Grand Rocktember Music Festival Day Two Concert Review

Photo by Metal Headz Media


Date: September 10, 2016
Venue: Grand Casino Hinckley
Location: Hinckley, Minnesota, USA
Reviewer: Metal Headz Media
Photos: Metal Headz Media

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf I had to choose which day I felt had the strongest line-up, I would have to pick Friday night that had Autograph, Jackyl, Stryper, Queensrÿche, Tom Keifer and Vince Neil taking the stage. Day Two still had a strong line-up with the likes of Kix, Slaughter, Dokken, Night Ranger, and a few othersto our faces off.

Gabbie Rae:

Day Two was to start at 1:00 pm with the young and sexy Gabbie Rae hitting the stage, but when I arrived at 12:50, she was already rocking the house with a less than packed crowd. I did get to see and hear Gabbie Rae the night before as she joined Vince Neil on the classic song “Girls, Girls, Girls.” I am not familiar with Rae or her music, but from what I was hearing in the parking lot, she sounded really good and has a powerful voice that carried through the whole set. Her and her band did their best at keeping the crowd entertained and ready for a full day of rock n’ roll. Gabbie Rae and her band ended their set with their most popular song — “Scream” — which helped to get the audience ready for Vixen.


The all-female group, Vixen, took the stage opening with “Rev It Up.”  This would be my first time seeing Vixen live, and they did not disappoint. They were full of energy and had a lot of people singing along to their hits. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Janet Gardner, was looking and sounding great. Roxy Petrucci was keeping the rhythm section in synch on the drums and Share Pedersen (originally from Glencoe, Minnesota) was right along with her on the bass guitar. Gina Stile was killing it on lead guitar and nailed all the solos. One of their biggest hits, “Crying,” had the less than packed house singing along during the chorus. “I Want You To Rock Me” sounded heavier live. They also threw in some sing OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAalongs with some biggest hits of the ’80s, which had the crowd finishing the lines to great hits from Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Poison.  The last song of the day for Vixen was their biggest hit — “Edge Of A Broken Heart” — which had a lot of airplay on MTV and radio stations all over the country.

Vixen’s setlist:
01. Rev It Up
02. How Much Love
03. Crying
04. I Want You to Rock Me
05. Streets in Paradise
06. Edge Of A Broken Heart


Not only did I feel Jackyl should have had a longer set Friday, Kix also should have been on later with a much longer set. This was another band that I got to cross off my bucket list, as this would be my first time seeing them live. I had heard many great OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthings about their live show, so I was excited to see what they could bring on stage. If you were not a fan of this band prior to their show, you are now! They were my favorite band of the weekend. They delivered a high impact show full of energy that had the crowd pumped the whole time. They got things started with “Wheels In Motion,” and went right into “No Ring Around Rosie,” and “Midnight Dynamite.” Vocalist, Steve Whiteman, has to be one of the greatest frontmen of all time. His voice sounded better than ever and he was hitting all the notes like he did on the albums. He had great interaction with the crowd and even had them laughing at a few of his jokes about “not taking a shit yet, because it was early in the day” and “shaving certain parts of his body” since Whiteman never knows when he might get ‘lucky’ and told the crowd he might need a “Cold Shower” if he didn’t.

Next up was their biggest hit of the ’80s — “Don’t Close Your Eyes” — and that had the crowd singing along word for word. The rest of the band, Jimmy “Chocolate” Chalfant on drums, Brian “Damage” Forsythe on guitar, Ronnie “10/10” Younkins on guitar, along with Mark Schenker on bass, were sounding great on all songs that were played. The group was OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfiring on all cylinders and I felt the songs sounded better live than on the albums. They packed their set with some tracks off their newest release Rock Your Face Off, and all the other classic hits that had a regular rotation on MTV in the ’80s and early ’90s.  They ended their set with the title track off the 1988 release, Blow My Fuse, and that left the crowd wanting more, but their settime would not allow them to play any longer. Next time Kix comes to town, I will make damn sure I don’t miss them as they sound amazing live and know how to put on a show.

Kix’s setlist:
01. Wheels In Motion
02. No Ring Around Rosie
03. Midnight Dynamite
04. Cold Shower
05. Don’t Close Your Eyes
06. Girl Money
07. Love Me With Your Top Down
08. Cold Blood
09. Blow My Fuse


Slaughter was a band that came roaring onto the glam metal scene during its downfall to grunge. Their big hit “Up All Night” saw them opening for KISS on their Hot In The Shade tour. Since then, they have been on their own headlining tours and rock OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApackages that brings out the fans. The band members aside from frontman Mark SlaughterDana Strum on bass, Jeff Blando on guitar, and Zoltan Chaney on drums — had double duty this weekend. These guys are the back-up band for Vince Neil, who headlined Friday night. Slaughter’s show started off with the band playing some intro music before Mark Slaughter came out and went right into “The Wild Life.”

