Grand Rocktember Music Festival Day One Concert Review


Date: September 9, 2016
Venue: Grand Casino Hinckley
Location: Hinckley, Minnesota, USA
Reviewer: Metal Headz Media
Photos: Metal Headz Media

It was that time of year again for Grand Rocktember music festival at Grand Casino Hinckley. They always put together a great lineup of ’80s rock and metal and this year was no different. Last year saw the likes of Skid Row, L.A. Guns, Trixter, Ace Frehley, Bret Michaels and Twisted Sister along with other great bands. I didn’t know how they were going to top it, but they did. This year’s line-up for day one was Autograph, Jackyl, Stryper, Queensrÿche, Tom Keifer of Cinderella and Mötley Crüe‘s Vince Neil. Day two featured Gabbie Rae, Vixen, Slaughter, Scrap Metal, Dokken, Ratt, Loverboy along with Night Ranger closing out the weekend festivities.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAutograph started off the weekend with songs off their first three albums and the majority of them from Sign In Please. This is the first time I have seen them since the eighties and didn’t know what to expect. Guitarist Steve Lynch and bassist Randy Rand are the only remaining original members and the band no longer features any keyboards. I wasn’t sure how their classic songs would sound without them, but they pulled it off without a hitch. “Deep End” led off their set followed by “Loud And Clear,” “Blondes In Black Cars” and “All I’m Gonna Take.” Singer Simon Daniels had no problems handling the lead vocals and Marc Wieland played the drums with confidence. They finished up the set with “My Girlfiend’s Boyfriend Isn’t Me”, their new single, “You Are Us, We Are You” and the great radio hit, “Turn Up The Radio.” The last song got the crowd’s voices warmed up for the the evening.

Autograph’s setlist:
01. Deep End
02. Loud And Clear
03. Blondes In Black Cars
04. All I’m Gonna Take
05. My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Isn’t Me
06. You Are Us, We Are You
07. Turn Up The Radio


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJesse James Dupree stormed the stage shouting “5, 4, 3, 2, blast off” and went into the song “Blast Off” from Jackyl‘s newest album, Rowyco. They commanded the stage like the rock veterans they are. They brought along enough PBR and Jesse James America’s Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey to get the crowd drunk.  “My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine’s Ass” kept the party going and “Just Because I’m Drunk” entertained the crowd with its humorous lyrics. Bassist Roman Glick had no problems keeping up with brothers, Jeff (guitars) and Chris (drums) Worley. At this point, Dupree complained that they were supposed to play later in the night and have a longer set (which I agree, they needed more stage time). He then threated to play as long as he wanted to, but in the end kept to their alloted time. They rounded out the set with “I Stand Alone,” “Dirty Little Mind” and “Down On Me” off their self-titled album. Finally, out came the chainsaw as they ripped through “The Lumberjack” (bad pun intended). By this time the crowd couldn’t get enough as Dupree sliced into the wooden stool brought onto the stage. He left the chainsaw stuck in the seat of the stool as he OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbelted out the lyrics.  At one point, Dupree was standing on top of the stool he had already started to cut into. He ended the song by opening the chainsaw’s gas tank and pouring the fuel onto the cut up wooden stool. He proceeded to light it on fire, swing it around and smashed it onto the stage as the crowd screamed for more.

Jackyl’s setlist:
01. Blast Off
02. My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine’s Ass
03. Just Because I’m Drunk
04. I Stand Alone
05. Dirty Little Mind
06. Down On Me
07. The Lumberjack

Jackyl playing “The Lumberjack” at Grand Rocktember on September 9, 2016:

Jackyl at Hinckley MInnesota The Lumberjack

The wildest band at Rocktember 2016. They played at 2:00 pm and got this show just revving. These guys are the real deal! When the chainsaw came out


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe only band to feature all original members during this two day rock fest was Stryper. As usual, they sounded like they did in the eighties and Michael Sweet‘s voice sounded as good as ever. They did a great job pulling tracks from eight of their eleven albums. “Sing Along Song” led off their set followed by “King Of Kings,” “You Know What To Do” off of their 1984 EP and “Surrender.” Guitarists Oz Fox and Michael Sweet traded off solos with ease while Robert Sweet (drums) and Tim Gaines (bass) held everything together. A few othe songs mixed into their set were Kiss‘ “Shout It Out Loud”, “All For One” and “Soldiers Under Command.”.

Sweet stepped up to the microphone and asked the sold out crowd if they missed the eighties, a time when the guys looked better than the girls. He also took the opportunity to promote their upcoming tour where they will be playing To Hell With The Devil in its entirety. The band is also digging out their yellow and black costumes from that time as well. They completed their set with “No More Hell To Pay” and a medley which included “Calling On You”, “Free” and “To Hell With The Devil.”

