Rock on the Range 2012 day one blows crowd away
by Reggie Edwards
Ohio’s Columbus Crew Stadium was taken by storm last weekend thousands of people came from all over for the annual Rock on the Range rock festival. Each year the two-day festival boasts a stellar lineup that can only be topped at the top Euro-fests like Download and this year was no exception. Incubus, Rob Zombie, Shinedown, Marilyn Manson, Anthrax, Slash, Megadeth were all just part of the 44-band lineup.
Needless to say I was pretty excited about the weekend and day one got the party started off right.
I got there a few minutes before Adelita’s Way went on. I saw them back in April on the Avalanche Tour with Shinedown and New Medicine and I had to see them again. They definitely didn’t disappoint. To make it even better New Medicine was playing around the same time on the FYE stage. As always, they rocked it and put on one of the more energetic sets of the day for the FYE stage.
After New Meds it was time to head back to the Monster Main Stage for Halestorm. I made it my day’s goal to catch these guys. Not only have they graduated from the smaller stages to the big stage but I’ve had a few chances and have only been able to once. This goes without saying; I was more than amped to see them at ROTR. I did catch them on Mass Chaos a few weeks ago with Staind and Godsmack so I had some high expectations.
Lzzy Hale had amazing stage presence as always and she made sure the crowd knew how thankful the band is for their support. She also put on a pretty entertaining set. Leading into “Freak Like Me,” she told the crowd she’s a freak but she feels at home at Rock on the Range because she knows there’s a lot of other freaks like her. It was definitely one of the highlights of the day.
After Halestorm wrapped up, I made my way back to the FYE Stage to catch Falling in Reverse. I’ll be honest, the first time I saw them in October was with Eyes Set to Kill and I gave them a pretty bad review, mainly because I wasn’t happy with the way their fans handled themselves at the show. This time, though, they were pretty good. They had garnered quite the crowd and Ronnie Radke worked the crowd into an organized frenzy and it was hard to pry myself away to catch Theory of a Deadman.
Theory put on the kind of show you’d expect from them- fast-paced, funny, rock-your-face-off-style rock show.
Frontman Tyler Connolly gave us a good mix of comical banter and good rock, telling the crowd he loved the word “f****d up” because it doesn’t really describe anything, it just means you’re really, really f****d up.”
I’ve never really been a huge fan of them, mainly because I’ve always thought their songs were so generically radio-rock but they have a larger-than-life fanbase and it showed that day. However, I will say this- the title cut from their latest record, The Truth Is…, has become one of my favorites and I was pretty amped when they played it.
Next up on my list was P.O.D on the FYE Stage. I’ve always been a huge fan of these guys, ever since The Fundamental Elements of Southtown. I saw them at Cornerstone Festival last year (the Christian equivalent to Rock on the Range) so I knew what to expect.
I absolutely loved their set. They didn’t hide what they stand for, telling the crowd they were all going to experience the spirit of God together and then proceeding to bring an avalanche of rock infused with reggae. I just wish they could have played longer.
The next stop of the day was Chevelle on the Monster Main Stage. I had a lot of expectations for the Illinois rockers. With their new record out and having seen them twice before, once at Rock on the Range ’09, I expected a lot from their show and, unfortunately, I was really let down. I’d say they were my disappointment for the day. They just didn’t sound good. I love their music and I have nothing but respect for them but it just seemed like they were shaking the rust off a bit.
No worries, though, Slash was up next, and he had by far the biggest buzz of the day. He didn’t disappoint either. With Myles Kennedy on stage with him their chemistry was undeniable.
Last month he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and on this day he showed us all why- as if we didn’t know already. After he was done, it was going to be hard to top him. Good luck to Five Finger Death Punch was the buzz around the stadium.
But before I saw Five Finger Death Punch, I just had to catch Bobaflex on the Jager Stage. These guys exploded onto the scene last year with their new album, Hell in My Heart and their single “Bury Me with My Guns On,” and a lot of people, including me, were excited to see what they could bring to the live experience. All I can say is that they were a great way to follow Slash and to lead into Five Finger Death Punch. I’m so glad I was able to see them finally.
Next up was Five Finger and the energy was starting to grow on the Monster Main Stage.
With a country-fried version of Jay Z’s “99 Problems” blaring over the PA system, the crowd was growing, both in size and excitement.
Faster than Brett Favre can come out of retirement, front man Ivan Moody screamed “Holy f**k!” and the band went right into “Under and Over It.” I’ve never been a huge fan of them but when I saw them last year on the Share the Welt Tour with Sevendust, All That Remains and Hatebreed, I was hooked. They really know how to work a crowd as well as rock it.
Moody’s banter back-and-forth with the crowd had them hook-line-and-sinker and there was no denying the level of popularity these guys have.
The two highlight of their performance were the “We Support Our Troops” banner Moody held up on stage as well as the point where he brought a group of children from the pit on stage for a few songs (something 5FDP does at every show, I know this because I have now seen them three times).
At the end of the set, he told the crowd that last time they played Rock on the Range, their set was cut short because he asked everyone to crowd surf to the stage and shake his hand. “I’m not going to make that same mistake twice,” he told the 30,000-some people. “Instead, I’m just going to tell you that if you decide to do that, I’d love to meet you!”
That prompted an ocean of bodies surfing to the stage. After a short break, Moody and guitarist Zoltan returned to the stage for an acoustic rendition of “Remember Everything” from American Capitalist.
All-in-all, I was pretty satisfied with their performance, but next up was one of my personal favorites of the day and night- Shinedown.
Yes, I did see them last month on Avalanche Tour, but I still wanted more and I got it at Rock on the Range.
They did pretty much the same set, minus a few songs as every band does a shorter set at festivals.
They put on a hell of a show when I saw them in a small setting in Indianapolis. I couldn’t wait to see them with over 30,000 people there and I was just blown away with all of it. 30,000 people singing “The Sound of Madness,” “Second Chance” and “Simple Man,” was an aw-inspiring experience- one you can’t put into words.
Shinedown always rocks the crowd and one thing I love about them is that they show the love they have for their fans. Frontman Brent Smith who has one of the best voices in rock as well as one of the best personalities, took some time to talk to the crowd, telling them rock and roll has taken a back seat in the United States over the last few years.
“Rock and roll isn’t a genre of music,” he told the crowd, “rock and roll is a way of life, think about it. What were the songs that picked you up when you were at your lowest? When you were down and out and hating the world, what were the songs that brought you back up? it’s up to you to promise all of the bands here this weekend that you will always keep your fist in the air and never let rock and roll die.”
After all of that, it was hard to follow Shinedown and that was proved first-hand with Incubus. It was almost sad to see what happened during Incubus’ set.
It was almost as if everyone came solely for Shinedown because as soon as they wrapped up, people started to head for the exits, and Incubus was still setting up.
As Incubus started their set, which as a slow-paced funk-rock number, more people started to head out. I really have no idea what led to Incubus headlining over Shinedown and Slash. Incubus was good, don’t get me wrong, but it was just impossible to follow those guys.
It looks like the majority of the attendees agree with me as more and more people started to exit the further Incubus got into their performance.
With day one of Rock on the Range in the books, day two was looking like the perfect icing on the cake. Day one was a dream-come-true for almost every rock fan but day two had even more in store.
To hear our exclusive interviews with the ROTR 2012 bands, click on the links below:
Traa Daniels of P.O.D.