fairly up front and honest about his struggles. I also have to hand it to Jon Levin, who is a helluva guitarist, even if he is really just doing his best impression of George Lynch. I enjoyed Dokken's set, even if I'll never see them at the top of their game again.

Lynch Mob performed immediately after Dokken. Do you think it's a little strange for George as he's waiting to get out on the stage and listening to Dokken perform all of these tunes he has played so often? I was very fired up to see Lynch, and it was a Lynch Mob shirt that I dug out of the concert t-shirt collection to wear for the day. He certainly didn't disappoint. The man is one of the guitar greats of the era and still has the chops. They did a mixture of tunes from Wicked Sensation and Smoke and Mirrors, closing with Wicked Sensation. Great show. Only one criticism - Oni Logan turned in what I think is a great vocal performance on the recording of Wicked Sensation (an all-time great record), but his live performance doesn't quite measure up. Again, there seem to be some issues with vocal range, which seemed to be a prevailing theme for the day. Looking back, I'd say that Robert Mason easily had the best pipes of the day, and I would love to see him on stage again with Lynch.

Finally, Ratt turned in what I thought was a terrific set. I know others have criticized their sound, but from where I was they sounded pretty good. This is one band I hadn't seen live in about 25 years and I wasn't sure what to expect. I've never thought much of Stephen Pearcy - he's always been a mediocre vocalist at best, and he hasn't gotten any better. However, the rest of the band more than makes up for his shortcomings. Warren DeMartini was and still is an absolute monster on guitar, and he hardly looks like he's aged since the 80s. His performance may have been the best of the day. And the addition of Carlos Cavazo really takes this band to another level. Unlike the late Robin Crosby, Carlos has the licks to keep up with Warren, and they compliment each other very nicely. Robbie Crane was great on bass and Blotzer was his usual spot-on self. Awesome show. I thought they did a great job choosing the set list, especially since they did one of my faves, Nobody Rides for Free. Walkin' the Dog as an encore was brilliant, but that may just be the diehard Aerosmith fan in me saying that. One other comment - I know that at one time John Corabi was in Ratt, and I would love to see him step in and take over lead vocals. His work with The Scream was great, and he would definitely be a step up from Pearcy.

I'm glad I attended and had a great time. I believe that there would be a little better turnout by adding a few more heavy hitters from the 70s and 80s, such as Queensryche, Tesla, Night Ranger, Extreme, Kiss, Nugent, Aerosmith, Crue, ACDC, etc., so I'm not ready to punt this festival to another town. I look forward to next year! Rock on!
August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRich
The Scorpions were AWESOME and Cinderella was much better than they were at Rocklahoma! Dokken also jammed. George Lynch tore it up right afterwards!! I would say that the lineup was closer to 6,000-6,500 on Saturday which is pretty pathetic.
August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHootie

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