I have returned from the humid wilds of Canal Fulton, Ohio – a little sunburned, sweaty, dirty, tired & guzzling quarts of water.Â But it was worth it, as this year’s show was even more fun than the last.Â The wife and I made lots of new friends such as theÂ strangely familiar guy in this picture.Â And yes, I was wearing the BOC shirt AGAIN!Â I told you, it’s my new fav.
Musically, I was a bit disappointed in Blue Oyster Cult this time around.Â They arrived almost an hour late to the stage, and their setlist was virtually identical to what they played in Columbus.Â Thus, no ‘Black Blade’.Â Ah well, they still rock and I can never hear ‘Godzilla’ or ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ enough times live.
Other big name bands of the weekend included a strong set by Molly HatchetÂ (highlighted in my mind byÂ theirÂ cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Freebird’) and Creedance Clearwater Revisited.Â CCR Lite as I call them since they have toured for years without John Fogarty, were surprisingly energetic and well received by the largest crowd of the weekend (on a Sunday night, no less).Â Â I honestly thought CCR might be disappointing & couldn’t have been farther from the truth; their setlist was amazing (wow, does that band have a ton of hits) and singer John Tristao makes you forget that he wasn’t the original.Â Seriously, they were that good.
AlsoÂ was pleasantlyÂ surprised with the resurrected versions of bothÂ Sweet & Nazareth,Â each with younger new members that infused someÂ passion intoÂ potentially worn material.Â But guessing which version of each band you were seeing. . . well, it gets complicated.
Sweet still teeters between Glam (with feather boas),Â maybe even a little of the Hair band look, and goodÂ ole’ fashionedÂ rock & roll.Â Â They only have originalÂ bassist Steve Priest, and this is where it gets confusing because another version of the band exists with guitarist Andy Scott.Â Regardless, THIS version of the band rocked out decently with hits like ‘Love is Like Oxygen’ and of course ‘Ballroom Blitz’.
On that same note (no pun) isÂ Nazareth, also withÂ only one original memberÂ -Â guitarist Manny Charleton.Â Â There isÂ another versionÂ over in Europe withÂ originalÂ vocalist Dan McCafferty & bassist Pete Agnew.Â You need a map to keep this all sorted out.Â Â Anyhow, Manny & co. did the mandatory 2 hits (‘Love Hurts’ & ‘Hair of the Dog’) & were pretty heavy – more than I thought they would be.Â
Also at the festival was Savoy Brown, with their awesome bluesy rock but a LOT of excess talk between songs, and theÂ Gregg RolieÂ band.Â Gregg apparently doesn’t want you to remember he was not only a founding member of Santana but also Journey, because what he delivered was a 100% Santana-fied set.Â Probably all the better as I didn’t need to see another Steve Perry imitator.
Lastly, I missed the Gin Blossoms due to my wife taking a header in the gravel, forcing an early retirement on Friday evening.Â That might have been divine intervention, can’t really be sure.
All in all, it was a great weekend andÂ I highly recommend this festival if you’re looking for classic rock & blues.Â PlusÂ the park itself hasÂ tons of stuff to do, you canÂ check out their page HERE.