ROCKLAHOMA DAY ONE
Show Date: July 12, 2007
Location: Pryor, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
Band Website: www.rockfeverfest.com
I left Texas at 7am and it took me 6 1/2 hours to reach my hotel room in Muskogee, which still left me 42 miles from the venue.
I arrived at the concert site shortly after 3pm…which was about 4 miles north of Pryor.
I really didn’t think this event was real when I first heard about it…I thought there was no way that this show was really gonna happen.
As I drove up and saw the festival grounds…I felt one of those natural highs that no drug can compete with.
But…I still had to pick up my ticket.
The whole process of getting a ticket was an adventure. This is my 28th summer of going to rock shows. So I have seen just about every kind of ticket fiasco you can think of…until…Rocklahoma.
When I finally made the decision that I was gonna attend the festival, I started browsing the Rocklahoma message boards looking for someone who had extra tickets. I quickly determined that there were lots of people from all over the place that had extra tickets for various reasons…mostly travel related. I think some people got real excited when they heard about the festival and bought several tickets…then real world reality set in and they were stuck holding expensive tickets for an event at a far away place.
But…I decided that it would be easier to buy the tickets directly from the event if possible.
On Tuesday I called the venue to see what kind of tickets they had remaining. My feelings of insecurity about the festival returned when the girl answering the phone asked me if she could call me back in about an hour because she thought she might be able to get me one ticket up “real close”. About 2 hours later she called back and said that she had secured a VIP ticket in the front section. The price after all service charges was $313. I asked her about something less expensive and she said she could sell me the same ticket for $145 without the VIP. Since I don’t drink, I didn’t need the VIP (free food and drinks). I had to remind her to take my credit card information. Then I couldn’t remember if she got my name, which was important because I was gonna have to pick the ticket up at Will Call. The bank processed the transaction, so I felt comfortable that there would not be any problems.
So…as I am driving up to the venue I see a big sign that says WILL CALL, which is next to another sign that says CAMPING. I tell the “ticket” guy, who looks like a homeless alcoholic, that I am not camping, I just need to pick up my ticket…he says ok…and proceeds to search for my ticket. After letting the guy go through the first part of the alphabet I remind him that I am not camping. He pauses, takes a swig of his beer, and says “you need to go to VIP Will Call”. I told him I was not VIP…he says “you camping?” I said no and he says “then you need to go to VIP”. By now his line is about 20 people long, but he is no longer my problem.
I drive around to an entrance that says VIP WILL CALL. I give the lady my name and she starts searching…and searching. I can hear a band playing. I told her that I was not VIP…finally she says she is gonna call her supervisor. She walks off and returns about 5 minutes later and starts helping somebody else. I’m like HEY! I want my ticket. She tells me that “the head lady” is on her way and would help me. About 10 minutes later a 50 something year old woman arrives on a golf cart drinking a 24 oz. can of beer.
Oh yeah…I’m supposed to review the show!
Anyways…the ticket drama only got worse. But because I remembered the girl’s name that I talked to on the phone I finally got my ticket/wristband and I was IN!
Rocklahoma was real.
The grounds and the stage set-up was pure fantasyland…with the exception of the cheap seats that were added due to high demand. This was the perfect venue…huge stage…big video screens on each side…killer sound system.
The first band I saw was Gypsy Pistoleros. The singer reminded me of Phil Lewis from L.A. Guns. They had that sleazy vibe similar to early L.A. Guns and Faster Pussycat. I bought their CD and it rocks!
Next up was a Guns N’Roses tribute from L.A. called Hollywood Roses…they were ok.
Then it was time for a band that I have always rooted for, Lillian Axe. From Louisiana, they played the club circuit during the 80’s before they got their record deal. MCA signed them in 1987, but not before merging them with a band from Michigan called Stiff that played the same club circuit. Stevie Blaze is an extremely talented songwriter and guitarist…and very under-rated. Lillian Axe got a new singer this past year and they have a new album coming out…I thought they put on a good show.
KISS Army is not just another KISS tribute band…they are endorsed by Gene Simmons. I think the KISS tribute bands started this whole tribute craze…and back in the day it seemed like each of the KISS tribute bands that were out there each had one member that really fit the part well. One band had a good Paul, another one had a good Ace, etc. KISS Army has a good Gene (that explains the support!). They were decent…..the crowd liked ’em.
The best part of the day was the final act…which was billed as the Special Guest. This turned out to be a new band led by Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns), Joe LeSte (Bang Tango), and Chip Z’Nuff (Enuff Z’Nuff). They called themselves US 66. They played all classic cover songs…a 90 minute set…and for the last 30 minutes they brought out original Guns N’Roses drummer Steven Adler. The band then ripped through several GNR classics.
Adler was kicked out of GNR over 15 years ago because of his substance abuse problems. As the years have gone by since then, Adler‘s problems have only gotten worse. When the band finished playing Adler rushed out to the front of the stage and started shaking people’s hands. The guy standing next to me, who looked like he had been at the festival for a month, was drinking a beer and reaching to shake Adler‘s hand. Adler points at the guy’s beer and then reaches down, grabs it and starts chugging it. Then he handed the empty can back to the guy…and then he was off to shake more hands. You can tell he really misses the spotlight.
Thanks for reading…if you made it this far.
Next…Rocklahoma, Fry Day, in the scorching summer sun.