I have read some reviews on how Mark does not sound as good as he did in the past, but on this performance, I feel he has proven them wrong. Granted, he cannot always hit those high notes he is known for but he still does have a strong voice that makes the songs sound great live. As mentioned in the Vince Neil review, Zoltan is a drummer that has to be seen live.  He is high impact, full of energy, and puts on a great live show. He does many tricks behind the kit and was playing catch (with the sticks) with Mark throughout the show. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASlaughter kept their setlist to songs from their first two releases, and Mark jumped into the crowd to sing “Mad About You.”  I have seen Slaughter live many times and they have never disappointed.

Slaughter’s setlist:
01. The Wild Life
02. Burning Bridges
03. Spend My Life
04. Mad About You
05. Real Love
06. Fly To The Angels
07. Up All Night

Scrap Metal:

Returning for the second year in a row was the Nelson brothers’ side project, Scrap Metal. This year, they had Jeff Scott Soto, Lita Ford, Kip Winger, and Bruce Naumann. The latter is the frontman for Minnesota local’s favorite, Hericane Alice. He started off their set with “Wild Young And Crazy” from Hericane Alice’s debut release. Naumann sounded great, so OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmuch so, that I wish he played more than just one song. Jeff Scott Soto was next and he introduced that his first song of the day was from the movie Rock Star, and that he was not in the movie but his voice was. The band busted into “Stand Up And Shout” and this had the crowd pumped up as most of the people were familiar with the track. Soto then sang the Queen song, “Tie Your Mother Down.” Soto is known for his time in Queen, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Journey.

Now it was time for the Nelson brothers to play their two major hits: “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection” and “After the Rain.”  Mark Slaughter came out and played guitar with them on “After the Rain.”  Matthew Nelson gave up his bass duties so Kip Winger could take the mic and play bass like he does in Winger. Mark Slaughter continued to stay on guitar during Kip’s set and helped with background vocals. Kip Winger ripped through “Easy Come Easy Go,” “Madalaine,” and “Seventeen.” During “Seventeen,” Kip had a little fun with the lyrics by changing the age to forty-four to reflect on how long it has been since that song was released. Matthew Nelson was back on bass for Lita Ford. She also had a three song set that included “Cherry Bomb,” “Close My Eyes Forever” with Soto handling Ozzy’s lines, and “Kiss Me Deadly.”  Right before “Close My Eyes Forever,” Ford noticed that she was not getting any sound from her guitar so her techs OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwere running around like mad to get it to work. They were not able to figure out the problem, so in stepped Mark Slaughter to see what he could do. Within minutes, he had her guitar blaring through the amp and continued to be her roadie for the rest of her show. Closing out this all-star set was a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock N Roll” which had all the vocalists come singing it together.

Scrap Metal’s setlist:
01. Wild, Young, and Crazy
02. Stand Up And Shout
03. Tie Your Mother Down
04. (Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection
05. After The Rain
06. Easy Come Easy Go
07. Madalaine
08. Seventeen
09. Cherry Bomb
10. Close My Eyes Forever
11. Kiss Me Deadly
12. Rock N Roll

Scrap Metal playing “Love & Affection” at Rocktember Day Two:

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Scrap Metal playing “Stand Up And Shout” at Rocktember Day Two:

Jeff Scott Soto Stand Up and Shout from Rock Star

Rocktember 2016 Hinckley Minnesota with the voice of Steel Dragon Jeff Scott Soto singing Stand Up and Shout.


I will admit, after reading all the negative reviews about how Don Dokken is sounding live these days, I was not really looking OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAforward to their performance. I was skeptical on how well he would sound even though I know his band sounds tight and does all the songs justice. “Maddest Hatter” kicked off their show and I still was not sold on Don’s voice, until the next song “The Hunter.” Don was not hitting all the high notes, but still had some power in his voice that made this classic song sound amazing live. Jon Levin did a fantastic job playing the licks that George Lynch created. Chris McCarvill was handling the bass duties, and “Wild” Mick Brown was a madman behind the kit. Brown also helped with some comic relief during their set.

Dokken filled their set with many of their hits as well as one of Don’s favorite songs he has ever written — “Too High To Fly” from the album Dysfuntional.  Before their last song of the night, Dokken OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAran into the same problems that Ford had. They were not getting any sound from the guitars. They joked about how loud they play and that they blew three amps and speakers. While many people were trying to solve the issue, Kip Winger came out and had the crowd sing “Happy Birthday” to Brown, who was celebrating his 60th birthday. They eventually fixed the problem and went right into “In My Dreams” to close out their amazing set.

