I wrote this last week, but slacked off and never posted. I had the pleasure to attend the sold out Rock on the Range festival in Columbus, Ohio. My second trip to Rock on the Range. My first was in 2008 just for fun with friends. Much has changed in 9 years. It's expanded to 3 days. There's a kickoff party. Even the stadium name has change from Crew Stadium to Mapfre Stadium.
After a long journey by car from Jersey to Columbus, we made with a black cloud hanging over the festival. Earlier in the morning news broke that Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell had died. By the end of the day we knew it was from suicide. Soundgarden was set to headline Friday night, leaving fans, many of the bands, and the festival in mourning. Word had already spread of many tributes that would happen throughout the weekend. On our way back to the car from grabbing our media passes, I was interviewed by the local ABC affiliate about the death of Chris Cornell. Wish it was under better circumstances, but hey I made the Columbus news after being in town for only a few hours and not for being arrested!
Have I mentioned how much I love my job lately? Because of WMGM, I was invited to the Rock on the Range kickoff party with Stone Sour. Got a chance to meet them preshow as they gear up for a long summer that includes the release of their new record Hydrograd and a tour with Korn. Don Jaimison and Jim Florentine kicked off the night. Funny, but everyone was there to see Stone Sour.Stone Sour never disappoints. Corey Taylor is always going 100 MPH, whether it's with Stone Sour or Slipknot. Hits, new tracks, deep cuts, stripped down, they killed this cool little venue called Express Live. They even worked out a Soundgarden tribute covering Outshined, which they did an excellent job. They rehearshed it twice that afternoon. Great way to kick off the weekend.
Day 1 of Rock on the Range was eventful. Grabbed some interviews with members of Thrice, Motionless In White, Bush, Chevelle, and more. Back and forth with interviews, didn't see many of the bands play early. Oh and there was that 5 hour rain delay with an evacuation because of lightning strikes. Safety first, though many attending didn't seem to grasp that concept. Back in the venue and a super fun Corey Taylor interview, I finally got to check out some bands. Chevelle and Live did an excellent job. Live paid tribute to Chris Cornell covering Audioslave's I Am the Highway and did it well! The evening ended with a tribute to Chris Cornell with several video tributes and Corey Taylor coming out acoustic covering Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and Temple of the Dog's Hunger Strike. Both amazing. A sad way to close out the first official night of the festival, but a great tribute to one of the best voices in music ever.
Day 2. First evacuation around 11am. Found a guy selling beer in the parking lat. Don't asked how much or what beer. It was needed at the time. Grabbed some interviews with Seether, Papa Roach, and a few others. Check out both of the previously mentioned bands from the field. Checked out The Offspring, Coheed and Cambria (never saw that many people at a side stage to see a band nor that many crowd surfers). Korn closed the night. Watched a handful of songs and split. After the hour wait to get out of the lot the previous night, that wasn't happening again. Good thing, Korn's set was cut by about 15 minutes because of another storm and from the sound of it from my hotel, happy I split early.
Day 3. Metallica Day! Got to see a bunch of bands on Sunday. Nothing More. Rival Sons. Biffy Clyro from the side of the stage. The Pretty Reckless, who covered Like A Stone in honor of Chris Cornell. Only heard it as I was in the Metallica Q&A tent sweating! Thanks to Robb and Lars for coming in and answering many of the radio station questions that were on site. Volbeat hit the stage and yet another storm approached. They got thru most of their set when the stage was cleared. No evacuations this time, but plenty of rain and more rain and yes more rain. We were in a Code Yellow with the possibility of a Code Red. Yes, there was a chance Metallica would not play. That would have been bad, real bad. Luckily, the skies cleared and a Volbeat returned to finish their set. And then Metallica took the Rock on the Range stage for the first time! Hardwired into Atlas Rise into For Whom the Bell Tolls. The boys changed it up from the previous 2 shows I attended giving Columbus Creeping Death, which I got in Philly... along with (Welcome Home) Sanitarium, Harvester of Sorrow, and Blackened. The stage was a bit stripped down due to it being a festival. They still had a large screen, just not the massive one they use on their headlining shows and yes fire at the top of Mapfre Stadium. Another stellar show from the Mighty Metallica.
A great weekend all things considered with the weather and the passing of Chris Cornell. Kudos to the people that run Rock on the Range and the city of Columbus for extending the curfew on Friday and Sunday because of the delays. Also, great coverage on air buy 99.7 The Blitz