Stryper’s setlist:
01. Sing Along Song
02. King Of Kings
03. You Know What To Do
04. Surrender
05. Shout It Out Loud (KISS cover)
06. All For One
07. Soldiers Under Command
08. No More Hell To Pay
09. Calling On You / Free / To Hell With The Devil (medley)

Stryper playing “Kings Of Kings” at Rocktember on September 9, 2016:

Stryper 9-9-2016 King Of Kings (with lyrics on screen)

Rocktember IV in Hinckley, MN


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have had the pleasure of reviewing Queensrÿche playing live three times (on September 26, 2015; January 29, 2016; and, May 11, 2016) since Todd LaTorre took over the vocals and they have never disappointed me once. They have become a well oiled machine and I was looking forward to seeing them again. They led off with “Guardian” off of Condition Hüman. I was still suprised to hear people doubting LaTorre’s vocal abilities, but their attitude quickly changed once they started to play “Operation: Mindcrime.” A trifecta from Empire was up next. “Best I Can,” “Silent Lucidity” and “Empire” led into the song that would leave all the doubters of LaTorre’s voice with their jaws on the ground — “Queen Of The Reich.” Michael “Whip” Wilton and Parker Lundgren have mastered the dueling guitars and Eddie Jackson and Scott OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARockenfield can hold their own with the best rhythm duos in the history of rock. Since their time was limited, they kept the rocking to a maximum and the talking to a minimum, but took the time to thank all their fans for their support. “Jet City Woman” and “Take Hold Of The Flame” led into a great drum solo by Rockenfield. The two classics, “Screaming In Digital” and “Eyes Of A Stranger” closed out their set for the night.

Queensrÿche’s setlist:
01. Guardian
02. Operation: Mindcrime
03. Best I Can
04. Silent Lucidity
05. Empire
06. Queen Of The Reich
07. Jet City Woman
08. Take Hold Of The Flame
09. Screaming In Digital
10. Eyes Of A Stranger

Queensrÿche playing “Take Hold Of The Flame” at Rocktember on September 9, 2016:

Queensryche 9-9-2016 Take Hold Of The Flame

Rocktember IV Hinckley, MN

Tom Keifer:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATom Keifer was invited back to play his second year in a row. Even though I thought his performance last year was better, he still did not disappoint. Keifer and his band played mostly Cinderella’s hits with a couple solo tracks and covers sprinkled in. “Once Around The Ride” kicked off the set with “It’s Not Enough” from his 2013 solo album, The Way Life Goes. Cinderella hits dominated the next few songs. “Heartbreak Station,” “Somebody Save Me”, and “Shake Me” led into Keifer introducing his wife, Savannah Snow. She joined him by playing piano and singing with him on the beautiful ballad, “Don’t Know What You Got (‘Til It’s Gone).”

Another solo track “Solid Ground” was followed up by the heavy hit “Night Songs” and the bluesy “Coming Home” and “Shelter Me.” To close out his time on stage, Keifer covered The Beatles‘ “With A Little Help From My Friends” fused together with Prince‘s “Purple Rain” and ended with one of my favorite Cinderella songs — “Gypsy Road.”

01. Once Around The Ride
02. It’s Not Enough
03. Heartbreak Station
04. Somebody Save Me
05. Shake Me
06. Don’t Know What You Got (‘Til It’s Gone)
07. Nobody’s Fool
08. Solid Ground
09. Night Songs
10. Coming Home
11. Shelter Me
12. With A Little Help From My Friends (The Beatles cover) / Purple Rain (Prince cover)
13. Gypsy Road

Vince Neil:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVince Neil is no stranger to this crowd. He has been with Mötley Crüe since 1981 and has been doing solo shows with his current band for over a decade. The alcohol infused crowd was eating up Neil‘s performance that started with “Dr. Feelgood.” “Piece Of Your Action” and “Looks That Kill” were up next. At this point I could not agree with what the crowd was feeling. I have seen Neil and his band four times over the years and this is the most disappointed I have ever felt and I’m a huge Mötley Crüe fan! The setlist has not changed over the years and those who have seen him before must have been as bored as I was. I knew what he was going to play before they even came out and I wish he would add a song or two from his great solo albums.  Instead, they eased their way through “Home Sweet Home,” “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” and “Same Old Situation.”

Jeff Blando on guitar along with Dana Strum on bass and the man who kept me entertained through the whole set — Zoltan Chaney — rounded out Neil‘s band. If you have never seen Zoltan play drums, look him up on YouTube. He is Animal from OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Muppets in real life. Neil left the stage and Blando asked if there were any Led Zeppelin fans in the crowd as they went into “Whole Lotta Love” and mixed it with Black Sabbath‘s “Heaven And Hell.” Neil came back out on stage to finish the night out with the Crüe‘s “Kickstart My Heart,” “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Wild Side” which rounded out day one. Now that day one was over, it was time for much needed sleep to get ready for eleven hours of great music on day two.

Vince Neil’s setlist:
01. Dr. Feelgood
02. Piece Of Your Action
03. Looks That Kill
04. Home Sweet Home
05. Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
06. Same Old Situation
07. Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin cover) / Heaven And Hell (Black Sabbath cover)
08. Kickstart My Heart
09. Girls, Girls, Girls
10. Wild Side

Vince Neil playing “Dr. Feelgood” at Rocktember on September 9, 2016:

Vince Neil 9-9-2016 Doctor Feelgood

Rocktember IV