12 - The Michigan Daily -- Monday, July 31, 2000
Hard Rock Festival a strange blend of pop and metal
By Robert Brode
For the Daly
CHICAGO -- Even before the !ineup
to July 22nd's Chicago Hard Rock
Festival was announced, I was worried.
The ticket read "Oldsmobile presents the
Chicago Hard Rock Festival," probably
the first and hopefully the last time
Oldsmobile and Rock will be mentioned
in the same sentence. I trusted
Oldsmobile to put ott a good hard rock
show as much as I would trust Lisa Left
Eye Lopez in my home with a pocket full
My fears were not unfounded. The
lineup: Vertical Horizon, Nine Days,
Guster, The Tragically Hip, Veruca Salt,
'fonic, Barenaked Ladies, Third Eye
Blind, Stone Temple Pilots, Kid Rock
and Metallica. Granted, STP, Kid Rock
and Metallica are bonafide hard-rock
acts and fit very well into a hard-rock
festival. But out of all the bands that
Oldsmobile could have chosen to fill the
middle of the lineup, they selected Third
Eye Blind, Bare Naked Ladies, and the
Tragically Hip? A laughable attempt.
The shortest distance between two
points is a straight line. The iongest way
is to walk all the way around the Chicago
Motor Speedway. When I finally got
through the gates, Vertical Horizon was
playing. I quickly looked for something
else to do. A la every other music festi-
val, there were plenty of things to do
besides listen to the bands. This was
probably the only thing that kept the
rowdy Metallica fans from killing the
Barenaked Ladies (more on that later).
Towards the back of the speedway was
"Blow Up Land," various games played
on a "Moonwalk" surface, vendors with
tents full of Celtic wall tapestries, boas,
hemp necklaces, earrings, t-shirts and
stickers and plenty of food stands.
Oldsmobile also had a tent showing off
their new cars. The coolest of the dis-
tractions had to be the Playstation 2 truck
and the Sam Goody tent. Within the
Playstation 2 tent fans could get a sneak
peak of the new system by playing early
versions of their video games.
Third Eve Blind took the stage next.
Their performance was almost comical.
While the band broke into their song
"Graduate," Singer Stephan Jenkins
burst onto the stage wearing a top hat
and carrying a cane pumping his fists
and screaming "Go, Go, Go." The audi-
ence stared back with a look that said
"No, why don't you go?" Things only
got worse from there. The sound was
awful. Stephan's voice was barely audi-
ble over the rest of the band. Instead of
singing along with the catchy hit "Never
Let You Go" the crowd began to throw
their drinks. I was lucky enough to get
hit with a cup of beer
Next up came the gutsiest performers
of the night: the Barenaked Ladies. I
must commend BNL for their testicular
fortitude. They took the stage around six
o'clock. The fans were already irritable.
Most of the crowd had been waiting
since 9 A.M. in the hot sun, while slurp-
ing down beers, to hear "the good part of
the lineup:" STP, Kid Rock and
Metallica. BNL were to be the last band
before the real "Rock Fest" started.
Within minutes of commandeering
the stage it became apparent that BNL
were not going to change their live show
just because they were playing in front of
a slightly different crowd then to which
they are accustomed. One of the first
things singer Steven Page said to the
crowdv was "W 're from Canada."
Immediately the fans burst into chants of
"U.S.A, U.S.A" Later in the show a
member of the audience gave lead singer
Steven Page the finger. Page called this
member of the crowd, Mark, to the stage.
Page declared, ""Everybody can rock..
You too can rock. Even that guy who
gave me the finger can rock. Yes, you"
Page let Mark play guitar during BNL's
cover of "You Really Got Me." BNLs
humor was beginning to win over the
tough Metallica crowd and they received
a fairly warm crowd response to "The
Old Apartment," and "If I thad a Million
Dollars" Even though they had enter-
tained the crowd for over a half an hour
a chorus of boos and chants for STP
arose after the guitarist and Page danced
together and kissed each other on the
lips. To kiss another man in front of thou-
Scott Weiland's performance didn't help to convince people he-was off the dru
sands of Metallica fans is a very gutsy
move, even dangerous. It appeared as if
BNL had fallen out of the good graces of
the crowd for good. But it was not so,
they left the stage to cheers after they
finished their set with a medley of
"Gettin' Jiggy Wit It," "The Real Slim
Shady" "Oops I did it Again,' "My
Heart Will Go On," and Cher's
After seeing STP's Scott Weiland in
person it is hard to believe he has kicked
his heroin habit. Scott strutted onto the
stage with a woman's purple sunhat with
leopard fur trim, a feather boa wrapped
around his neck, a tight black coat, and
leather gloves to the elbows. I'm not sure
that even heroin could explain this outfit.
Weiland sang most of the fan favorites
while spastically gyrating back and forth
across the stage as if he was suffering
from heroin induced convulsions.
Despite Weiland being just plain weird,
STP breezed through their set giving the
moshpit what they had been looking for.
STP's set was good but nothing more
than an appetizer to what Kid Rock had
A 10 foot tall inflatable middle finger
proceeded Kid Rock and his entourage:
the Twisted Brown Trucker Band, Uncle
Kracker, Joe C. and, true to form, two
sets of bikini clad girls on each side of
the stage. Chicago welcomed the Detroit
Cowboy as if he was their own. In return,
Kid Rock performed magnificently for
nearly an hour. The Problem Child does
not iust olav a set: he performs. During
one song Kid Rock sang, rapped, danced,
played guitar and drums, and scratched
behind the turntables. The moshpit
became quite chaotic during Kid Rock's
blistering renditions of his hits,
"Cowboy" "Bawitdaba," "American
Badass," a cover of "We're an American
Band" and CCR's "Fortunate Son." After
Kid Rock's set I wasn't sure if there '
any performer anywhere that could
him. Well, maybe one band could, and
luckily they were scheduled next.
By the time the first few eerie notes of
the symphonic "Ecstacy of Gold"
dripped out of the speakers, signaling
Metallica's imminent entrance, I was
strategically located where I could stand
and enjoy the set without serving as a
human rag doll in the pit.
Metallica blew the dust off the stage
when they dropped an anvil in the form
of "Creeping Death" Usually this sa
is somewhat of a singalong, where the
crowd gets to chant "DIE! DIE! DIE!" I
was looking forward to hearing ninety
thousand fans pump their fists and
scream in one loud voice of destruction.
It was not to be. This was not a
Metallica crowd. I looked around while
pumping my own fist and screaming
"Die!" only to see many BNL, and
Third Eye Blind fans standing w&
their arms crossed, and eyes dartir,
back and forth, as if the "Die" chants
were directed at them.
Metallica delighted the crowd with
old bang your head classics such as
"For Whom the Bell Tolls," "Seek and
Destroy," "Fade to Black" and a medley
of "Master of Puppets" and
"Sanitarium." Metallica also played
many of their more radio-friendly tunes.
Metallica's performance was very good
but it was shorter than Joe C. Even vith
two encores they played for less than
hour and a half Although Jasmes looked
healthy the short set may be in relation
to the back injury that caused him to
miss shows in Texas, Kentucky, and
Georgia earlier in the month.
It was 11:30 PM. and Rockfest was
over. At 2:30 A.M. my Volvo and I
limped out of the Speedway parking lot.
I had a pretty bad sunburn, a rash on my
arm from the sweaty guy next to met
the moshpit, and 25 dollars less thsdh
when I had started the day. Then I
smiled and remembered I had just seen
Metallica and Kid Rock and that smile
still has not faded.
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Members of the hot and sweaty Rockfest crowd are shown here flashing the 'devil horns.'