Rocklahoma 2011 comes to a close

PRYOR – Another Rocklahoma is in the books, and festival organizers saved the best for last as the festival grounds were packed throughout the day on Sunday. The lineup included some local talent, up and coming bands, and some big name acts along with a couple of rock-n-roll superstars.

Saving Abel opened the main stage as the crowds began to file in under the warm afternoon sun.

Saving Abel photo gallery.


Seether took over next, playing a hard-hitting set that began with “Gasoline.” The band performed without much fanfare, with exception to two extremely large, oversized amplifiers that stood taller than the band members. Seether included their new single “Country Song” and an enjoyable cover of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box.”

Seether photo gallery.


Up and coming Canadian band Art of Dying followed on the Hard Rock second stage, and kept the crowd entertained while the main stage was being transformed for Papa Roach. Art of Dying’s set ended with their hit “Die Trying” that peaked at number 6 on the Billboard charts.

Papa Roach immediately raised the tempo, tearing off into a ten-song set beginning with “Getting Away With Murder,” followed by “To Be Loved” and “Burn.” Lead singer Jacoby Shaddix was full of energy as he bounced from one side of the stage to the other. He made his way out into the crowd at one point, before the band closed with their smash hit “Last Resort.”

Papa Roach photo gallery.


Following the impressive set from Papa Roach, the crowd descended upon the second stage for some local flavor. Coweta based teen rockers Crooked X took to the stage and shortly thereafter had the audience eating from their hands. Sporting a partially new lineup since the band got it’s start in 2005, the group still packs a big punch. Their rendition of “Gone” (which is downloadable in the video game Rock Band) was particularly impressive. Big things await this group of youngsters who have already opened for the likes of Kiss and Ted Nugent.

Crooked X photo gallery.


As the sun began to set, a quick look around the festival grounds revealed a sea of people as far as the eye could see. The main stage lights dimmed, and out came 80’s superstars Poison.

Bret Michaels, Rikki Rockett, Bobby Dall and C.C. DeVille were in fine form as they opened their set with “Look What the Cat Dragged In” and “Ride the Wind.” Michaels then paused to thank the crowd, announcing that two attendance records had been broken on Sunday. Michaels said that this year’s festival broke an all-time attendance record, and also that Sunday’s attendance broke the single-day record.

Michaels then dedicated “Something to Believe In” to all of the men and women in the armed forces fighting oversees. As he ordered the house lights up, a sea of waving arms was revealed while he provided the audience with a great rendition of the song.  Poison continued on through their set that included a cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re An American Band,” along with signature tunes “Unskinny Bop” and “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.”

Poison photo gallery.


As Poison finished with “Talk Dirty to Me” a large crowd (the largest of the festival at the second stage) became restless while waiting for master guitarist Zakk Wylde and his band Black Label Society. Chants of “B-L-S, B-L-S” could easily be heard across the grounds before it was replaced with some boo birds when Poison came back onto the main stage to play “Nothing but a Good Time.”

It turned out to be worth the wait for all of the BLS fans. Wylde appeared on stage in full Indian headdress as he jumped into “Crazy Horse.” The Black Label Society set was loud. It was heavy. To put it simply, it was metal at it’s finest. Having been pushed back by Poison, who went on stage about 15 minutes after their scheduled time, BLS didn’t compromise and played their full set. They finished up with “Stillborn” as images of Wylde shredding the guitar flickered across the main stage video screens.

“The fact that Black Label made Mötley Crüe wait (was awesome),” said one observer.

Black Label Society photo gallery.


Few moments passed following Black Label Society’s set before Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars took the stage. The Crüe hammered through a lengthy set , starting with “Wild Side” and including many of their biggest hits. Neil’s voice has seen better days, but there is no doubt that the crowd enjoyed the show.

Mötley Crüe photo gallery.


And just like that, another Rocklahoma in the books. With the festival gaining momentum each year, one can hardly wait to see what organizers have in mind for Rocklahoma 2012

All photos by: Kevin Pyle