ROCK2WGTN Review

ROCK2WGTN - Wellington's Easter weekend rock concert - is over. I'm sitting in a camping ground watching all the bogans pack up their tents, and I thought this was as good a time as any to put my thoughts into a ROCK2WGTN review, while I contemplate packing up my own tent.

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ROCK2WGTN - 6 great headline bands over 2 nights in Wellington New Zealand. We flew down from Auckland, and somehow thought it was a good idea to stay at a camping ground in 'the windy city'. Amazingly, it was. The weather was stunning, the wind was minimal, and the camp ground bogans were friendly. I'd stay here again.

Saturday

It all started off on Saturday night. We catch the train to the Westpac stadium, and unlike Auckland, it's totally painless. We stroll into the entranceway, finish the bottle of wine and head for the stadium. At this point cursing for forgetting to get some face paint, as everyone else is all painted up for KISS. I also notice there are more Iron Maiden shirts in the crowd than any other - pity they weren't included in the line up, they would have kicked ass.

Into the stadium, grab our seats (we are all in our 30's now, it's ok to sit down at rock concerts) and watch the crowd. After an hour or so, some guys appear in the groud who perform some well decent guitar solos.

Lordi

So Lordi come on stage. I had never heard of Lordi up until now, but I'm well impressed by their show. A rock concert is not about music, it's about entertainment - I like good music, good crowd interaction, good stage effects, and good costumes. Lordi are apparently known for their costumes, and it's easy to see why. It's hard not to be impressed by the devil wings, battleaxes or imps playing instruments. And great music to boot - great stuff Lordi, I'll be buying an album soon.

Alice Cooper

I have always been an Ozzy Osbourne fan, and listening to Alice Cooper was something I never really made the time for. Alice Cooper had an interesting little show going, which included what appeared to be hammering a stake through a baby doll in it's pram, beating a woman, and hanging himself from a noose. All good family-friendly stuff.
I just wasn't really captured by the whole show though - it wasn't bad, but it just didn't stand out for me.

KISS

KISS, the headline act for Saturday night. KISS have been around for 35 years, and have their collection of fans - a decent collection.
And easy to see why - the music was great, the attitude was present and accounted for, and the stage antics were the best of the weekend. Paul Stanley seemed to think Wellington was going to sleep on him, but it was probably more that it was just windy and cold (at least in my case). We got to see bigass explosions, the stage moving up and down on rockets, Gene Simmons covered in blood with his battleaxe bass, and Paul Stanley crossing the crowd on a flying fox.

Easy to see why this band has been around so long, a top show.

Sunday

Sunday consisted of a little early morning drinking, followed by a good afternoon nap. Then mounting a blanket over the picnic table to avoid getting sunburned. And some disgusting feijoa flavored RTD drinks - honestly, don't go there.
Then on the train again, and off to see Ozzy.

Poison

Poison kicked off in what was basically daylight, and managed to grab people's attention pretty quickly. By the sound of things, Poison had spent the last 3 days on the piss in Wellington, and put on a decent show despite this. Bret Michaels spent lots of time greasing up to the crowd, which seemed to put him in good standing after "Every rose has it's thorn", clearly the hit for everybody.

WhiteSnake

Whitesnake managed to rock the stadium on exactly one song - 'Here I go again' - arguably the best loved song by the crowd of the weekend. I just didn't know any other Whitesnake songs (and it seemed I wasn't alone), and there just didn't seem to be much for me to get into. It was loud, fast, and cool, but not enough wow factor after watching Lordi and KISS the night before. Lordi were an unknown band to me and managed to rock me anyway - Whitesnake just wasn't there, sorry.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne was the big ticket item of the weekend, and the reason I came all this way for the concert. I last saw Ozzy in Auckland, probably about 7 or 8 years ago in a much smaller and more low-key venue.
This time round there was more hype and more spectacle. Much more.

Ozzy starts cackling into the mic about 15 mins before he appears on the stage, which does great things to wind up the croud. Then followed by a 5 min video clip where Ozzy is inserted into TV shows such as Lost and The Sopranos doing things like biting heads off bats, and taking a poo on the office floor. Clearly Ozzy's creative department is in fine form still.
The show starts with a track off Black Rain, then proceeds to go through all the favourites - a good number off 'Blizzard of Ozz' and a couple off 'No more tears'. The standout track for me was 'Mr Crowley' - a personal favourite of mine anyway, but just so great to hear live with an impossibly loud organ intro shaking the stadium.

The sound quality was pretty average for the first few songs - the volume was turned up several notches from all earlier bands, but the balance seemed to be butchered a little - 'Bark at the moon' wasn't as good as it could have been, the sound was very muddled and hard to make anything out - a shame, that song rocks. The sound quality got noticeably better after a few songs, and I think Ozzy picked a really good mix of songs overall.

We got 2 Black Sabbath numbers - 'War pigs' which is just such a kickass live singalong song, and 'Paranoid' which I guess is staple diet of any Ozzy concert, which I'm pretty sure he finished the show on.

Zakk Wylde's guitar solo was fast, loud, and just a bit long. Personally, I would have rather had another favourite Sabbath number, as the weekend had already had it's share of blistering guitar solos by this point.

Ozzy promised to stay on longer only if the crowd went "fucking crazy". After one encore song, there were cries of "one more song", but clearly not enough to persuade the mighty Ozzy, and hope failed as the stadium lights went on. In our defence, it was a big venue and half empty, and my voice is certainly a bit raw from doing big earthy growls at the top of my lungs.

One of the highlights of the show was watching a pissed guy in his 50's a few rows in front of us 'going fucking crazy' at Ozzy's command. The funniest bit was watching his sway from side to side and keep landing on his wife/girlfriend, who was clearly unimpressed by the whole affair. Perhaps it would have been better for her to join in the fun, or leave him to it.

I really do hope Ozzy manages to make it back to New Zealand again.

A great time had by all

The weather held out, getting to and from the concert was painless, the food and beer at the concert was reasonably priced (compared with usual concert pricing), the tent held together, and the concert was well decent.

Ozzy's performance was several steps up from the last one in Auckland, KISS really got my attention with their energetic show, and Lordi managed to rock the stadium as the 'lesser known' band of the weekend.

It would have been nice to see a few more bums on seats, as the show was far from being full - maybe the crowd could have gone a little crazier and squeezed a couple of extra songs out of Ozzy?

Feel free to post a comment if you had any thoughts on the show, similar or otherwise.

Cheers,

Harvey.
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