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.