Minnesota’s own HERICANE ALICE opened up the final day. In 1990 they released “Tear The House Down” and we got some of the great cuts off that album. The band is fronted by Bruce Naumann and also features Johnny Holiday (guitar), Johnny (Super J) Keyte (Bass) and Jerry Babcock (drums). The band opened with a cover of “Radar Love” but the crowd really reacted to “Tear The House Down” and “Wild, Young, and Crazy”. There is new material on the way and I know a lot of people looking forward to that. They were a great way to get the day started.
The Stevie Rachelle lead TUFF brought a great show to the stage next. Flanked by founding member Todd Chase on bass the band opened with “God Bless This Mess”. The roster was filled out with Jimi Lord on drums and Billy Morris on guitar. They were a lot of fun and Rachelle’s personality kept you dialed in. Some songs that made the playlist included “Spit Like This”, “Ruck A Pit Bridge” and “In Dogs We Trust”. Stevie gave a nice shout-out to Nicci Wikkid and dedicated “Good Guys Wear Black” to him. He was the guitarist for one of Minnesota’s most loved metal bands, Slave Raider, and sadly past away recently. “The All New Generation” and the anthem “American Hair Band” brought the TUFF gang’s time on the stage to an end.
AUTOGRAPH launched into “Deep End” and then “Loud and Clear” to get people moving. Steve Lynch (guitar) and Randy Rand (bass) have been waving the Autograph flag since the beginning and have recruited drummer Marc Weiland and singer Simon Daniels to carry the band forward. They released a new album in 2017 called “Get Off Your Ass” and showcased the title track along with “Every Generation” and “You Are Us, We Are You” during the set. It’s hard to imagine an AUTOGRAPH without a Steve Plunkett on vocals but I’ve seen this line-up multiple times now and they have won me over. Daniels is a true talent and his vocals play well with the Autograph catalog. Your not leaving an AUTOGRAPH show until you get the built in closer, “Turn Up The Radio”, and it still consumes everybody within earshot of it.
George Lynch would make his second appearance of the Festival with LYNCH MOB. “Street Fighting Man” was the opener and then they jumped into “She’s Evil But She’s Mine” and “River Of Love”. Nathan Utz handled the vocals while Sean McNabb (bass) and Scot Cogan (drums) took on the rhythm section. A couple highlights for me were “Tangled In The Web” as loved that second LYNCH MOB record and the DOKKEN cover of “When Heaven Comes Down”. I not sure I’ve ever heard that song sound so heavy and epic, it was brilliant. Utz was very entertaining and was all over the stage and George put in another great performance to follow up the DOKKEN show the night before. The rest of the set included “Mr. Scary”, “It’s Not Love”, “No Good”, and the closer “Wicked Sensation”.
QUEENSRYCHE struck gold when they were able to replace Geoff Tate with Todd LaTorre. He is a true talent with a voice that perfectly fits within the bands sound. Every time I see them I’m still amazed how seamless that transition was. Michael Wilton on guitar and Eddie Jackson on bass are the only original members playing with the band now. Scott Rockenfield is still listed in the band but hasn’t played with them in some time as Casey Grillo has been filling in behind the kit. Guitarist Parker Lundgren was absent and Mike Stone took over those duties for the evening. The band opened with “Best I Can” with a rousing response from the crowd. I like hearing the stuff from the pre-mindcrime era and we got a few, “The Whisper”, “Queen Of The Reich”, “Take Hold Of The Flame” and “Screaming In Digital”. The staples of every set were also present in the forms of “Silent Lucidity”, “Empire”, and “Jet City Woman”. These guys never sound bad and they played a great set that was capped off with “Eyes Of A Stranger”.
TESLA would close out the three-day festival. These guys seem to never come off the road and remain one of the busiest rock bands out there. With a ton of great material to choose from, the band opened with “I Wanna Live” and then “Hang Tough” and “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)“. There isn’t much left to say that hasn’t already been said but TESLA is simply a great rock-n-roll band. Jeff Keith on vocals, Brian Wheat on bass, Troy Luccketta on drums, and the twin guitar attack of Frank Hannon and Dave Rude powers the TESLA machine. The crowd loved every minute of the set that also included an acoustic section that included “Cumin’Atcha Live/Truckin’”, “Lazy Days, Crazy Nights”, “Paradise” and the ultimate sing-along song “Signs”. All the usual hits like “Love Song”, “What You Give” and “Little Suzi” were played but it was “Mama’s Fool” and “Edison’s Medicine (Man Out Of Time)” that got my attention. A perfect ending to the event was TESLA filling the nighttime air with “Modern Day Cowboy” and I’m sure I’m not alone in that thought.
Grand RockTember VI comes to an end after three days of some of the most iconic material written from a time period that so many hold near and dear to their hearts. The guessing game is already in progress to who will be on the bill in 2019 as hotels are already being booked for next years pilgrimage to the Grand Casino in Hinckley, MN. Let the countdown begin…