Godsmack starts the party the right way

PRYOR, OK – The party in Pryor is officially underway, and what a party it is. Headliners Godsmack got Rocklahoma 2010 kicked off with a little help from Three Days Grace, Buckcherry and several other bands. The three day concert festival which features 52 bands across three stages continues through Sunday night.

Adelita’s Way and Saving Abel played the main stage early in the day as the crowd continued to file into the massive concert grounds. Buckcherry followed with an energized set that included their hits “Talk to Me”, “Everything”, “Rescue Me”, “Next to You”, “Lit up”, “Sorry” and their cover of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”. 

The grammy-nominated group from Los Angeles included their recently released single, “All Night Long” from their new album by the same title, which will be released in August. Lead singer Josh Todd, tattoo clad and wearing a black vest reminded fans several times throughout the set of the approaching release date. Guitarist Steve D. was very entertaining as he worked the crowd well, interacting with fans throughout the entire set.

Todd’s vocals were off a bit at times as he danced and ran around the stage. Buckcherry definitely brought a lot of energy to the stage while Todd pleaded for the crowd to get involved. It paid off when they performed their smash hit “Crazy Bitch” as Todd’s vocals were nearly drowned out by the voices in the crowd that united to sing along.

Vancouver, British Columbia grunge band The Veer Union fired off on the second stage just after Buckcherry completed their set. A large crowd flocked to the Hard Rock stage to watch front man Crispin Earl, clad with a large mohawk. The Veer Union had a nice abbreviated set which featured their hit song “seasons”.

Sticking with the Canadian theme, the crowd reassembled around the main stage for Toronto’s widely popular Three Days Grace. They opened their set with “Break” and “The Good Life” from their most recent album, Life Starts Now. They followed up with songs “I Hate Everything About You” and “Pain” from their 2006 album, One-X.

The band’s set packed a lot of energy that built as the night went on.  Three Days Grace included “Bitter Taste” from their new album before finishing off with their signature songs “Riot” and “Animal I Have Become”. Overall it was a good performance, complete with fireballs on stage and a constantly moving  Adam Gontier who did a solid job of warming up the crowd for the night’s main event.

A quick walk to the Hard Rock stage revealed a very loud and energized Richy Nix. Nix kept the crowd entertained with his rap/rock style that could best be compared to Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, only heavier. His heavy style made it even more intriguing to hear his cover of the Oasis hit “Wonderwall”.

The stage was then set for what would prove to be a hard-charging, energized performance by hard rock superstars, Godsmack. The band took the stage and immediately commanded the attention of the audience as they broke into “Awake”, following with “Straight out of Line” and “Re-align” before front man Sully Erna greeted the crowd. “Oklahoma, how we doing?” Erna said to the response of cheers, screams, heavy metal Dio horns and fists in the air.

The band then went into “War and Peace” from their newest album, The Oracle which brought loud cheers from the crowd. Erna then dedicated the song “The Enemy” to “every (expletive) that has ever stabbed you in the back.” He also took the time to thank the fans for buying their new album.

“We worked really hard last year for you, and thanks to you for buying our record, you’ve allowed our record to debut at number one for the third (expletive) time.

Wasting little time between songs, they continued with “Bad Religion” and “The Oracle” before playing their newest hit “Cryin’ Like a Bitch”. In the middle of “Keep Away” Erna called on bassist Robbie Merrill to come to the microphone as drummer Shannon Larkin provided the beats for songs “We’re Not Gonna Take it” by Twisted Sister and “We Will Rock You” by Queen. Erna then laughed at Merrill and took over the microphone to close out the song.

The band continued pumping out the hits with “Speak”, and “Voodoo” before Erna exited the stage and reappeared on top of a second drum platform playing the bongos along side Larkin on drums. The two then took off into an entertaining drum battle they have named “Batalla de los Tambores” which included teasers of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” and Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”.

After the intense drum battle the lights went down to reveal guitarist Tony Rombola with an acoustic guitar as a second spotlight shined on a seated Erna who began to sing “Serenity”. The timing of the song seemed perfect as a setting full moon dipped down over the stage when the pair broke into the song. In between verses of the widely popular tune, Rombola provided short samples of Erna’s new solo song “The Departed”.

The encore brought on the song “Whatever”, as Erna encouraged the crowd to get loud enough “that they can hear you in New York City!” He continued his banter with the audience, encouraging fans to go home and watch Sports Center to see that his Boston Celtics beat the Orlando Magic. He then asked fans why the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t “take care of” the Los Angeles Lakers earlier in the NBA playoffs, before poking fun at himself asking Larkin “is this Sports Center, or a rock show?”

Godsmack then finished the night with “I Stand Alone” and left the stage to the roar of approval of the thousands in attendance. Overall it was a highly enjoyable night, and with no surprise Godsmack stole the show. The group, after taking several years off from touring, proved that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the rock and roll world.


Photos by: Justin Brockey

Rocklahoma continues tonight with Burn Halo, Fuel, Saliva, Cinderella and ZZ Top before closing Sunday night with Aranda, Sevendust, Theory of a Deadman, Chevelle and Tesla. Tickets are still available at the Rocklahoma 2010 website.