Rock on the Range 2009 - From the Photo Pit
(words and photos by David Heasley, editor of Cover)
For this year's Rock on the Range, Cover decided to go in a slightly different direction with the review of the show, bringing you an insider's opinion from the depths of the photo pit. The third year of Rock on the Range seemed like the first time that the fans really showed their muscle. Much of the lineup could be seen months before it was officially announced on the Rock on the Range MySpace and Rock on the Range Party Page MySpace sites. Names like Slipknot, KoRn, Godsmack and others were thrown around as many fans talked about their wish lists for bands to see on this year's show. If you need further proof that this was the fans year, the web talk from the fans got an unsigned local band, X Factor 1, added to the line-up.
Cover started off the Rock on the Range weekend on Friday night in the parking lot of Columbus Crew Stadium. The Ohio State Fairgrounds was host to the Rock on the Range Party Page pre show party. Many Rangers of varying ages came together to celebrate rock and friendship. Rock on the Range sponsor Shot Pak was on hand to pass out some shots and a few of the bands that would be performing on Saturday also came out. Early Pearl stopped by to hang out and have a few adult beverages with the Rangers. With X Factor 1 being the local band placed on the bill by the fans, they were there in full force, partying with the fans. One of the highlights of the evening came when the XF1 boys broke out the acoustic guitars and played a few songs. Everyone in attendance seemed to have had a good night gearing up for a weekend of music.
Saturday morning rolled around and the crowd was ready to go. The early bands sounded great even though the crowds weren't as mighty as they would be later on in the day. I don't think it could have been a much nicer weekend for the event. One thing that Rock on the Range has gotten lucky with over it's short history is it hasn't seen much of the sometimes very bad and very strange Columbus weather. I always say that in Columbus it could snow one morning and be 90 degrees that afternoon and nobody would be surprised. A brief shower was the only rough part of the weekend. I could go through and list all of the bands and give my thoughts on them but there wasn't a bad band that took the stage. Slipknot was slightly less spectacular than hyped, but they still had a great show. All That Remains put on a solid performance on the second stage. Halestorm might have been my favorite band of the weekend. I have seen them once before and am happy to say that they have continued to improve. Like many, I wasn't a huge fan of the 2nd and 3rd stages hosting bands at the same time. It made it rough for fans and it was a pain for photographers trying to photograph all of the bands (ok, I'll climb off of my soapbox now).
Sunday came and you could tell it was day two. Exhaustion and opinion ran rampant and I heard many people talking about how day two wasn't as solid of a lineup as I meandered around Crew Stadium. When you have bands like Shinedown, Saving Abel and The Used, it's hard to call that a bad lineup in my opinion. Motley Crue closed the night out with all eyes on the main stage. A younger crowd might not have known what to expect but the older crowd was there to see if their Crue still had it. The photographers were put back at the sound board due to the amount of pyro that the band had on stage. I was focusing more on keeping my undersized lens still than the sound of the band. From what I could tell they sounded good enough and put on a great show.
The night ended the same way the weekend started, back at the fairgrounds around a campfire. The crowd was smaller this time but it was still a good time. We talked about the show and started dream-thinking about next year. Just days after the 2009 show the Party Page is already delving into the past. At the 2008 Rock on the Range, Papa Roach frontman (and 2007 show stealer) Jacoby Shaddix announced that they wouldn't be back in 2009 but would be headlining this f*cker in 2010. While I'm not a huge fan of the band, I hope he's right. I hope they apologized to ZZ Top in 2007 after they "headlined" the show from the second stage in the middle of the day.
I would like to apologize for the lack of professional writing in this review. I found myself flying solo on this one; but I wanted to ensure our followers had good information on the show. In the future I hope to stay behind the lens where I belong - but let me know what you think. Check out the photos below. They might take a while to load but I think they came out pretty good. I can't wait for 2010!
Friday night before the show at the Ohio State Fairgrounds
Day One of Rock on the Range 2009
Day two of Rock on the Range 2009