It's hard, it's loud, and it's quite possibly the best tour any fan of hard rock and metal will see this year! If you haven't already caught any of the dates for the Rockstar Energy Uproar Tour, do yourself a huge favor, and get your ticket now.
I was lucky enough to catch up with this tour at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Charlotte, North Carolina. The weather was hot, but the spirits were high, and in spite of the sweltering heat, fans of all ages turned out to get their faces rocked by an impressive roster of some of hard rocks best performers. I decided to wait until I got to the amphitheater to buy my ticket. I was reminded of just how amazing metal fans are when, as I was waiting in line, a man walked up to me, handed me a ticket, and said, "Have a good time." With people like this around, I knew it was going to be a great day! Walking through the crowd towards the Jagermeister stage, one couldn't help but notice Rockstar's efforts in bringing attention to certain socially conscious causes. The folks at Rockstar are very much in support of a missing persons organization called Child Find America, and according to their website, Slipknot/Stone Sour vocalist Corey Taylor is to be "featured in a two-minute public service announcement that will reach tens of thousands of rock fans across North America, warning them of the dangers and perils of child abduction, running away and providing information on what people can do to help". There was also an obvious effort to get people to recycle, as early admission into the VIP gate was offered to anyone who brought an empty Rockstar Energy Drink can to recycle. Having a great time listening to incredible music is great. Supporting worthy causes while doing that is even better!
The Jagermeister stage began it's lineup early in the day with Straight Line Stitch, followed by New Medicine, and Hail the Villain. Regrettably, I missed them, but the crowd was so pumped by the time Airbourne took the stage, that I can only assume those bands must have been phenomenal.
Airbourne was greeted with wild enthusiasm as they entered the stage. Their beer-swilling, wind-milling, heart-thumping, performance brought to mind the bad-boy antics and awe-inspiring musicianship of rock gods past. In fact, frontman, Joel O'Keeffe, treated us all with a scorching guitar solo while gliding through the crowd Axl Rose style atop someone's shoulders! However, as much as everyone loved Airbourne's electrifying set, it was clear that Hell Yeah was the most anticipated band on the Jagermeister stage.
With their banner flanked by silver metallic longhorn symbols, it was obvious that Vinnie and the boys had set out to rock the stage "the cowboy way", and they did not disappoint! Chad Gray's raw, edgy vocals combined with Vinnie Paul's driving rhythms whipped fans into a frenzy that didn't end until the very last note of Hell Yeah's final tune, "Alcohaulin' Ass".
By the time Hell Yeah's set ended, Halestorm, the first mainstage band of the evening, was well into their set, but it didn't take long for everyone to follow Lizzy Hale's magnificent voice to the amphitheater where this amazingly talented band was doing what they do best. Ms. Hale, who is reminiscent of a young Pat Benetar with a twist of Joan Jett, nailed every note with sexy attitude and absolute vocal precision.
Next on the mainstage was Corey Taylor and his band Stone Sour. Taylor seemed as excited to be there as the audience, and delivered a truly solid, energy-packed performance that left everyone panting for more.
Avenged Sevenfold followed with a performance that could only be described as a desirable nightmare. With it's amazing pyrotechnics and the eerie surprise guest that sort of drops in and hangs around during the first song, these guys played an awesome set that was definitely not for the faint of heart! M. Shadows' vocals were flawless, Synyster Gates' guitar skills left me breathless, and the incredible Mike Portnoy, subbing for the late Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, was everything I thought he would be and more.
Just when I didn't think the evening could get any better, Disturbed topped off the event as only they could. David Draiman's unmistakable voice filled the amphitheater with a sound that had the audience on their feet for the rest of the night. The audience was overflowing with excitement as they sang along with every hit. Disturbed ended the evening with a show that definitely put 10,000 fists in the air!
My verdict on this tour? Whether you decide to go because all of your favorite bands are playing, or simply because you want to see my pal MC Lunchboxx's wicked "zombie Urkel" tattoo, the Rockstar Energy Uproar Tour is something you don't want to miss, so get out there and catch those remaining dates!