Review of Capital City Rock Fest – Hellyeah, Stone Sour & Avenged Sevenfold
Springfield, IL on Friday the 13th of August was the scene of a log awaited rock show this arena has needed for some time. The Prairie Capital Convention Center was home to some big concerts in the 80’s and 90’s such as Metallica, Quiet Riot, Def Leppard and Sammy Hagar just to mention a few, but has really slowed down in recent years as far as bringing in big bands, but they finally made up for it.
Three big names, Hellyeah, Stone Sour and Avenged Sevenfold , played frequently on WQLZ, were in town to blow the cobwebs off the convention center and that’s just what they did. In fact we are lucky the roof didn’t blow off.
Hellyeah was the first of the three bands to hit the stage. What better place to play than 38 miles due west of the town where lead singer Chad Gray grew up, Decatur, IL. Chad did make reference to this on stage and really was appreciative of the midwest crowd; pointing out how, like himself and his bandmates, you people from the midwest love to have a good time. This was precisely what Hellyeah gave us, a helluva good time!
Showcasing hits from their first album HELLYEAH and new tunes from Stampede, Springfield was treated to quite a rock show. In your face hard rockin, country blues metal, is what I call it. The midwest loves Hellyeah which was very evident from the crowd singing all the hits like “Hellyeah“, “Cowboy Way“, “Goddamn“, “You Wouldn’t Know“ and “Hell of a Time“. In the midst of all this hard rockin debauchery, Chad talked about all the people they wanted to thank for various reasons like the fans, roadies, people working the arena and most of all our service men and women of the armed forces; without all of them these kinds of shows wouldn’t be possible. This provided a perfect sequel to the song “Thank You” which showed us just a glimpse of the soft side of these rebels.
Lastly Chad pointed out there are three things at any rock show, music of course, alcohol and ass. That gave us the last song “Alcohaulin Ass“. He stated as long as we keep showing up they will keep showing up. I know I will. This was an awesome show.
Next up was Stone Sour, a side project from Corey Taylor, lead singer of Slipknot. I thought the band put forth a good effort but I questioned the order in which they were booked. In my opinion, Hellyeah has been played on the radio much more and is alot more popular which was very obvious based on the crowds reaction. Maybe these guys should have played first. The crowd seemed to pickup momentum during the sing-a-long to Stone Sour’s big hit “Through the Glass” and it carried through to their last tune of the evening 30/30/150 which is a hard rockin tune to close the show nicely.
A few songs from the new album Audio Secrecy which comes out September 7 were played: “Say You’ll Haunt Me”, “Unfinished” and “The Bitter End”. They sounded okay but didn’t spark much of a crowd reaction. I think some musicians should rethink the side project idea. I guarantee this rowdy midwestern crowd in Springfield, IL would have much rather seen Slipknot on this night than Stone Sour. They probably would’ve had to beef up security.
Avenged Sevenfold was the headliner on this big night of rock. I knew right away this was going to be an exciting show when I saw the curtain around the stage hiding the contents behind. For me, the anticipation is almost too much to bear. When a band has a curtain up, it usually means something big and elaborate is behind it! As the curtain dropped we heard this loud commotion and the lights pointed up to the scaffolding above the stage. The scaffolding proceeded to break as a dummy was hanging there swinging by it’s neck. Pretty awesome way to start the show as the band ripped into their latest hit “Nightmare“, how fitting.
I have to give a big Hell Yeah (pun intended) to the designer of the stage. It was one of the coolest set ups I’ve seen in a long time. It looked like the gates of a castle with brick pillars and on top of them were golden bowls with fire shooting out of them. The actual top of the gates lit up with fire and there was more fire behind the gates which lit up the arena frequently during the course of the show. Behind the stage were extremely large tapestries with various images like castles, skulls and even their late drummer “The Rev” Sullivan being hugged by fellow bandmates in tribute to their fallen lifelong friend.
I have personally never seen that much fire used in a rock show not even by the likes of rock gods such as Metallica. Nor have I seen that much moshing at one show as at least two mosh pits were going at all times. Guess the concert goers didn’t see the sign outside the arena that stated, “No Moshing!”
This was the type of rock show that people come to see. Not only was the stage show visually stimulating but the music was loud, clear and carefully planned to provide us a perfect combination of old hits and some music off the new album, Nightmare. Just when we thought we had seen it all, the show ended with Avenged Sevenfold playing “Almost Easy” with the entire stage lit up with fire and several skeletons dropping from the ceiling, giving you one more big visual to look at and talk about on the drive home.
Hats off to the people who brought this real rock show to Springfield, IL. Keep them coming because we Central Illinois folk Can’t Stop Rockin!