(SEDALIA, Mo., digitalBURG) — On the last night of the concerts at the Missouri State Fair, the make-up of the crowd was quite a bit different than the others. It was a mild August night, and the Pepsi Grandstand welcomed the first rock bands of the week.
Flannel shirts were replaced by T-shirts with bands insignias on the front, and bandanas wrapped around heads instead of cowboy hats. The track area filled up with young people ready to rock out with Hinder and Three Days Grace.
Once Hinder hit the stage, I noticed something a bit off about the vocals. A fan next to me said the band’s actual lead singer was in rehab. It turns out Jared Weeks, the lead singer for rock band Saving Abel, was filling in so the band could make it to the show.
The fans seemed to appreciate it when Hinder played songs from both their repertoire and Saving Abel’s, including Saving Abel’s popular hit “Addicted.”
Throughout the set, arms covered in tattoos flipped the metal horns and mohawks bobbed to the beat.
Weeks did mention he liked songs about “coitus.” Given, drummer Cody Hansen had bras covering his set and late in the show guitarist Marshal Dutton, who is from the band Drankmore and helped co-produced Hinder’s latest album, played with a bra on the end of his instrument at one point. The sexy side of rock is really just a part of the culture.
One of the interesting parts of their set was when Weeks asked if there were any fans of 90s music. He mentioned the deals on CDs from the Columbia House mailers before the group covered Tonic’s “If You Could Only See.”
As they played “Lips of an Angel,” the fans were singing and swaying to the music. When they went into another one of their hits, “Addicted,” the crowd was pumping their fists in unison to the music.
And here is where I have my first rant of this review – cell phone videos. At any given time throughout the entire night, there were scores of cell phones held above people’s heads, blocking the views of those behind them.
What’s the point? Your eight mega-pixel camera isn’t going to catch the action the way you want. The microphone is only going to grab blown out sound.
Stop it. You’re pissing off the guy behind you.
I know a guy that prides himself on spiking phones and cameras held in front of his face at concerts. Instead, open your heart, open your mind, enjoy the show. You spent the money on it; you chose to see this band.
This is something I noticed at most of the rock concerts I’ve been to this year. The country fans all week didn’t do it much, they enjoyed the shows. I can understand grabbing a picture or two, I know I did for every band this week. But other than that, feel the music and have a good time.
After Hinder went offstage, a certain smell hit the track area. You know, the one associated with skunks. And maybe something else. It really surprised me, as there were probably double the amount of Missouri State Highway Patrol officers on hand for this show.
The crowd, per the norm, was bustling after the show. Plenty of T-shirts with skulls and “Affliction” passed by, and those wearing them returned with beers.
I was kind of surprised to see people decked out in “swag” gear. You know, belts, shirts, shoelaces with the word “swag” strewn all over them. I still don’t even know what that means.
Even more surprising, especially at a rock show, was the three or four Justin Bieber look-a-likes. Those super cool dudes wearing fitted hats that just sit on top of their heads, sporty sunglasses, tank tops, baggy shorts, neon socks pulled up to their knees, and the high tops.
In the maze of facial piercings, dyed hair and band T-shirts, these guys stood out like sore thumbs. A drunk guy nearby even tried to hail one, yelling a slurred “hey Biebs” over and over, only to be ignored.
When Three Days Grace hit the stage, the place went wild. The crowd was hopping to the music, screaming in elation. Per the standard at the Fair, any time the singer mentioned the event, Missouri or Hinder, there was a loud cheer.
Apparently it was chaotic closer to the stage. Some young women came back to where I was along the fence in the track area complaining about the wild drunks.
The crowd seemed to really be into the music, the place was wild. I was really sad there wasn’t a PIT area for this show. I’m sure it would have been a security nightmare for Fair officials, but for a band that’s famous for a song called “Riot,” a PIT section is a necessity.
And for my second rant, let’s cover drunks that can’t handle themselves in public.
I can appreciate more than a few adult beverages, but I’ve never seen so many people get escorted out of a concert.
There was a group to my left of about seven drunks; two creepy old guys and the rest women I’d say are in their lower 30s. They constantly harassed everyone walking by in the aisle, walking up and grinding on them, making inappropriate gestures and things like that. They posed for several pictures and the old guys had their hands all over the women’s chests.
They constantly walked up to the Highway Patrolman in front me, who was standing guard at the corner of an aisle, and asked him questions, tried to get him to pose for pictures, randomly kissing him on the cheek. These guys are here to ensure our safety and there was no respect.
It was annoying to me, especially because I was working and they were really distracting. I’m sure I could have found it mildly entertaining if I was drunk, but no. Even then, I don’t really like to drink when I go to shows. I prefer to enjoy the music.
Maybe I’m just becoming an old curmudgeon, or perhaps I didn’t have proper expectations for the Fair on Saturday night.
Back to the music, Three Days Grace had a lot of energy on stage. It seemed a little out of place every time lead singer Matt Walst, who’s the brother of bass player Brad Walst and lead singer of My Darkest Days, mentioned drugs, but again it’s part of the culture.
One of the highlights was an interlude featuring the keyboard and drums with a light show that reminded me of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which led into a drum solo.
These are the moments why I love rock music, and for some reason speak to me on a level I can’t comprehend. The crowd appreciated it too, giving drummer Neil Sanderson a loud ovation at the end.
During the set I had figured they would play a cover of “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, which they did the last time I saw them. This time, they brought out band assistant Shawn Hamm and played a cover of Limp Bizkit’s angry anthem “Break Stuff.”
Shortly after they played “Start a Riot,” both played testament to why they needed a PIT section. The crowd was head-banging, fist-pumping and nearing a frenzied state only to be trapped by the forest of folding chairs in the track area. It was kind of disappointing.
This concert was the one I was looking forward to all week. I think both bands put on a pretty good show.
I feel like a PIT section is a necessity and part of what makes rock shows so memorable. I’ve met people from all walks of life in the PIT and the crowd needed that section for the release that comes with a rock show.
Both bands did a great job interacting with fans from the stage, and were honored, I’m sure, to close the Pepsi Grandstand.