ROCKLAHOMA 2018 (Day 3)

in Pryor, Oklahoma, US, May 27, 2018

Rocklahoma 2018

Rocklahoma’s third day was another scorcher. How hot was it? Temperatures in the 90s, bands and fans whining about the heat and a Camper Trailer said “to hell with this” and burned to the ground overnight. Perhaps the trailer fire sucked all the oxygen out of the area because many bands seemed a bit wilted and starved for air this day.

Cinderella’s Tom Keifer, Lynch Mob, Halestorm and Cheap Trick took their turn on the stages in the late afternoon and early evening. Unlike most acts this day, Tom Keifer’s voice seemed to gain strength during his set. Photosynthesis perhaps? Stay in the light, Tom. He got the best crowd response with harder edged Cinderella songs “Shake Me” and “Gypsy Road”. Which is strange he chose to deflate the set’s energy by playing a sappy sing along cover of The Beatles “With A Little Help From My Friends”. It’s almost as if he’s asking forgiveness for singing out of tune? A stronger set could convey a similar meaning by replacing it with “Somebody Save Me”.

Lynch Mob’s lead singer doesn’t sing out of tune, but he needs all the help he can get because the band’s name sake and guitarist, George Lynch, had about as much stage presence as a potted plant. When he wasn’t hovering over his amp, he was camped in the shade at the side of the stage. When he descended from Mount Olympus to speak to the mortals waiting for something worth watching or hearing, he quipped, “I’m getting too old for this shit”. If a half hour set is too taxing, perhaps he’s correct.

Similar to Tom Keifer, Halestorm suffers from the inability to construct a memorable set list and performance. There is no question Lzzy Hale is blessed with awesome pipes. What kills Halestorm is their self-indulgence. There is far too much time spent playing rock star and not playing music. Lzzy’s either talking to the crowd or doing crowd sing alongs and her brother Arejay does the same schtick during his drum solo. When they play songs like “Mayhem”, “I Get Off”, and “I Miss The Misery” they own the crowd. More rock, less talk.

Speaking of self-indulgence, Cheap Trick, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Band, with a catalog of hits to choose from, decided not to play many of them. Songs like “Big Eyes”, “I Know What I Want”, “If You Want My Love” and “She’s Tight” were replaced by songs with less pedigree. Playing one or two less storied songs seems to be the norm but their set contained closer to 5 lesser known songs. Midway through the set, their Velvet Underground cover of “I’m Waiting For The Man” put a serious strain on the crowd’s goodwill. The set closers “Dream Police” and “Surrender” were well received but couldn’t save the set from mediocrity. Perhaps, the set list is limited to the songs Robin Zander is strong enough to sing. His vocals during “I Want You To Want Me” sound a bit worse for wear.

Judging from the unfilled space normally occupied by camp chairs, non-existent lines at portable restrooms and ease of buying concessions, attendance was down. The drawing power of the headliners of this year’s festival is questionable and not on par with prior years. Overall, Rocklahoma is still an excellent value and well run festival.


  • Zac Halter

    Zac was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. His interest in heavy music began in the 70s with his father’s Johnny Cash albums. After cousins introduced him to Steppenwolf, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, KISS, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, Johnny Cash didn’t stand a chance. The 80s were spent in full pursuit of everything Metal: searching for new music at record stores, listening to albums, studying the covers and sleeves, and attending concerts. In the 90s, he preferred Death Metal over Grunge and hosted the Death Metal Juggernaut on WUPX in Marquette, Michigan. It was advertised as the only prime time Death Metal radio show in the country.

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