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April 7, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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Rock2Wgtn Review

Unless you’re colour blind or are a Sommes Island leper you would have noticed the black clad bogan influx over the Easter break. Over 50,000 hard rock and heavy metal fans descended on our fair city, as Rock2Wgtn stole Jesus’ spotlight for the weekend. The masses were in party mode and a friendly atmosphere prevailed, with only 20 arrests made over the two days; although that’s probably due to the Easter liquor sale restrictions.

Lordi opened the main show on Saturday on the massive mainstage, flanked by two giant weta workshop-built guitars. The giant Lordi and Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne’s axeman) guitars were fitting bookends to the stage and event, with these bands opening and closing the festival respectively. Lordi’s monster get-ups are better than their actual songs, but they were fun nonetheless. Between international acts the entertainment continued in the form of zombie cheerleaders and fire dancers set high up in the stands below the two side stages where Kiwi bands Sonic Alter and Symphony of Screams played. This was a cool idea, but the dancers were a bit too removed from the crowd and the sound was too low, especially on the first night. Minor gripes aside, the nonmusical entertainment was top-notch, with the human inferno stuntmen the pick of the bunch.

Alice Cooper was up next and he/they blew everyone else off the stage by a mile. Easily the best act at Rock2Wgtn, Cooper’s stage show was amazing and was themed to complement each songs lyrical content; Alice was hung (not actually), he stabbed a baby (not a real one) and the guitarists joined in for a three-man drum solo (this was real). After a brief interlude Saturday night headliners Kiss took to the stage to massive applause from the resident Kiss army. Kiss were similar to Lordi in that the costumes and stage show was superior to the music itself, but the crowd went nuts nevertheless as they pelvic-thrusted their way through ‘Deuse’, ‘Rock and Roll All Night’ and the killer ‘Detroit Rock City’. The set highlight came when Paul Stanley flying-foxed his way over the mosh and played a song astride the lighting tower in the centre of the stadium.

Sunday night was Poison, Whitesnake and Ozzy, and so was more about the stadium anthems and less about the stage theatrics. Because of this lack of fireworks and pretty lights I enjoyed the first night more, but the fuller Sunday night stadium proved that Ozzy was the drawcard for the punters. Poison and Whitesnake also had a bit to do with it. Poison got the sea of lighters going for ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’ and David Coverdale from Whitesnake was genuinely funny but these bands just don’t write great songs (like Alice Cooper and Ozzy) or hide their mediocrity with ridiculous stage shows (Kiss and Lordi) and so came off looking a little out of their depth. Ozzy was Rock2Wgtn for most though as the stadium went nuts for the prince of darkness. He looked like a drunk homeless dude in pyjamas but sounded fan-f’n-tastic as he and Zakk Wylde owned the stage and the crowd. Seeing ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Warpigs’ live was one of the best things ever, period.

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