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Rock on the Range festival: Day Three

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Rock on the Range @ Columbus Crew Stadium May 18, 2014

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Day three. This old guy here was grasping for energy to make it through the last day of the festival, but there was no way that I was gonna let fatigue keep me from missing Kid Rock. Not happening.

We arrived to Crew Stadium a little later than anticipated. At that time I still hadn't decided if I wanted to see Gemini Syndrome for a second time or if I wanted to catch Monster Truck for the first time. As we were walking to the stadium we actually had a very good vantage point of the second stage where Gemini Syndrome was playing. They sounded great and we saw them play my favorite song of theirs; "Pleasure and Pain". Since they played that, we decided to go check out the rest of Monster Truck's set. They are a really cool band that I've been exposed to through the game Rocksmith. Our local radio stations really ought to get their shit together and play some of these really talented up and comers and slow down a little bit on the same ten songs an hour. Anyway, they sounded great. They've go a real throwback, classic rock sound and it translated really well live. "Sweet Mountain River" was my favorite, especially because I'm ferociously trying to learn it on the guitar!

We went to the main stage next to catch the opening band, Trivium. I saw them once before and knew that I would be checking them out again. If you like pure heavy metal, these are someone that I highly recommend checking out. They aren't only heavy just for the sake of being heavy, they play some talented music. There is just something about thundering drums and a Steve Harris-esque galloping bass beneath heavy guitar that just works. They do it and they do it well.

Trivium Set List

1. Brave This Storm

2. Built to Fall

3. Strife

4. Black

5. Dying in Your Arms

6. Capsizing the Sea

7. In Waves

Heaven's Basement was next on the Ernie Ball stage and we went and checked out most of their set. I'm not too familiar with them but they are definitely a band that I will be digging more deeply into. They're an English band that also had a nice 70's vibe to their sound. Their lead singer also had a great stage presence and interacted well with the crowd.

It was back to the main stage for awhile from there. First we caught Adelitas Way. They are another one of those bands that has been getting ridiculous radio time, so I was naturally skeptical. Much like Pop Evil the day before, they are a band that I think that our local rock station has completely over played. Also like Pop Evil the day before, they were way better live and earned their place. They owned the stage and the crowd. Their lead vocalist came into our side of the pit and they surfed him all the way to the back of the pit and back to the stage. On the way back to the stage he passed right over top of us; so that was pretty cool. When artists trust their fans enough to not only let them put their hands all over you but also to trust that they aren't going to drop you and seriously hurt you, that's pretty cool. Great live band.

Wolfmother was next. A lot of the metal heads don't appreciate what that band does, but I can see the Deep Purple influence and the musical abilities of that band. I like them last time they were there and thought they sounded even better this time. Of course "Woman" was very well received but their whole set was good. A lot of bands get so caught up in presentation, that they forget the whole concept of jamming. These guys haven't forgotten.

After that I took a pretty long break. Three straight days of this was starting to take its toll, so I needed to sit down for a bit, re-hydrate, and grab a bite to eat from the outrageously priced concessions. Once I was ready to get back up, I wandered for awhile, making my way into the F.Y.E. tent so that I could pick up the new Black Stone Cherry record; Magic Mountain.

Once I got my CD, I headed over to the Ernie Ball stage and caught Of Mice and Men. They were really heavy, but worked the crowd well. Their lead singer also announced that he spent some time living a few miles north of Columbus in Delaware, which got a good response from the crowd. For that they were treated with a nice "O-H" and "I-O"back and forth with him.

Of Mice and Men Set List

1. Public Service Announcement

2. Feels Like Forever

3. O.G. Loko

4. Bone Exposed

5. The Depths

6. Would You Still Be There

7. You're Not Alone

Next was the main event of the second stage for the whole weekend. I knew that I was sacrificing my chance of being up close for Five Finger Death Punch and Kid Rock afterwards but there was no way in Hell that I was missing Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience. It made me so happy to see that I wasn't alone. There were about 10,000 others that took in the phenomenal set. Seeing the music of the one and only Led Zeppelin being brought back to life properly was a fantastic addition to the festival. I can only hope that the festival continues to include a few classic rock and classic metal bands every year. I know a lot of the kids might not get it, so let me explain this to you. If there were no Led Zeppelin, there'd have been no Gun N' Roses. If there were no Guns N' Roses, there'd be no Avenged Sevenfold. Does that make sense now? They sounded great and deserved so much more time to play. There was no "Stairway to Heaven" or "Rock & Roll" and it still kicked ass. If you dig Zeppelin (which should be all rock fans), you owe it to yourself to check them out. How many other performers this week had a bunch of other bands in the photo pit checking them out? It was that good.

Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience

1. Immigrant Song

2. Black Dog

3. The Ocean

4. When the Levee Breaks

5. Over the Hills and Far Away

6. Kashmir

7. Whole Lotta Love

Even though they were the only band during the whole weekend that had the crowd chanting "One more song! One More Song!", they band was on a time restraint and couldn't encore for us. So, we headed back inside the stadium for the final two acts of the evening.

Five Finger Death Punch came out and absolutely killed it. From the opening seconds to the final seconds of their set, they had the crowd by the balls. I would be willing to bet that they had the largest crowd of any other band that played for the entire weekend. The crowd on the floor reached well beyond the sound boards and I saw multiple pits open up behind there. Literally, they were so involved with the crowd that there were pits opening up from people so far back that they couldn't even see the stage. Most importantly, it wasn't a phony appreciation that the band exhibited to the crowd. You could tell that they were genuinely appreciative of the position that their fans have put them in.

Five Finger Death Punch Set List

1. Under and Over It

2. Burn it Down

3. Hard to See

4. Lift Me Up

5. Burn MF

6. Bad Company (Bad Company cover)

7. Remember Everything

8. Coming Down

9. Never Enough

10. Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J cover)

11. The Bleeding

About 15% of the crowd left after 5FDP, but who needs those music posers anyway? Kid Rock came out and put his standard, ass kicking performance all out there for those who remained. He played music from all over his catalog. If you haven't seen The Real McCoy, you ought to. You will be hard pressed to find a better pure performer and entertainer than the Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp. I always tell the people that hate on him to see him live and he will change their minds. You don't even have to be a fan of his music to enjoy his performance. Yeah, yeah, he's cocky. Maybe, but he is also one of the most humble and gracious performers that you will see and he makes sure that everyone from the floor to the top of stadium bleachers gets their hard earned money's worth. If you can't enjoy a Kid Rock concert, you can't appreciate musical and lyrical talent. That's the bottom line. This was by far the most fun show of the weekend!

Kid Rock Set List

1. Devil Without a Cause

2. Celebrate

3. You Never Met a Mother****er Quite Like Me

4. American Bad Ass

5. Wasting Time

6. Tom Sawyer (Rush cover)/Forever

7. Cocky

8. All Summer Long

9. Cowboy

10. Lay It On Me

11. So Hott

12. 3 Sheets to the Wind (What's My Name)/Cat Scratch Fever (Ted Nugent cover)

13. Rock N Roll Jesus

14. Only God Knows Why

15. Born Free

*Encore*

16. Picture

17. Bawitdaba

The folks at Rock on the Range out did themselves again when it came to their headliners. All three were fantastic and those three bands are who sells the tickets. This was by far the best group of headliners that they've had. They'll have to work even harder to top it next year. Here's to hoping that they find a way to do that. Until next year Rangers; horns up!

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