With a very strong Day One already under our belts, the thousands of anxious, sunburnt, hungover fans awaiting the opening of the gates certified that Day Two of Rock on the Range 2018 was upon us. As expected, everyone was more than ready to take on the day just as they did the day before and when the gates to the festival were opened, the crowd poured into the arena.
Wasting no time getting the day’s “work” started, we caught My Ticket Home on the Bud Light stage while a steady rain fell on the festival. The band assured the crowd “Ain’t no fuckin’ rain gonna stop this shit, man!” receiving a response of cheers. My Ticket Home definitely put on one hell of a show for their hometown Columbus crowd as they powered through energetic performances of hits like “Spit Not Chewed” and “Hyperreal”.
Inside the arena on the Main Stage, New Year’s Day were taking the stage as we got inside and found a decent seat. Frontwoman Ash Costello wowed those in attendance with her superb wide-range vocal abilities from start to finish. The band opened up with “Kill Or Be Killed” and stole the attention of everyone within earshot as they followed up with an awesome cover of Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile”. Mid-set, Costello called the crowd out asking, “Who’s gonna get the fuck up here!?” sending hands rocketing out above the sea of heads which prompted “Prove it,” and the band powered into “Disgust Me”. As promised, the crowd delivered in the form of crowd surfers to flow over the crowd, one right after the other. The band finished up with “Defame Me” and said their goodbyes to a very loud, pleased crowd.
In the mid-afternoon at the Bud Light stage, Miss May I were almost ready to begin when we got there, so we decided this was the perfect time to take advantage of Island Noodles again. And, yes, I said again. This was not the first time we’d enjoyed this God-given gift all weekend and it surely was not going to be the last. With Island Noodles in hand, we ventured back to the Bud Light stage where Miss May I had already begun. (Long lines say a lot about how good those Island Noodles are. Just saying.) We made it back just as the band kicked into their second song “Relentless Chaos” which was followed up by “Hey Mister” from 2012’s ‘At Heart’. Sadly, the band would only play one more song before finishing their time at Rock on the Range 2018, but they made it a memorable one playing “Shadows Inside” while the crowd unleashed all the pent-up energy left over from the day before.
The Main Stage hosted Black Veil Brides later in the afternoon and the band really proved that they have earned their spot on the Main Stage and are well worthy of keeping it. They kicked off with a very strong performance of “Faithless” and “Coffin” before playing hits like “Wake Up”, “Rebel Love Song”, and “The Legacy”. Black Veil Brides then dished out probably their most recognizable song “Knives and Pens” and followed up with “Fallen Angels” which would end up being where the set was cut short by one song. Someone made the call and sounded the alarm, calling for all attendees to evacuate the stadium due to severe weather approaching. Everyone was instructed to seek shelter in their vehicles or the Lausche Building for safety, but those instructions were dismissed by the upset population who retired to the parking lot where Rock on the Range 2018 turned into Tailgate on the Range 2018. Despite the several repetitive warnings, the crowd did not budge and resumed their partying while they waited on the gates to open back up. For FOUR hours. Although it was inconvenient and caused scheduling issues with the bands’ set times, also causing Bullet For My Valentine to get bumped completely due to the band having to leave, I have to say it was a good call on the festival coordinator(s)’ part, as the festival attendees’ safety was the main concern…although that storm never came.
Once the gates finally opened back up, Emmure provided a much-needed release of energy for festival-goers, playing through hard-hitting songs like “You Asked For It”, “Natural Born Killer”, “R2Deepthroat”, and “Flag of the Beast” and wrapped up their set with “Children of Cybertron”.
Playing a shortened set due to weather on the Bud Light stage, party animal, Andrew W.K., came out with all gauges on 10 and partied his ass off for the duration of the 6 songs Columbus was treated to. Kicking things off, “Music Is Worth Living For”, “Ever Again”, “and “Ready to Die” were at the top of the list. Making things a little more interesting, Andrew W.K. privileged the crowd with an awesome solo on a pizza guitar before going into “She Is Beautiful”. The last song any band plays is always built up quite a bit, but Andrew W.K. took that idea to a whole new level when he began his final song of the night with a countdown from not 10, not 15, but 93. Once the countdown hit 0, the band powered into the very popular “Party Hard” and provided the soundtrack for a massive 3-minute party.
Once again, back in the arena, the crowd was building by the second and seats were filling up fast. At the beginning of the evening, MAPFRE Stadium hosted Three Days Grace while they more than pleased a still-growing crowd, unleashing hits like “Painkiller”, “Animal I Have Become”, “Never Too Late”, and “I Hate Everything About You”. As they wrapped up with “Riot”, the anticipation grew stronger as the night progressed. Before the night’s headliners took the stage, we ventured back out to the Zippo Stage where TechN9ne gave a rather refreshing change of pace to the festival by adding a period of rap, something that is relatively new to the festival. TechN9ne’s amazing lyrical ability was put on display and solidified that he’s not just any type of rap as he performed songs like “Einstein”, “Straight Out The Gate”, “T9X”, and “Speedom”.
For the rest of the night, everyone would stay inside the arena where the Main Stage was set to host the night’s headliners. First up, Stone Sour welcomed everyone to the show in an energetic oncoming, belting out hits like “Absolute Zero”, “Say You’ll Haunt Me”, “Song #3”, and “Through Glass” before finishing up with “Fabuless”. I won’t go into much detail about Stone Sour’s set since it wasn’t all that different from their set when I saw them at Louisville, KY’s Louder Than Life last year. Although that may be true, the band still did not cease to put on an amazing, always-pleasing show, and if you’ve ever gotten the chance to catch them live before, you know what I mean.
After a long day of Island Noodles, $11 beers, periods of rain that gave way to sunshine that gave way to more rain, and miles of walking, the atmosphere as well as the weather couldn’t have been better when the lights darkened to start the amazing show Avenged Sevenfold were about to put on. The dark arena was illuminated by the giant A7X skull and the band exploded onstage with “The Stage”, followed by a phenomenal flamenco-style acoustic instrumental provided by guitarist, Synyster Gates. The orchestral intro to “Afterlife” filled the air just before M. Shadows shouts “You gonna fuckin’ move for us!? You too tired to move for us!? Rock on the Range, give it to me!” and the song comes in full-swing with power and raw energy that never dissipated throughout the entire duration of the set. Avenged Sevenfold played a copious amount of hits including “Hail To The King”, “Buried Alive”, “So Far Away”, “Nightmare”, and “Bat Country” during which, intermittent blasts of pyro burst from the stage to bring the show to an exponential level of entertainment. A7X finished up with “A Little Piece of Heaven” and “Unholy Confessions” before saying goodnight to a sold-out crowd that would be back for one more day of non-stop rocking. Whether anyone could handle another day as impressive as the first two days was something we would all have to find out.