The gates opened once again at 11am as fans were subjected to an even hotter day than the one before (seriously, it didn't feel possible – it was hot ). Apocalypse Blues Revue from right down the road in Cape Coral kicked off the day with their blues that are definitely not your daddy's. Red Sun Rising, hometown heroes Trivium, Asking Alexandria, Pop Evil, and Bullet For My Valentine played alternating sets throughout the day as the crowd tried their best to stay hydrated. Security and bands alike provided water to those in the front of the crowd that were unable (or too stubborn) to go get it themselves. Despite the scorching heat, spirits were generally high among the fans and the heavy metal code of "if you see someone that looks like they need help, help them” was definitely in place.
Sixx:A.M. the brainchild of Nikki Sixx, James Michael, and DJ Ashba amped the crowd up with their playful onstage banter between each other and soulful lyrics. The synergy between this group of musicians is undeniable. The music is great, the performance entertaining to watch, and Fort Rock was even treated to the live debut of “Everything Went to Hell” which was awesome to be the first crowd to see a song performed live. Punk rockers Pennywise followed, and after over twenty-five years their live show is much the same as it has always been, a constant onslaught of three minute hitters of pure punk that kept the crowd in a frenzied state.
The crowd went absolutely wild for 3 Doors Down. Seriously, insane. I thought I was the only person that still jammed out to “Kryptonite” in the car by myself but apparently I've been hanging out with the wrong people. If you actually think about it though, 3 Doors Down has been churning out hit after hit since 2000 when Kryptonite took over the radio and charts alike. From “It's Not My Time” to “Away From the Sun” and “Here Without You” the band knocked out a setlist that resonated through the crowd and they sang out every word with them.
Have you ever seen a group of thirty photographers holding thousands of dollars of equipment and sprinting through a massive festival crowd? That was the case for us as a security snafu blocked our entrance for Shinedown, and we all earned marathon medals (and probably a bottle of water) for making it through the entire crowd in under a minute and getting to the stage just as Shinedown came out playing “Fly From The Inside.” Knocking out their popular hits such as “45” “Second Chance” and their cover of “Simple Man” Shinedown is an all-around great live band, with singer Brent Smith hitting every note, guitarist Zach Myers bouncing around on stage, Eric Bass jumping up and down to the beat, and Barry Kerch banging out the drums they definitely put their all in their performance. It was my first time having the pleasure to see Shinedown live, but I'm definitely hoping it won’t be the last.
The sun had fully set and the crowd buzzed with anticipation waiting for the final band of the night, Disturbed. David Draiman took the stage with an eruption of pyrotechnics to “Ten Thousand Fists.” Fort Myers proved it knows how to rock as Disturbed absolutely demolished the ending to Fort Rock. From classics like “Stupify” to newer songs Disturbed took every shred of energy left in the crowd and fed right off of it. Lighters and cellphone lit the entire crowd up as Draiman took a slower turn and performed the band's latest cover of “The Sound of Silence.” As Disturbed generally does, the band performed a medley of covers at the end of the set, with the current song consisting of Nine Inch Nail's “Closer,” U2's “I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For,” The Who's “Baba O’ Riley,” and Rage Against the Machine's “Killing in the Name. ” Disturbed finished the night with an encore of “Indestructible” (yes, yes, yes! ), “Voices,” and “Down With the Sickness.”
The two day of expansion of Fort Rock brought us an even crazier hard rock experience than previous years. If you have yet to make it out to Fort Rock, keep your eyes peeled on http://fortrockfestival.com/ for information on next years lineup and dates. A huge shoutout to all festival crew, security, bands and of course, the fans, for making this years Monster Energy Fort Rock one for the books.