Dokken’s setlist:
01. Maddest Hatter
02. The Hunter
03. Kiss Of Death
04. Into The Fire
05. Breaking The Chains
06. Dream Warriors
07. Just Got Lucky
08. Alone Again
09. Too High to Fly
10. It’s Not Love
11. In My Dreams


Another band I was not too excited to see was Bobby Blotzer’s version of Ratt. I have not read many positive reviews of his band and they have gone through so many line-up changes that it is hard to tell who is in the band anymore. I know I might take OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsome heat from this, but this version of Ratt is nothing more than a cover band with one original member. During their set, I could defiantly hear some misscues in the music and the vocals didn’t do much for me. The only thing that kept me somewhat entertained was the setlist. I was happy to hear some of my favorites: “Nobody Rides for Free,” “I Want A Woman” and “Dance.”

Blotzer did leave his kit to address the crowd and advised that he appreciates all the support and he wants to keep Ratt alive and well for all his fans. He also dedicated “Closer To My Heart” to the late great Robbin Crosby. Now, I am not sure if this was intentional or not, but after “Lack Of Communication,” the band left the stage and the house lights came on with “Raw Hide” playing on the loud speakers. Everyone started to look around at each other in shock because they hadn’t played “Round And Round.” A few minutes went by and the band came back out on stage and finally proceeded to play their biggest hit. By this time, most of the crowd had left the stage front to get drinks or use the restroom. I OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdon’t think too many people were happy with this psych move.

Ratt’s setlist:
01. Back For More
02. Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job
03. Dance
04. Lay It Down
05. You’re In Love
06. Closer to My Heart
07. Way Cool Jr.
08. Nobody Rides for Free
09. I Want A Woman
10. Lack Of Communication
11. Round And Round


After Ratt was finished, I had to run to my car to get my sweatshirt as it was getting cold that night. On my way, I ran into an old co-worker and we started to catch up on all that life had offered us in the years since seen each other last. We were enjoying our conversation so much, that I ended up missing the whole set from Loverboy. From what I could hear in the parking lot, they were sounding good, but I was not familiar with most of the songs that they played. Another contributor for Metal Headz Media was in the crowd and saw them at this year’s Moondance Jam and said they were much better this time and that he was surprised at how well he enjoyed their show. Another contributor was able to get some great pictures and was able to catch some of their set as well before he had to go get a sweatshirt for himself.

Night Ranger:

Day 2 headliners, Night Ranger, hold a special place in my heart. Midnight Madness was one of the first rock albums that my brother owned and I remember playing that album over and over again in our bedroom. Night Ranger was a gateway to some of my favorite artists: Poison, Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses. “Touch Of Madness” was their opening song and this got things off to a great start. One thing I noticed right away is how heavy this band sounds live. I feel most of their songs on their OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAalbums are polished and sound “poppy.” That is not the case when they play live. I have also gained the utmost respect for guitarist Brad Gillis. That guy can rip on the guitar! Jack Blades handled most of the vocals and he was sounding better than ever. Kelly Keagy’s drum kit was set up sideways so the crowd could get a better view of him playing the drums and he could get a better view of the crowd when he sang. Eric Levy was on the other side of Keagy playing the essential keyboards that are a staple in Night Ranger’s music. Rounding out the band is Keri Kelli who has played for many bands and artists (L.A. Guns, Slash and Alice Cooper to just name a few) in his long music career.

Night Ranger filled their set with songs from their back catalog as well as two songs from Damn Yankees (which Blades was in), one from Alice Cooper (one of Kelli’s previous stints), and one from Ozzy (Gillis was previously in Ozzy’s solo band).  Blades did a great job handling the vocals on the Ozzy and Cooper songs.  The night was coming to an end when Keagy left the drums to come out and sing “Sister Christian” and right before it kicked in, he was back behind the kit playing the drums and singing at the same time. The closer — “You Can Still (Rock In America)” — was a great way to end a weekend full of music. It was a good salute to the crowd who survived this annual two day event.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANight Ranger’s setlist:
01. Touch Of Madness
02. Four In The Morning
03. Sing Me Away
04. Coming Of Age
05. Sentimental Street
06. School’s Out
07. Crazy Train
08. Eddie’s Coming Out Tonight
09. High Enough
10. When You Close Your Eyes
11. Don’t Tell Me You Love Me
12. Sister Christian
13. You Can Still (Rock In America)

Metal Headz Media would also like to take this time to thank Dayna from Grand Casino for making this happen for us again.  This is a great event and I hope it continues for many years to come.